“What Am I On Earth For?”
This question is at the very core of our human existence. Why me? Why now? Why here? Why to this family and these circumstances? Basically, our whole lives, in one way or another, we try to find the answer to this question of Purpose. Because as Christians, we don’t want to live any kind of lives – we want to live Purpose-driven ones. And to do that, we need to understand our unique Purpose.
I used to think that my Purpose was a destination. A job. A place. A time. A partner. But now I understand it a little better to know better. If the God who created the Heavens and the Earth said,
“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”
then He must have been INTENTIONAL when He created me. He must have created me perfectly wired for Purpose. And as such, my Purpose is not where I am, or what I am – or where or what I shall be.
My Purpose is more about WHO I AM.
“So, tell me about yourself?”
Whether it’s a job interview, a networking event, a date, or just being introduced to a new person, this question is definitely one I personally dread. How do you begin to tell people exactly who you are? Most of us are still figuring it out. And so we opt for defining ourselves by the things that most visibly make us who we are: our jobs, our tax brackets, where we come from, our favorite sports teams, our citizenship, our alma mater… but those things can and never will be who we are. They are simply things about us – circumstances that in some way or the other have shaped us – but never who we are.
Because Purpose and identity go hand in hand, where you find your identity is important because it will shape your view of your Purpose. If you find your identity in your job, you will think your Purpose is at a career destination where you call the shots. If who you are is a tax bracket, and money is your motivation, you will always feel like you need more money to live out your Purpose. And funny enough, you never really find yourself arriving at this place of Purpose that we all innately long for.
Do I believe that God can promote you, provide for you, re-situate you in line with your Purpose? Yes, I do. I believe there are places and people and environments and things that facilitate and propel your purpose when you align with them, but that’s all they are: add-ons. Do I believe there are places and people who need you to be who God created you to be? Yes. But I also believe that God can raise rocks up to do His bidding if He so pleases, so while you might be a key ingredient, you can be substituted if you don’t get in line. Do I believe that circumstances and environments shape your Purpose? Yes. Like a child that matures, you have to go through different levels of exposure to learning to gain enough knowledge to help you excel at being who you were called to be.
But your Purpose is not those external things; it is exactly who you are in this moment. When God created each of us, He deposited in us gifts, and yearnings, and inclinations and passions that align directly with who He called us to be – and we can use those things and be exactly who we are regardless of any external circumstances or lack of resources.
The reason a lot of people never live out their Purpose is not because they never arrive at it, it’s because they’re actually waiting to arrive somewhere to be who God has already created them to be. They’re waiting for the perfect time or resources to be who God has called them to be, when they can be it right here right now. For instance, if you are a connector, you do not need to have a million-dollar matchmaker business to start connecting people. A connector is not what you do, it’s who you are, and so you should live out your Purpose of connecting in every situation you find yourself in. When you go to church and you meet someone who should know someone else, link them up. If you’re working at your minimum wage job, be a connector there – tell others about job and school opportunities they should apply for. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect timing’ to be who God created you to be, because there is no such thing.
When Jesus told the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16, he said “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” This is a Kingdom principle I have seen at work in my own life. When I slacked off and decided that where I was wasn’t where I wanted to be, I saw no forward progression in where God could take me. But the moment I chose to be who I was and live out Purpose exactly where I was, promotion followed. God cannot take you there if you are not who He called you to be here. If you are not the kind and caring giver He made you to be when you’re earning $20 an hour, why would He take you to $200? What happens here, is what will get you there.
Here’s what happens when you’re so focused on Purpose, and on being who God created you to be, exactly where you are: you don’t worry about a destination. You don’t even much care what it looks like. You have your head down and can live life fully trusting that if you are faithful to your purpose, God will be faithful open whatever doors necessary for provision and promotion in His timing. When you are in line with God on this Purpose thing, everything else works out according to His perfect plan.
God created Moses to be a shepherd (not in the sense of occupation, but characteristic-wise), and because he was faithful with sheep, God gave him nations to shepherd.
God created David to be a warrior – that is how he was wired. And because he lived out his fearlessness fighting off lions and bears while tending someone else’s sheep, God made him the greatest warrior who ever lived, taking nations for God. It was some 15 years between when he was anointed King by Samuel and when he became King over Judah, and another 7 years before he became King over all Israel – but David didn’t wait to become King before he started acting like one!
For probably some 20 years, Jesus was a carpenter. He spent his days living in obscurity putting pieces together and making something out of mundane nothings. And because that was who God created him to be, soon he became the one who would take the pieces of our broken and shapeless lives and make something beautiful out of them.
Heck, whether in the zoo, or out in the wild, a lion is still a lion, and will still treat you like prey if you get too close!
When you are WHO you are, WHERE you are, you will see God use you for even greater things! But you have to start now and right here. You have to figure out how you are wired, how God created you, and start using that now.
This really is all just to say that I have removed from my heart the notion that I have to wait for something to happen in my life in a certain direction to start being who I was created to be. Who you are is a Child of the Most High God. Who you are is appointed. Who you are is created and fashioned for Purpose – and all those things can be lived out right here, exactly where you are.
So stop waiting for Purpose love. Just live it.