Why am I here? What does God want me to do? What am I supposed to do with the gifts God has given me?
Have you asked yourself these questions?
Over and over and over again until one day, it all became crystal clear.
Discovering your purpose in Christ doesn't have to be a difficult thing. It doesn't have to be a tormenting decision. It doesn't have to go on and on for months, years, and decades. I thought it did. I struggled with finding my purpose in Christ for years. I read every Scripture, listened to every sermon, and cried out to God asking, "WHY DID YOU PUT ME ON THIS EARTH."
Are you in that place? Are you left wondering if you have a purpose and if you are destined for great things? I am here to help you today, my friend.
Today, I want to share with you a very simple way to discovering your purpose and calling in Christ Jesus.
A Bit of My Backstory to Help You Discover Your Story.
* When I was five-years-old, I showed a love for the piano. My aunt had gifted us a baby grand piano, and from morning to evening, I sat and plucked at the keys. My parents saw my love of the piano, and at five-years-old gave me piano lessons.
* When I was twelve-years-old, I began going to Summer Stock. Each year from 12-18 years old, I performed on stage in tons of musicals and plays. I loved my time at summer theater. I loved the camaraderie, I loved the music and dancing, and I loved being on stage.
* When I was sixteen-years-old, I began taking choir and music classes in school. I sang in competitions and concerts, and I fell in love with music.
* In college, I studied Music Education. I studied piano and voice and got the opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall. I excelled in my classes and earned a degree in Music Education.
* At 19, I began leading worship at my church; a ministry that I continued well into my 30's. I love praise and worship. Singing and playing to the Lord is my passion.
* After college, I taught music in the public schools for ten years. I hope that through my teachings, I gave my students a love of the Arts and Music.
* After my son was born, at the age of 33, I started a non-profit community theater. Our mission was to bring light, laughter, and love to our community through The Arts.
Do you notice a pattern in my story? Nowhere in my very quick little bio did you see "I fell in love with numbers and began an accounting practice." OR "I love making people feel good about themselves, so I became a cosmetologist." OR "I was good at biology and science, so I became a nurse."
Everything I have ever loved from the time I was five-years-old centered around Music and The Arts. And yet, I still struggled through my teens and twenties in discovering my purpose.
Until one day, a preacher preached a sermon that changed my life and quieted my fears. He asked his congregation two questions. I'd like to share those questions with you today.
Question #1 in Finding Your Purpose and Calling: What Do You Love To Do?
I am going to make this very simple. What you love to do and what you are good at is part of your calling.
God isn't going to call you to something you hate to do. Psalm 139:13 says, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Why would the God that formed your inward parts; your heart, mind, and soul allow your purpose to be something that you hated?
What do you love doing? What are you good at? That is the first part of your purpose. That is the part that the Lord knit and formed while you were still in your mothers' womb.
I have loved music from the beginning of my life, I have gravitated to the arts of Music, Writing, and Theater. Why would my calling and purpose be a Children's Pastor? I ran a children's ministry for a little while, and I was discontent. I taught the kids, and I gave them the Word of God, but I was so unhappy. It wasn't my calling. I love kids, but my joy, passion, and contentment come when I am behind a piano.
I have loved writing, theater, and art from as early as I can remember. Why would accounting be my career and calling? I worked for a while at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in New York City. I worked in the risk management department, and my job was to help discover ways that multi-million dollar companies could change their business practices to prevent risk. I was very good at the job. But I was unfulfilled. I left PwC, and went back to music. There, I felt complete.
Erika, I'm not good at anything. Now what?
Seriously? NOTHING! You aren't good at anything? Does nothing excite you?
Oh, my friend, I don't believe that at all. Don't believe that lie. Psalm 138:8 says, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands."
My dear friend, there is something inside of you that the Lord will fulfill. His fulfilled purpose in you is a promise. Take some time and truthfully think about what you are good at. If you still can't figure it out, I am giving you an open invitation to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will help you figure it out. That is how confident I am that you are created for a marvelous purpose in Christ Jesus.
Ask yourself, write it down, brainstorm, journal it out, but answer this question . . . WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT? WHAT DO YOU LOVE? That answer is the first part of your purpose in Christ.
Question #2 in Finding Your Purpose and Calling: How Can What You Love To Do Help Someone Else?
Our society is plagued with selfishness. As a society, we are completely focused on "self" and on what the "self" wants. We have become a society of help me, do for me, look at me, give me, praise me, and honor me. We have become a very selfish people.
The danger as Christians is that we get wrapped up in this society of self. The Bible says in Philippians 2:3-7, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."
Once you have found what you love and what your passion is, give it away.
Finding your purpose and calling isn't about you. It is about sharing what God gave you to someone else.
What good would my voice, my songs, my music, or my theatrical skills be if I only used them for myself and my selfish gain? I am not a millionaire, I am not even a "thousand-aire," but I am not doing what I do for the millions of dollars. If they come, great! But that is not my focus. My focus is helping others, giving to others, bringing joy to others, through the gifts God has given me.
The meaning of life is to discover the gifts that God has given you. Your purpose in life is to give them away to His children.
The Lord has given you gifts and talents. The Lord has given you a calling and a purpose in this life. The Lord has called you to give what you have away so someone else can live.
These two simple questions helped me to settle in my heart that my purpose was to bring people closer to Jesus through the arts of music, theater, and the written word. Everything I have done in my life point to that purpose and calling.
I answered the questions, NOW WHAT?
1. Once you have answered the above questions, pray and seek the Lord. Ask Him to convict you if you missed the mark. Ask Him to guide you and confirm to your heart His purpose and calling for your life.
2. Get moving. Once you sense God leading you to a purpose, get started. Don't wait for the perfect situation. Don't wait for the perfect door to open. Don't allow fear to get in the way. Don't allow doubt to get in the way. Even if you aren't 100% certain, START MOVING. God sees your heart, and He will lead you on to the right path.
3. Find a Mentor/Spiritual Mentor. I can write a list of names of people who mentored me throughout my life. From my first piano teacher, Miss Gloria, to my first theater teacher, Mr. D'Antoni . . . And countless others in between. These men and women helped to form me into who I am today. God used them to guide me and help me along the way. I encourage you to find a Mentor; someone to help you along the way. I would be happy to be that person for you. Just email me and let's get started! email@example.com.
4. Don't Grow Weary in Well-Doing. Starting out on a new path is exciting, but as in all things, that excitement fades from time to time. When negative words get thrown your way, don't grow weary in your calling. When doors are closed, don't grow weary. Look at them as doors that God didn't want you to open. When you get tired of people (which will happen!), don't faint. Keep on going and press on toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
Dear friend, you were created for a purpose. You have a calling and a mission to fulfill in Christ Jesus. It may be raising amazing, godly kids. It may be ministering to your neighbors or patients. It may be on the pulpit or in the mission field. It may be crafts or music or science or numbers. BUT YOU ARE GOOD AT SOMETHING! You have passion, you have a purpose, and you have a calling, and what you love, someone else needs!
I am standing in your corner and cheering you on the entire way. Go find it, go get it, and watch God move in your life.
YOUR TURN: What is the biggest struggle folks face in finding their purpose and calling? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.