Spend a few minutes surfing social media, and you’ll quickly discover that we love to talk about purpose. The messages of destiny, dreaming big, and finding what you were born for are woven throughout American culture.
But I’m not talking about some pie-in-the-sky purpose with no application in our everyday lives. I’m simply addressing the reason I exist, my motivation for the decisions I must make in my daily life, from the big stuff like “Where will we live?” “How many kids will we have?” “What kind of work will I pursue?” to the seemingly small stuff like “What will I eat?” “How will I spend this window of free time?” “What will I say?”
It’s my experience that most women aren’t living for the wrong purpose exactly; they just haven’t given much thought to their purpose at all. I would say this was once my experience. In fact, by not knowing my ultimate purpose, I felt pulled in a million directions by many secondary purposes, so much so that I felt spread thin. It was hard to know where to direct my attention at any given time and how to prioritize my energy, between the demands of my career, commitment to family, friendships, personal health, and more.
Those years when I was at home with my small children worked like a greenhouse, helping me grow my understanding of what my primary purpose is, beyond any other ambitions in life. If you’d asked me my purpose before those years, I would have fumbled to find an answer. Now I know.
My purpose is to glorify God.
Bringing God glory is the purpose; the specific ways we do that are the process.
With so many voices and influences seeking to define our purpose for us, it’s easy to get confused. The world hands us so many scripts. We are told to be perfect in so many ways. To be successful, confident, beautiful, all-star parents, wives, daughters, teachers, and role models.
Often we put the cart before the horse, seeing the specific ways we live out our purpose as the purpose itself.
Being a champion for the poor, fighting human trafficking, or helping the sick are worthy and valuable causes, but they are not our ultimate purpose. They are simply the means to glorify God by caring for others. Bringing God glory is the purpose; the specific ways we do that are the process.
Acting, writing, speaking, mothering – none of these are my primary purpose. They are the roles God has given me to live out my higher purpose of glorifying Him. If I looked to any one of those roles to give my life meaning, I’d struggle when things in that single area didn’t go well. But since I know my purpose is to bring God glory, I have freedom to live it out in every area of my life. I am even free to fail, because it’s possible to glorify God through my weaknesses.
Often we get clues about our purpose through our passions. You may be passionate about music or teaching or gathering people in your home. That’s great! Think of your passions as road markers on the map that help you take steps toward your purpose. Purpose is the reason we exist, and it can help us set the GPS for our lives.