There are seven and a half billion people on this planet. Seven and a half…. billion. Seven and a half billion people with differing ethnicities, views, interests, aspirations, and the list goes on.
Seven and a half billion…and yet…. there’s a common thread.
You see, I have this burning conviction, that each and every one of us is endowed with something intrinsic. It’s something that can lay dormant for years, or be discovered early in life. Its mere existence is sometimes doubted, while others pursue it with passion and fervor. Some will go their whole lives and unfortunately never tap into it, and still others cannot go a day without taking steps towards it.
The something I’m referring to is purpose.
Who Has It
We all have purpose – all of us, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or any other “identifying” label that is placed upon us. Purpose is inherent. Its existence is not influenced by who we are, what we’ve done, or where we’ve been. It was in us the moment that we were born, and it remains in us whether we choose to believe it exists or not. And while there are things that can keep us from stepping into our purpose, the reality is that its presence remains in our lives.
Moreover, we can’t lose it or have it taken away. We can, however, walk away from it, or avoid it.
Now, how do we discover it?
Well first of all, I believe we have to recognize its existence. We can’t do anything unless we have faith in the fact that God has bestowed upon us a purpose for our life. Until we truly put our faith in that, we’ll continue to live mundane existences, toying in the shallow end while a vast ocean of destiny lies before us.
So first things first – believe you have purpose. Really believe it.
The second thing I believe we ought to keep in mind is that purpose rarely reveals itself to us with flashing lights. That’s not to say that we can’t have grand revelatory moments. I just don’t think we ought to be looking for a sign from the heavens as to what our purpose is. Personally, I am of the belief that God refrains from showing us our whole purpose, simply because I think it would scare us half to death. I believe purpose is revealed slowly – and quietly. It’s found in the little things that stir our heart. The ideas in our mind that typically begin with “wouldn’t it be awesome if…” It’s in the things that rouse our emotions to act.
Purpose vs. Talent
Recently I had a conversation with a friend in which we discussed the topic of purpose. While we spoke, she mentioned her frustrations in trying to figure out what her talents are. I’m sure many of us share the same sentiment. The issue, however, in looking for purpose in our talents, is that a “talent” is merely a vehicle.
Example, Justin Timberlake is an entertainer (purpose); he entertains by singing (vehicle), dancing (vehicle), and acting (vehicle).
You see, getting caught up in discovering our talent instead of our purpose is like trying to decide whether to take a plane, car, or boat to a destination we’ve yet to figure out.
Furthermore, I believe confusing our talent with our purpose sets us up for “imprisonment”. What I mean by this is that we can become hostage to our talents. Let’s use ol’ JT again as an example. If he believed that his purpose was solely to sing, then all he’d do is sing, and consequently miss out on a vast number of outlets by which to entertain and express his creativity.
Don’t put yourself behind bars, have your talents be the vehicle by which your purpose is fulfilled. After all, our talents are designed to serve our purpose – not the other way around.
So what if I’m still having a difficult time figuring out my purpose?
(Sorry, these are the kind of dialogues I have in my head with myself…pray for me).
I would say ask yourself what stirs your heart. What “gets you in the feels” (millennial’s will understand that). Is it serving others? Is it loving on a particular group of people that is often marginalized? Is it helping those less fortunate? Maybe it’s reaching out to those who are now experiencing something that you dealt with growing up. Is it bringing people joy, healing, or help? You’ll notice that these ideas tend to be general. It’s supposed to be that way. The generality of our purpose allows us the ability to fulfill it in a number of different ways – enter your talent(s) (known & unknown).
A few final thoughts if you don’t mind.
If you know what your purpose is – then act upon it now. If you think you know what your purpose is – then act upon it now. People live their whole lives waiting for the right opportunity to do what they believe they’re designed to do. Here’s a little nugget of truth – the right opportunity rarely ever comes. If you’re waiting for your ship to come in – it won’t. If you’re waiting for the right time, there will never be one. In fact, if you’re looking for a reason NOT to step into your purpose, you’ll always find one.
Alright I’m landing the plane, stay with me.
I hate the expression YOLO (you only live once). Well I don’t hate it; I just hate the way it sounds. The message, however, is inarguable. We all get one life. One shot. No do-over’s. Now I don’t know about you, but that keeps me up at night. For me, life is way too precious to live menial existences. Now don’t get me wrong, maybe a comfy routine life is exactly what you want, and if so then that’s fine! But for the rest of us, I believe deep waters are calling. Don’t waste another day. Shoot, don’t waste another minute. We were made with purpose, so lets pursue it like we only get to experience it once – because in reality, once is all we got.