Let's take a brief look at how to discover your God-given purpose. I've never met a person who didn't want to know why they exist and how to make a difference in their sphere of influence.
There are at least three things you can do that will help in the process of discovery.
First, ask God.
I know it’s probably obvious and a no-brainer, but if you want to know what God’s purpose and plan are for your life, it starts with going to the Source and asking Him.
Here’s what Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7). In context, Jesus is talking about prayer here. However, the principle we can hang our hat on in this verse is that God answers when we ask. He’s not playing hide-and-seek with us; He wants us to know what we need to know.
Dan came to me after I spoke at our church about discovering our purpose. He was mad. He said, “For far too long I have searched for my purpose. I’ve asked God over and over what His plan is for me, and He’s not answering me!” Dan felt God was elusive or perhaps overlooking him.
Maybe you’ve struggled here too.
Something deep in your soul knows you were created for a purpose. You’re desperate to see at least a basic blueprint for your life. You’ve read Jeremiah 29:11 a gazillion times, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord . . .” but now you want to hurt someone every time they quote that verse to you.
So, at this point, you’ve decided that God is ignoring you, you’re not worthy of a holy purpose, there is no plan, or there is no God. Cluelessness leads to hopelessness. I know. But let me give you a couple of other things worth doing before you give up.
Here's the second step to discovering your purpose: Ask yourself.
What stirs your heart? What gets you all excited and pumped up? Unless it’s something obviously unholy (like becoming a serial killer), then it’s quite possible that God put that passion in your heart. Someone once said, “Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
When I coached track, one of the assistants was a guy who ran for the University of Oregon. He told me once that he wasn’t sure if God could use him at the university.
His mother wanted him to go to Bible school to become a pastor. I told him that the last thing God wanted was for everyone to become preachers!
He loved to run. He said he was born to run. So I told him to run! Run for God, run to bring Him pleasure, and run to put a smile on God’s face.
The Psalmist wrote, “My heart is stirred by a noble theme” (Psalm 45:1). Sometimes it is as simple as considering where your heart is stirred. Where do you feel God’s pleasure most? What are your natural and supernatural gifts and passions?
A huge part of determining God’s plan for your life is recognizing what excites and motivates you. Don’t overlook, discount, or minimize what’s in you. It may be a God-deposit put there for an eternal purpose.
There’s one more important part in the discovery process: Ask others.
Put a different way, what do your friends and family have to say? What do the people closest to you who know you best and love you the most think? I’m not suggesting that we live to please others. That never ends well because we are to please God, but others can be a confirming voice in your life.
The wisest guy to ever walk the planet, Solomon, once wrote, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). It’s okay—and wise, in fact—to get the input of trusted voices in your life.
Ask the people around you these questions:
- What do you think are my greatest strengths?
- What do you believe is my greatest passion?
- When you look at my life, where do you see me making the greatest impact?
- What am I doing that you think I should stop or start?
Ask God. Ask yourself. Ask others. Then listen and listen well.