One afternoon, I was enjoying great, deeper-level conversation with my friend Randy over a cup of coffee (my idea of fun) when he said something I won’t forget.
“Taking care of my wife and kids is my great responsibility before God,” he said. “They have been given to me on loan to take care of. It’s my job to ensure that I give them my best—with God’s guidance—and to leave a legacy that not only draws out their best but also affects the generations to come.”
Wow, I thought. Those are the words of a man who knows his purpose in life. I always love talking with people who live with purpose. It’s inspiring and provoking. Don’t we all wish we knew, with crystal clarity, what are lives are supposed to be about? Knowing and being confident in our purpose sets us free to fully live.
I think most of us make a couple of classic mistakes when it comes to pursuing purpose in life. First, we try to find our purpose in the wrong places—typically, in what we do, what we have, or what other people think of us. Yet no matter how much we chase them—and I’ve chased them all—our jobs and accomplishments, our money and possessions, and our social circle and status can’t tell us the deep truth of why are here on the planet or how to fulfill the purpose for our lives. Only our Creator and Father can do that.
Second, those of us who do look to God to define our purpose often stop short of discovering the level of clarity we need to be able to live from our purpose in every area of our lives. We try to find out what “God’s will” is for our spiritual life, family, career, health, finances, community, etc. and then do our best to run after those things. For many years, I took this fragmented approach to purpose. I tried all kinds of strategies and formulas to help me look at the different areas of my life and write down complex plans for who I was called to be and to accomplish. Yet I never got clarity around the unifying purpose behind these separate purposes, and it became exhausting trying to stay on top of them all.
I believe that God has a specific purpose for each of our lives that He wants us to know and live from. Yes, this purpose connects to His larger purposes for humanity. We are all here to know Him, receive His love, love others, and grow into a mature expression of Christ. We are all sons and daughters who have been brought into the family mission of God—to see His kingdom come and His will be done in the earth. But each of us has a unique and essential part to play in that mission, and understanding our part is critical for navigating choices in our daily lives.
After that conversation with Randy, I went back and started challenging myself to formulate a clearer purpose and mission statement for my life. I discussed my thoughts with my spiritual mentors, spent time praying and listening for the Holy Spirit’s insight, and wrote down a list of ideas. In the end, here’s what I came up with:
My life mission, my one thing,
is to be a conduit for the power of God
to bring to light the potential in mind, body, and spirit that lies in others
so that they may complete their assignment in life.
It’s pretty simple. As a father, a strength and conditioning coach, a speaker, a leader, a friend, and a follower of Jesus, my purpose is to partner with God in helping others discover and fulfill their purpose.
This purpose statement has made things so much clearer to me. Getting out of bed with this as my driving force allows me to point the many possibilities of how to spend my day into one meaningful direction. Though any number of interruptions or changes may present themselves in my schedule, I don’t have to live a single moment that is not on purpose. Whether I am with my family, at work, with friends, or at church, I am there to help others reach their potential and fulfill their assignment.
This clarity also helps me to see where I need to invest my time and resources proactively so I can fulfill my purpose more effectively—whether it’s spiritual training in learning to follow and release the power of the Holy Spirit, studying the latest research on brain science and mental health so I can improve my training programs at work, or taking extra time to encourage some guys in my small group as they fulfill some part of their life’s assignment.
At the same time, knowing my purpose also breaks off worry or insecurity that I won’t have what I need to do what I was created to do. When our Creator makes us, He provides what we need to fulfill our purpose. When our Father gives us an assignment, He backs it up with the resources we need. All we have to do is trust Him and step out in what He is leading us to do.
So what about you? Do you know your purpose?
P.S: I recommend Start With Why by Simon Sinek and The One Thing by Gary Keller for more ideas on creating your own life’s purpose statement.