By Laura W. Watts
A Purpose Makes the Difference
“I’m almost 72 years old and I’m still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up,” said the gray-haired man as he chuckled. His words took root in my heart. My mind flashed back to high school when I didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do after graduation. I had too many hurdles in my teenage years to see beyond the weekend. I didn’t know my life had a purpose or even what that meant.
No matter how young or old we are, life takes on a whole new meaning when we have purpose.
Each weekday, I get up, drink my coffee, read my Bible, and rush off to work to earn a paycheck. On Sundays mornings, I head to church and enjoy family time in the afternoons. Saturdays are the best, because I’m free to plan something just for me. Sounds pretty good, but do my daily routines define my overall life purpose? Or is there more?
The Grand Plan
We need something bigger than daily routines to define our purpose in life. We need a dream. Something to flavor the daily grind and help us enjoy the journey. Maybe we could toss some coffee beans in life’s grinder and savor the aroma. Many times, we try to spice up our lives with entertainment or fabulous vacations. These efforts are fun and bring a change to the rote activities of survival mode, but the spice of life is more than coffee beans, entertainment and vacations.
When we have a grand plan, a target in our sights, it drives every move we make. A dream or ultimate goal works like a magnet to draw us ever closer to the finish line. Our master plan saturates every step, every choice, every thought with the flavor of purpose. Each sunrise brings us a new opportunity to move closer to the final goal and from our purpose comes the joy of knowing the reason we live and exist. Without it, life becomes mundane, begrudging, and burdensome.
5 Steps To Find Your Purpose
Finding purpose and meaning in life will be different for everyone, but here are some basic steps to find the unique plan for you. Try these five simple steps to establish a target for your life.
- RECALIBRATE: Pretend you’re on the side of a road and looking across it. This road represents your entire life. Your past is to the left and the future is to the right. Inhale and take a long, deep breath and imagine bringing all your past life inside of you. As you exhale, look to your left and blow it into yesterday. Mentally you want to leave the past in the past. With your next breath, look right and step onto the road because you are about to start a new adventure into tomorrow.
Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) ISV
- PLAN: Stand still and look ahead. There’s a target in the distance. It’s yours, and in the center is a huge bullseye. The next step requires some soul-searching on your part. You must decide what’s in the bullseye. What do you want the target to be? What one thing is on the bullseye you’ve been wanting to reach? Take some time to pray, and ask God for direction. He has a purpose for everyone.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalms 139:16) ISV
As you meditate, write down goals you want to accomplished. Some may take a week, a month, or a year or more. Remember to think about eternal goals because God wants to be involved with His creation. Identify as many as you can because you need both short-term and long-term goals no matter what your age.
Let your eyes look directly ahead; fix your gaze straight in front of you. (Proverbs 4: 25-26) ISV
- REFINE: Spend time on each goal you listed no matter how small it seems. Maybe you want to lose weight and be healthy, go to college and find a fulfilling job, or be a disciple of Christ and build His Kingdom. No matter what you choose, write down specific actions necessary to reach each goal. For example, If I want to lose weight, I need to write out actions steps in detail, or losing weight will never happen. Be sure and create action steps for each goal. Write them down so you have a guide to keep you focused and a benchmark to track your progress.
Identify goals that compete against each other—if you work toward one, it may pull you away from another. Prioritize the goals based on importance and get rid of the ones that don’t support your number one goal.
Carefully measure the paths for your feet, and all your ways will be established. (Proverbs 4:26) ISV
- AIM: Draw a bullseye target on a sheet of paper and write the most important goal in the middle. Next, put the others around the center bullseye in order of importance. On the outer ring of the bullseye write the goals which will take the shortest amount of time to accomplish and fill in the inner rings. The goal in the middle should be the most desired one which creates the passion, energy and hope.
Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:34) ISV
Keep the target close at hand so you can look at it every morning, noon, and night. Pray and ask God to help.
Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
- GO: You’re ready to begin the journey. Look down the road and focus on your bullseye. Lift your foot, take the first step and let the joy of purpose fill you with hope. Be careful to consider each choice along the way to see if it is a step closer to the target or a distraction. A steady focus on the bullseye will align each step in the right direction. Don’t get distracted, but keep looking forward.
Do not turn to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:27) ISV
When we strive to reach our dreams, we must accept that somewhere along the way we’ll face speed-bumps and hurdles, and distractions will get us sidetracked. Tragedy may drop a roadblock on our best laid plans and create a detour through a deep, dark valley. Don’t despair. We must learn how to press on even in the darkest of days. Because of the certainty of hard times and troubles, we need the power and love of God to strengthen us. Look up and call upon the Lord in times of need.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13 (AMP)
God’s love is the only thing in this world that will never fail.
Christ is the source of my strength and hope, In Him I find my purpose in life—To love God, love others and daily follow in the footsteps of Jesus. In the bullseye of my target is the goal to reach eternity and hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Everything else from now until then is part of the journey.
Do you have a defined target or goals you’re working toward? What is your purpose?
We’d love to hear from you.