What matters most to you? What gives you joy? What advocacy issues or humanitarian causes are you passionate about? What difficulties have you personally overcome or are dealing with right now? What do you feel a sense of urgency about accomplishing? Your answers to these questions are a good place to start discovering what your life purpose is.
Author Gary Keller says to think of purpose as simply the one thing you want your life to be about more than any other. It’s that dream that won’t leave you alone or that desire to make a difference using the gifts and talents you already possess to bring it to reality. It’s my belief that all of your life experiences up until now, especially your greatest challenges and deepest heartaches, have helped to specifically prepare you for what you are here to do. Your ‘mess’ may very well be ‘your message’. You were custom made by God for your purpose and every part of you is designed to fulfill it!
I invite you to consider making two lists right now on a piece of paper to see what resonates with you. In the first list, quickly write down all the things that stir pain in your soul. List the things from your own past or present experience or even something in the current world condition that evokes sadness, passion, or concern. Have you been through a painful divorce or are a survivor of childhood abuse? Have you experienced a tragic loss or overcome addiction or cancer? Do you have intolerance for animal abuse or a heart for the homeless?
Now let’s change gears for a moment to transition to the second list to get in touch with that part of you that feels joy and can help you identify what your talents and gifts are. What do you absolutely love to do? Quickly write down all the things that make your soul come alive and feel happy! Do you enjoy painting or taking photographs? Do you have a talent for singing or music? Do you have a gift for speaking or writing? Love to travel or be out in nature?
It’s my experience in helping others to navigate their life purpose that one’s ‘calling’ may be somewhere in between those two lists. Do keep in mind that ‘living with purpose’ does not mean you have to just do one thing for the rest of your life! That ‘core knowing’ of what your gifts are, your desire to make a contribution, along with your faith and guided action, will create a powerful magnetic field that will attract the right opportunities and helpful people.
How do I know this is true? I went from complete despair and not knowing what to do when my younger sister disappeared 16 years ago to creating a social justice movement that has helped save countless lives. The mission of Outpost for Hope to raise awareness about people who are lost among the homeless has been featured numerous times in national media including Reader’s Digest and People Magazine. It also inspired a Lifetime television movie that has been seen in over twenty countries. God used my devastating life circumstances to help me ‘live with purpose’ and find my faith during an extraordinarily difficult time that ultimately blessed many people. I know for sure that if YOU ask to be shown what you are here for – you WILL get answers! You have a destiny to fulfill and the universe is waiting to co-create with you to support that.
I feel God’s guidance directing me yet again as my own purpose expands to teach and inspire others to pay attention to divine guidance to co-create magnificent and meaningful lives.
You can start today to ‘live with purpose’ by simply asking yourself ‘in what ways might God work through me to make a significant contribution”? Listen carefully, start journaling the ideas that come to you and be open to the opportunities which may be right in front of you. It may be as simple as helping the neighbor next door or volunteering your time at a local shelter or going for that music audition.
Mahatma Gandhi said ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’. And by that I believe he meant we could all live with purpose simply by being the example of ‘faith in action’ we would like to see around us. When you use your God-given talents in service to others, and create as much hope and joy as you can to contribute to the planet (or just one other person), the universe will support you by bringing you even more ideas and opportunities to be blessed and to BE a blessing.