Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsWednesday 6 Jan 2021Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
You have a very specific purpose in the universe. That’s a big statement—but it’s worth exploring today.
But there is a problem—and that is discovering that purpose. It goes against the social programming you and I have experienced since childhood. We have been programmed to believe that the ultimate purpose in life is the pursuit of happiness. I’m not saying that happiness is bad. We all want to be happy. Happiness is a gift from God.
But something happens to us when we believe that happiness is the only purpose in life. One result is that when we face job issues, health problems, conflicts in relationships, or when we watch the latest news story about terrorism, the fleeting feelings of happiness dissolve and we mentally and emotionally break down.
Albert Einstein once said, “A life directed chiefly towards the fulfillment of personal desires will sooner or later always lead to bitter disappointment” (Letter to T. Lee, Jan. 16, 1954).
What happens when the bubble of happiness is burst by your boyfriend dumping you? What happens when you lose your job? What happens to happiness when you find out your best friend has cancer? These kinds of difficult experiences are out of our control. The happiness bubble is broken, and what’s left is stress, grief and sadness.
Find a Life of Meaning
But living a life with your ultimate purpose in mind gives you a chance to live beyond your own limitations—to love, sacrifice and give to others. Finding a life of meaning, of purpose, is the secret to dealing with the stress and anxiety and hopelessness that can engulf our everyday lives. Here’s a few ideas:
Determine your gifts and strengths. God has given you very specific gifts and strengths. Maybe you’re a math whiz or a wise counselor. Maybe you have a mind for electronics or business. Maybe you’re great at organising people and getting things done. God’s purpose for you probably involves the things you’re already good at. This is where education can be particularly valuable. Going to college or going back to college allows you to discover your gifts and then determine how you’re going to use them. It also connects you with people who want to help you find your purpose.
Determine your passions. What is one thing you’re particularly passionate about? Really, this can be anything: business, art, economics, alleviating poverty, whatever. If money wasn’t an issue, what would you love to do? Determining your passions often helps you figure out what God has called you to do. It’s often said that God works at the intersection of our gifts and our passions. Where do your gifts meet your passions? That may be God’s purpose for you.
But you can trust God to lead you where he wants you to go.
Bring others into your life. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” In other words, one of the main ways God will help you find your purpose is through others. Find people you trust and respect—those who want the best for you.
Take a solitude retreat. Sometimes it can be incredibly helpful to get away from it all and take some unhurried time to think, pray and write down your thoughts in a journal. You don’t have to spend a week in the woods for this to be effective. Even just a day away from the hustle and grind can be hugely rewarding.
During these retreats, allow yourself to simply be still. To ponder. To ask God for direction and listen for his voice. This doesn’t need to be complicated and doesn’t require any elaborate rituals. Hebrews 11:6 is a reminder that God always rewards those who seek him. He’s not hiding in the dark, trying to keep his will hidden from you. He wants to guide you—and in the end, trust God each day. Believe he’s with you, guiding you each second. It’s not fairytale stuff!
Trust God to Lead You
Trying to discover your life purpose can be a stressful, overwhelming thing. It can seem like such a big, confusing, frustrating subject. You want to move forward, but you’re not sure how. You want to find your purpose, but you feel like you’re aimlessly wandering. But you can trust God to lead you where he wants you to go. As Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
You may feel confused, but God doesn’t. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is: his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The Bible says in The Message version, “Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”
If you buy into the world’s value system—that the ultimate value in life is pleasure, possession and prestige—you will miss God’s purpose for your life.