Everyone talks about having clear goals, but you have no ideas what your goals should even be. People tell you to follow your dreams, but you just want to want something. What if I told you it doesn’t have to be that hard?
I know exactly what it’s like to feel a little lost and unsure about my goals in life.
In fact, when I first gave up my medical practice in 2007, I felt paralyzed by the possibilities in front of me. For so long, I had defined my meaning and purpose by my job and here I was at home for the first time, trying to find my way through dishes and meals and laundry and soccer games.
I felt so lost. I’ve had that happen many times since, when circumstances change and my life feels a little aimless. If you find yourself struggling about goals and purpose, I bet you’re telling yourself these three lies.
You don’t know what your purpose is.
The first lie you’re believing about your purpose is that you don’t know what it is. You think you don’t know what it is, or even what you want it to be. We have gotten to the point where we don’t really even trust ourselves. We don’t have the inner sense that we really do know.
Of course you know. Let me remind you that God made you for a purpose. You don’t have to actually do anything for that to be true. He made you with meaning, and value, and for a purpose, and he loves you. That is enough.
I know you think, “Well, I know all that, but that doesn’t really answer the question!”
Stop searching for your purpose.
Stop believing that you don’t really have a purpose.
Stop being confused about what your purpose is.
Once you stop that, and you start believing that he loves you, and he made you for a reason, it changes things. You stop looking for your purpose everywhere else.
Living your purpose is an inside job.
Nobody else can give it to you. No job can give it to you, in fact jobs are terrible at giving it to you. Your family is terrible at giving it to you. You already have it! I want you to begin really believing everything about the meaning and purpose of your life was already given to you by God when he created you.
You can’t be more purposeful, or be more meaningful, or have more purpose than God already gave you. Your tank is full!
The reason you don’t believe that is, you have a misguided understanding of what purpose actually is, and what it actually means, just like I did.
God did all the work. He created you and you’re fearfully and wonderfully made. He created you so unique, and he loves you. His purposes are alive and well in you. Just because you don’t recognize that, doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Most of us aren’t living as if we believe it. We’re not living as if we recognize what he already has given us. Purpose is this amazing, incredible, beautiful gift, and we don’t even know it’s there so we don’t acknowledge it, we don’t access it, we’re not thankful for it, and we don’t utilize it.
We have to wake up to the fact that purpose is within us and we’re already living it out. From that place, we can begin to explore all the other things that are true about calling, and vocation, and how God made us special, and how he has certain gifts he wants us to use.
When you become aware of what he’s already given you, magic starts to happen! You’re not striving and grasping, trying to do something to be more purposeful.
He’s already given you all the value, and all the meaning, and all the purpose you will ever have. Isn’t that such good news? You don’t have to find it, you just have to start living it!
When you live as if you are valued and loved and adored, full of purpose and meaning, and that what you’re already doing matters, it changes everything. You don’t live unsure and full of doubt like you do when you believe you don’t know what your purpose is.
My purpose is not as important as hers.
Comparing yourself with others is the most toxic thing you can do. Not only does comparison often cause us to despise the gift of God in someone else, it causes us to despise it in ourselves. To think that we’re less than, to think that whatever we’re doing is not as important, to think that whatever we’re doing doesn’t matter or have meaning, or that it doesn’t have purpose is a lie.
That lie will keep you from actually living as if you have an amazing gift that God has given you, one that you can share with the world. It will keep you stuck.
It often leads us to this weird place of judgment, where we’re so critical and so negative of everyone else. The thing that will kill your sense of meaning and sense of purpose faster than anything, is comparing yourself to somebody else, and assuming that whatever she’s doing is better than what you’re doing. It isn’t better.
We all go through different stages. I remember the time in my life when I was homeschooling my girls. I have a medical degree, and I felt like God had gifted me in that area, and I had to fight the tendency to think, “How I’m using my gifts isn’t as important as the doctor down the street who is still working in her job, or the teacher who actually knows what she’s doing when homeschooling.”
I had to fight the temptation to say that period of time wasn’t purposeful or valuable. It was the most valuable. It didn’t look very important from the outside. As a matter of fact, a lot of people said, “Why are you wasting your gifts?”
You have to fight for yourself, and for whatever phase of life you’re in. Realize that it’s usually in those seemingly unimportant times when so many of the qualities God wants to be cultivated in your heart are cultivated.
Don’t despise those periods of downtime, or those periods of transition, or those periods when you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, when you feel like what you’re doing is less than.
My purpose is OUT THERE somewhere.
The third lie we all believe is that our purpose is tied up in something external. We think it’s tied to the job we do, the kind of house we live in, to our marriage, or to our kids. The problem with tying it to external things is they’re always changing.
If you have your purpose tied up in your house, what about when your house burns down like mine did 10 years ago? If you have it tied up in your marriage, what about when that falls apart? If you have it tied up in your kids, what about when your kids go astray?
Then you lose your way because you were tying your purpose to something external. It’s not external. There’s no job, no marriage, no child that’s going to give you meaning and purpose. It’s not fair to place the responsibility there either.
You have to accept that God has already given you all the meaning, and purpose, and value you ever will have. Your job is to become aware of it, to cultivate it, and to live as if that’s all true.
Something magic will happen in your heart, and you will step into what you’ve been squandering! You just have to become aware of it and begin living from there.
I hope you will really begin to live as if that’s all true, because it is. It will change how you show up for yourself. It will change how you show up in your life. It will change how you show up for the people in your life. It will give you so much freedom!
I have a free download available that goes more in depth about your purpose. It’s called the What’s Your Purpose Guide, and you can grab that freebie here!
Stacy Smith says
Are you going to write another book? I really enjoyed your book and would love to read another.