— Kay Taiwo
How to Identify Your Purpose
First of all, establish that only God determines your purpose. Therefore, purpose is not self determined like is often thought by many and peddled in motivational circles. Nonetheless, some of these precepts do intersect at some levels with what you may have heard before.
In any given situation, what you are determines what you see; what you see determines what you do.
— Haddon Robinson, Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 1.
See: Mt 14:29-30; Ge 19:26; Pr 11:3
A vision is the dominant factor that governs your life.
It determines all the choices you are making.
It’s what’s left after all the layers are peeled away like an onion.
Clinging like glue to the inside of your rib cage…
It’s what your mind naturally gravitates toward when it is not legitimately concentrating on something else.
It’s … what determines your friendships and your relationships that you are cultivating …
It’s what your prayers are about–what you dream about and are giving money toward.
— Phil Grant, Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 3.
See: Ps 43:5; Jn 3:14-15; Ac 7:55.
If these statements above are true, then don’t you think we ought to know what our purpose in life is?
Sobering as it may appear, many people including believers, are cruising aimlessly down this road we call life. The problem is, they seem to be cruising through the roughs and rigors of life—purposeless, meaningless, and without a definite destination.
If you don’t know where the journey ends how do you know when you get there?
This problem seems to be further compounded by the religious establishment—an establishment that has struggled to give clear answers to perplexing questions. We have been taught to pray for God’s will—to make sure that we are in the center of the center of the will of God. Fine rhetoric, but little practical application! Hence, for the average christian struggling continues. The struggle to determine your purpose is a depressing struggle; believe me, it can be seen on the countenances of those who do.
In our first book, Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within: Answering the Question of Identity*, we highlight six (6) questions that govern our lives on a daily basis. They are:
- The Question WHY?: Deals with my God-given PURPOSE.
- The Question WHEN?: Deals with TIMING.
- The Question HOW?: Deals with STRATEGY.
- The Question WHERE?: Deals with ORIGIN and DESTINY.
While the questions 5 & 6 The Questions WHAT and WHO?: Deal with IDENTITY.
I submit to you: these are the areas where most people struggle in their lives. For many, the questions above remain questions that will never find answers in a lifetime. This is a tragedy that can and should be avoided. It ought not to be so. May your life prove different in Jesus’ name!
I would like to highlight 3 main ways you can identify your purpose.
(1) By Calling:
This is when God unfolds to you what He wants you to do for NOW or for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I APPOINTED you as a prophet to the nations.”
Explanation: Every man or woman called by God is appointed by God, and not by man. It is God who gives the assignment.
Examples: He called (1) Moses (2) Abraham (3) Gideon (4) Peter (5) Paul etc.
NOTE: The delivery of a call to a ministry assignment is absolutely independent of you, but 100% dependent on God. However, fulfilling your assignment depends absolutely on your choice.
(2) By Search:
The Bible highlights those who had their callings revealed to them, but the vast majority of people will not know their purpose by a divine delivered assignment. So what do they do?
There is a New Testament scripture that gives a guarantee to this perplexing question.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
You discover by search and research. If you’ve searched for something you desperately need, you search and then research. Don’t stop at a search, don’t stop at an ‘attempt.’ You stop only after you have discovered what you started out searching for.
POWERFUL: Matthew 25:14-30 highlights 3 men who were given talents. Two of them traded with their talents and the 3rd man hid his. By burying his talent he failed to make a discovery of the inherent gifts he already possessed.
- Start by writing down what your gifts are.
- What are your core values? (you will be amazed at how much you will discover from what you value in your life. Mother Theresa valued the poor. She discovered her passion!)
- Read healthy books that sharpen your ability to recognize your dominant gifts.
- Seek the face of God.
(3) By Pursuit of a natural inclination:
Some people are already in the will of God and they don’t even know it. What are the “natural” gifts, talents or abilities you possess? What problems are you most passionately intolerant about? For Martin Luther King Jr. it was civil rights, for Thomas Edison it was innovation, for Albert Einstein it was genius, for YOU it is….?
What is that something you feel you must solve before you exit this planet?
Could that be clue to your God-given purpose?
The proof of desire is pursuit!
If you really desire something, the evidence will show.
Psalm 37: 4
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the DESIRES of thine heart.”
Especially true to academic or professional areas.
It involves the desire to make an impact in a specific area.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson has been involved in some of the most risky surgeries known to medical science. He continues to bring joy to families because he pursued something he loves.
NOTE: Whether you discover your God-given purpose by: Calling, Search or a Natural inclination, each way is equally effective. Each way when pursued to its desired end will produce a fulfillment in life and in the kingdom.
*Excerpt from Kay and Olu Taiwo's book, Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within: Answering the Question of Identity click here.