But as I approached the end of high school and was being bombarded with questions about what step I’d take next, whether I’d go to college or get a job, whether I’d live at home with my parents or get my own place, and having no idea what that step would be, all that came to mind was I don’t know.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what step I should take. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my life.
We can feel a lot of pressure to discover our purpose and to find our calling. And when we don’t know what direction to take, when we’re not seeing a purpose to pursue or hearing a calling to carry out, that can be hard on us.
When I was getting all those questions as graduation came closer and closer, every time I answered with “I don’t know,” I felt like I had somehow failed. And every time another birthday passed and my dreams went unfulfilled, I felt like I had somehow failed. And as I’ve stayed living with my parents into my adult years when I “should” be independent and on my own, I can feel like I’ve somehow failed. And when by now I “should” have a clear path or career plan to follow, but don’t, I can feel like I’ve somehow failed.
Because I haven’t always known what to pursue or what direction to go, I can sometimes fear I’m going to take the wrong step and miss out on my purpose and just fail at life.
Do you ever feel the pressure to know your purpose and find your calling? Do you ever wonder in your heart if you might be failing?
We want to know our purpose because God made each one of us purposefully and for a purpose.
When we look back to the beginning, when God created the very first woman, we can learn much about God’s purpose for us and come to know our calling in Christ:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make human beings in Our Image, to be like Us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.’
“So God created human beings in His own Image. In the Image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
God created human beings in His image. The “Us” and “Our” in these verses is the Trinity - God as Father, Son and Spirit. This truth of God can be hard for us to understand, and we’ll probably never fully comprehend it, at least while we live in a fallen and broken world. For the Trinity is perfect and whole relationship; God the Father, Son, and Spirit living in harmonious and unified communion.
There are many ways in which we are created in God’s image, but the one at the center of them all is that, like God, we too are relational. From this identity of being made in God’s image, we discover our purpose: to have relationship with God, and to have relationship with others as God’s Image-bearers.
In Genesis 1:28, we read God’s first command to people, instructing them how to live as His image-bearers:
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”
Be fruitful. This idea of bearing fruit is not just about having children, but it speaks of displaying God’s character in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of Spirit is named as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We are called to bear the fruit of God’s Spirit. Living in our purpose isn’t so much about what career we pursue, but about following Jesus and bearing fruit.
Our purpose isn’t about success and accomplishments and proving we’re not failures, but about pointing to Jesus, because He has approved and appointed us to bear fruit and bring glory to God.
In Genesis 2, we’re given a bit more detail about God’s creation of woman:
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’
“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:18, 21-22
Suitable is a word full of meaning: appropriate, befitting, becoming, adapted to a use or purpose, satisfying propriety, able, qualified.
God created woman as fitting and ready for a purpose. She was satisfying. She was able and qualified for living the life God had for her. God brings forth woman and He is proud of her. He beams with joy and love over her.
God created you, and through His Spirit in you, He makes you suitable. He has woven in you a unique personality, with specials gifts and passions and dreams in your heart, to experience Him and share Him with others in ways that only you can. He doesn’t look at you as a failure. He looks at you as His beautiful creation, His unique treasure, His lovely and precious daughter, who He has wonderful dreams and plans for.
Living this out looks different in each of our lives, and we may not always know how to do this. But you don’t need to fear missing or failing in your purpose. God is way bigger than any of our confusion or mistakes. You don’t have to have a perfectly laid out plan or know exactly the next steps to take, because God has a plan, and as you seek and follow Jesus as best you can, He will call and guide you in His purpose for you.