It’s not about me. This is really the first, but very important step that I made on my journey to finding my purpose. I had to step back and realize that my journey to find my purpose wasn’t about me and my comfort and well-being. I was made for a purpose and the urge to fulfill it is something that never goes away.
For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,…everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. -Colossians 1:16
Usually my first step when I’m trying to find my purpose in life, is to look within myself. That doesn’t work too well most times. It keeps the focus on myself and not on what is important. As Rick Warren says in the first chapter of his book Purpose Driven Life, “We were made by God and for God — and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”
That’s kind of a daunting thought really. Our lives are not our own. We were not put here for our pleasure, for our own well-being, to have an easy life. We were put here for God’s purpose and His alone. If we try and think it’s the other way around, we are doomed to fail.
If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. — Romans 8:6
Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.]
This is a powerful verse and shows us that by focusing on self, that is the way to give in to our sinful nature. The focus on God that is provided through the Holy Spirit leads us to what we’ve all been searching for. This is really quite interesting if you step back and think about it. Why do we begin to search for our purpose in our lives? Mostly because we feel unfulfilled or empty in our current lives. So how do we correct that? By filling ourselves with “stuff”, by searching for that which is missing. We question all that we do, but we usually do it with our eyes focused in-wards on ourselves…about what we can do to correct our paths, or how we can change things to make our lives better.
The Message translation of Romans 8:6-8 sums it up quite well really.
Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
By focusing inwardly on ourselves, we are doing the exact opposite of what will lead to a free life…that which I think we are all looking for.
But all the self-help books, even Christians ones offer internal steps to finding our purpose?
Yes, many self-help books are very successful at helping you reach your dreams, reaching your goals and can often help you be very successful in life. But doing all those things and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not always the same. As Rick states it, “You could reach all your personal goals, become a raving success by the world’s standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you.”
I have a great fear of reaching the end of my days, and reflecting back on a successful life and realizing that I’m still unfulfilled because I missed out on what God had planned for me.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? — Luke 9:25
So how do I do this?
Simple really, ask God. God created you, he knows what your purpose is.
Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. — Ephesians 1:11
God didn’t ask for our input when he set out the plan for our lives. He didn’t consult with us to see if his plans were satisfactory with us. His plan for us predates our conception. But the good news is that God’s plan is good. It may not seem like it time, but He sees the big picture, we have a very narrow view. But we can know for a certainty that is plan is the correct one. His plan was made out of love and faithfulness.
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. — Psalm 115:1
Well if it’s that easy, why haven’t we just done that and been fulfilled? Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit afraid of the answer God will give me. I’m not sure I want to know the answer. I’m know it’s a good purpose, but it doesn’t mean it will be easy for me or for any of us. Perhaps it will mean a large change in my life… or maybe it will mean know change, but acceptance and realization that I’m where I need to be. Both can be frightening but liberating options. I think I’ll go into that further in a future post.
For now, my takeaway from my first day of my journey — It’s not about me, it all starts with God.