Why Are You Here: God’s Will
We’re closing in on the end of the series called “Why Are You Here” that is focused on helping you to find your purpose in life. Today’s article is focused on trying to discern God’s will in your endeavor. I think this is the one that I’m most nervous about writing. I’m not sure why. Maybe I feel like readers may reject the premise, or maybe I don’t feel like I can adequately communicate the concept. I really don’t know, but what I do know is that it’s crucially important. So, with that as an introduction, let’s find out why I feel that way.
First, you have your lists out right? On one side you have your passions and on the other you have your talents. At the end of the last article I mentioned that you should eliminate any items from the passion list that you don’t see on your list of talents. You should also notate any talents that you don’t have a clear passion for. We’re trying to narrow down this field to help you focus in on options that you love and that you can be great at.
The next step is in your hands. This is the magic part that you and only you can accomplish. You need to begin pairing up your passions and your talents into combined opportunities. For example, if you love working with your hands and you have a talent for art then there are a lot of potential mixes like sculpting, painting, etc. that might be a good fit. The same person might also have a passion for music. They are still good with their hands; maybe they could be a guitarist or pianist. Someone else might have a talent for organizing things and a passion for helping people. This person may find their joy helping to structure/organize charity events. If the same person has a talent in math then they might make a wonderful accountant. Your list is a playground. You should take as much time as you want and combine passions with talents. Don’t be shy about it. If you can think of a job that combines multiple passions with multiple talents then you might really be on the right track!
Once you’ve developed this list it’s time to hit the filter of God’s will.
Ok, Jonathan, you’ve mentioned God’s will more times that I want to count. What’s the big deal? Our purpose is our purpose right? How does God’s will make a different?
Here’s the point. You can find your general purpose on your own. You can grow wildly successful and rich on your own. But if you want live a life of purpose, if you want to experience true joy and be fulfilled the way that men and women are supposed to be fulfilled then you have to understand what God’s will is in your life. We’re surrounded by examples of successful people who are empty inside. Every profession is littered with them. Yet, there are other people who may not have all of the money in the world. But they are fulfilled, because they have a passion for what they do, they are good at what they do and they know that they are doing what God would want them to do.
If something is that important then it must be hard to figure out right? It depends on your perspective. It would be very hard to discern God’s specific will for your life. First you would have to have a vast and deep understanding of the scriptures along with a rich prayer life and constant communication with the Holy Spirit. If you are already there, then you’re amazing, you’re better than I am by a long shot.
I’m not telling you have to be Mother Theresa here. We don’t need to know God’s specific will. We need God’s overarching will to help us spin our opportunities into the kinds of things that are fulfilling and blessed. With that little tweak, we can turn a good idea into a blessed idea.
Matthew 22:37-40 says this, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
For the purpose of this article I’m going to leave the first part of this alone. You already know how I feel about the importance of salvation and of following Jesus. It’s the second part that should grab your attention. Equally important is loving your neighbor as yourself. Let’s look at another verse that puts things into perspective.
Matthew 5:23-24 says this, “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”
What is God’s will? God’s will is that we live a life focused on loving other people and treating them well. It is so important that clearing up problems in your relationships is more important to your soul than giving an offering. How many churches will you hear that from!
We live in a fallen world, this is true but we don’t have to make it worse. Businesses today are focused on themselves. Even businesses that believe in being a friend of the community are usually doing it because it makes sense from a marketing perspective. People are the same way. We are greedy. We think about ourselves first. And that may be giving us too much credit. The correct statement is that most of the time we only think of ourselves. That’s not the life that we are supposed to live. We are supposed to care about each other.
Can you imagine living in a world where people made it a point to be good to their fellow man? It starts with you. Do you want to live a life of meaning? One that’s full of purpose? Do you want to find God’s will for your life? Then stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on other people!
John 15:12-13 says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” God’s will for our lives is as clear as day. He put Jesus here as an example. What did Jesus do? He laid his life down; he sacrificed his life for the good of his fellow men. What does God want you to do with your life? He wants you to lay it down for your fellow man.
I’m not saying you have to die. You’re going to do that anyway. Jesus was called to die for his fellow man. You are called to LIVE for your fellow man.
Whooo, I’m fired up now, I can barely hold it in!
Fine Jonathan, that’s a nice philosophy, but what does it have to do with my lists? How do I apply it?
I have a feeling that you don’t even need me to tell you. Remember where we started? We were pairing up our passions and talents and coming up with jobs and careers that took advantage of both of them. Step three is simple. Figure out how you can spin your opportunities to the benefit of all men. That’s the trick. Do something you love, Do something you’re good at, and do something that benefits others. If you do these three things then you will look back at the end of your life and be proud of a life worth living.
Would you like a personal example? You’re looking at it. One of my strongest passions is the desire to teach/develop people. One of my talents is writing/communicating. How am I using it to help people? I’m sacrificing my personal time, my precious time away from work to write these blogs for the benefit of anyone who happens to read them.
But that’s not a career!
Do you think that you’ll be instantly successful the moment you identify your purpose? Success comes after hard work, not before it. This is where I can start that immediately impacts my friends’ lives. From here, who knows? Maybe I’ll write books; maybe I’ll go on speaking tours. On the other hand, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll never get past this point. That’s ok too! I would count it a success! What if I was able to touch 3 individual lives with my writing through this blog and help them turn around an attitude or change the way they think. Significantly helping 3 people in a lifetime is more than most people will ever be able to boast of. And 3 people are never just 3 people. 3 people will have 5 kids, who have 10 friends, who will have 20 kids and so on down the line. When you make a difference in someone’s life you are starting a positive chain reaction that will echo in eternity.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you have to do something extra to get started down the right path. Maybe you need to volunteer time away from work to learn something or get a foot in the door. Then again, maybe not. Maybe you’re already halfway there. Maybe you’re in the right industry and you just need to shift your focus. The choice is yours. The power is in your hands. A life of purpose and meaning is beckoning you. Will it be easier than what you do today? Probably. When you do something you have a love and talent for it almost always seems easier than other work. Will it be easy? No, not on your life. This isn’t about making your life easy. It’s about making your life important.
Take this opportunity, pray about it, figure out what you are meant to do. Most importantly, get started. You might not get it right on your first try, but you’ll grow and move in the right direction. It might take as many as 5 or 6 different things before you find the right one for you. That’s perfect, as long as you are growing and developing within each then you are right on track.
Portrait of Mother Theresa found here