Did you know that you were created for a purpose? That God formed you with a plan in mind? Maybe you’ve already figured out what your purpose is. (Then the question becomes, are you living it? That’s a whole different subject.) Many of us are still asking the question, "what am I here for?" And we’re right to think that we are here for something. And guess what, the answer is often closer than we think!
I certainly can’t tell you what your purpose is, but as I’ve been searching for my own , I’ve come across a couple of helpful books that I thought might interest you. First of all, listen to what God told Jeremiah:
"Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose
you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work. I
appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5 – New Century Version)
Those same words, minus "prophet to the nations" (that part is just for Jeremiah), apply to you and me. God wants us to hear the same message: "I chose you… I set you apart… I appointed you…" What did He appoint you for? That’s for you to find out. Your task, and mine, is to fill in the blank: I appointed you as _____________. You haven’t been appointed to the same position as Jeremiah, or Paul, or Peter, or your friend Sally, or your Uncle Jim. You have been appointed to your own unique — and very important — position!
So how do we fill in that blank? I believe it’s a combination of self examination, talking and listening to God, and talking to wise counselors/friends. For added insight on the journey, I’ve been reading a couple of books on the subject of discovering your strengths and your purpose in life that I’ve found helpful. One is by Max Lucado, titled Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot. The other is by Marcus Buckingham, titled Go Put Your Strengths to Work. Max’s book is from an explicitly Christian perspective and relates to life at large, while Marcus’ book focuses primarily on finding fulfillment at work (where most of us spend most of our time).
Both books direct us to look at ourselves to help us see what we are created to do and to be. Short of hearing directly from God as Jeremiah did (which may happen), examining ourselves allows us to see how God equipped us — our talents, desires, likes, dislikes — which can provide a very big hint toward what he has appointed us to be. Max Lucado puts it this way: if you were to look in a worker’s tool box, you could probably get a good idea for what that person’s profession is. A plumber, for instance, would probably have a pipe wrench, plumber’s putty, and such. You most likely wouldn’t confuse his tool box with that of a tennis coach.
If we look at the "tool box" God has equipped us with, over time, we can can zero in on what we are and what we are not. It’s not always (if ever) an easy process, but the payoff is huge: we find peace, fulfillment and happiness; God’s kingdom is stronger; and He gets all the glory!