At some point, we’ve all been plagued by the question, “What are you going to do with your life?” It’s a big question, and it’s one that doesn’t always have a clear-cut answer—though we often wish it did. This idea of purpose is something we wrestle with our whole lives. From the time you’re a kid, it seems like everyone wants to know what your life plan is, what your calling is, or even just what your next step is. And when you don’t have an answer, you start feeling a little lost.
Somewhere along the way, many of us start to believe a lie that purpose is out there waiting to find us. We also tend to believe that purpose is about what we do instead of about who we are—which often leads to disappointment when the job we have isn’t the job we want or the one we feel called to.
So what is purpose?
Purpose isn’t out there waiting to find you. God already gave it to you. God created you in His image with good works for you to do and spiritual gifts to use (see Ephesians 2:10 and Romans 12:4-8). And these gifts aren’t for our glory but for God’s glory. They aren’t given to us to make us feel better or look better to the world around us. These gifts are given to us so that we can reveal God to the world by humbly using them to serve others around us.
Purpose is less about what we do professionally and more about stepping into the person God created us to be.
Purpose isn’t about pursuing your passion or finding a dream job. Purpose is about seeking God and making Him known in the world around us. Jesus gave all of us—His followers—purpose when He laid out the Great Commission. And what is that purpose? To go out into the world and make disciples.
How do we do that? By loving God and loving others (see Matthew 22:34-40). By sharing our stories of how God has intervened in our lives. By doing whatever job we do with excellence, knowing that we are doing it for God—not for human praise.
No job can ever truly fulfill our deep desire to make a difference in the world or to find meaning in our days. Only Jesus can fulfill that. So if you’re stuck in a situation where you don’t know what’s next, and you feel like you’re lost, fix your eyes on Jesus.
Ask God to reveal the next right step to you. There’s no one right answer. When you realize your purpose is to love God and love others, you realize the freedom in that. You can do those things wherever you are. So trust God. Do the next right thing. And do something, knowing that following Jesus gives us the best purpose we could ever dream of or imagine.
And P.S.—still looking for answers on purpose and your calling? Check out some conversations on the newest Life.Church podcast, You’ve Heard It Said, for more insight.