The First Step to Uncovering Your God-Given Purpose
I’ve always loved all things concerning women. From the time I was young, I would immerse myself in fashion magazines and all things fashion and beauty. I was enthralled by the inner and outer beauty we possessed, and as I got older and experienced all the things involved with being a woman -- the heartbreak, low-self esteem, body image, the pressure to please and achieve -- this burden for women developed. I wanted nothing more than to see them develop confidence and live their best life. I didn’t know this at the time, but this burden for women was connected to my purpose. It was the thing that I always came back to. When I dreamt of opening up a non-profit organization, it was for the betterment of women. When I thought about pursuing my doctorate in psychology, it was to open a private practice for women. When I started my blog in undergrad, it was to instill confidence and motivate and inspire women. Notice a theme here?
Although I was and still am a multi-passionate woman, there was always a common thread that tied my passions and interests together. That common thread was my purpose. God revealed my purpose to me when I was in a very quiet and isolated season. It was as though I had a flashback that showed me that all my desires, interests, passions, and education stemmed from my purpose. And whatever common thread that has recurred throughout your life is your purpose.
Unfortunately, so many people go through life never having a chance to uncover their purpose. We’re taught that we have to go out to find our purpose, but the truth is your purpose has always been inside of you. The confusion happens when you try to pursue your purpose in the world. That’s how people’s jobs become their identity because they are seeking their purpose in it. They go pursue a career because they believe that their purpose is tied to it. If they’re blessed to find a job in the field they studied, they remain unfulfilled in search for the one thing that was inside of them all along.
The thing about purpose is that it can’t be found in your passions or career. Passions change and fade and a career or job can come and go as well, but the thing about your passion is that it always will remain; and in order to uncover it, you must go to your Maker. It is He who has formed you with purpose. It is He who holds the blueprint for your life. Psalms 139:13-16 tells us that He was with us when we were made in the secret place and that He knows all the days of our life that are set before us. In the beginning of the chapter, it says that God has searched us, knowing every thought and move that we’re going to take. Then Jeremiah 29:11-13 reaffirms Him as our life architect, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
The problem is that most of the time we are not seeking Him. We’re seeking our own way and our own plans because we’re afraid of the unknown and giving up control. We become our own gods believing that we can do it on our own. That self-idolatry leads us to seek education and “opportunities” that we feel like will make us successful but instead, we end up lost, disappointed, and even farther from the destination where God is trying to lead us.
When I’m teaching on purpose in my coaching sessions, I often share this illustration with clients:
Imagine that you go to IKEA to purchase a chair. You’re so excited and anxious to add this piece to your living room collection. So excited that you bypass the instructions altogether to eagerly put together the chair. It seems simple right? And by the picture, it doesn’t seem necessary to consult the instruction manual. Although you've never put together a chair and you didn’t construct the pieces for it, you can surely figure it out. And so you did. Without reading the instructions, you’ve somehow managed to piece together the chair, and it looks ready to go… or so it seems. So you plop down into the chair to get cozy, and then you realize something -- the chair is rickety. The chair moves back and forth and you know you didn’t purchase a rocking chair. Then a couple days later you noticed that the chair’s arms weren’t attached just right. Then a week later you noticed that the rickety chair was due to you using the wrong screws. So on first appearances, it looked like you knew what you were doing but in reality, you had no clue because you failed to read and follow the instructions.
The worst thing you can do is to leave God out of your plans to find your purpose in the world. That is what the Israelites did when they rebelled against God and of course, God wasn’t pleased. They weren’t following His instructions.
“What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their evil deeds in the dark! ‘The Lord can’t see us,’ they say. ‘He doesn’t know what’s going on!’ How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, ‘He didn’t make me’? Does a jar ever say, ‘The potter who made me is stupid’?” (Isaiah 29:15-16)
“‘What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,’ says the Lord. ‘You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help’...” (Isaiah 30:1-2).
Are you like the Israelites, rebelling against His plan and purpose by seeking it in the world? Are you not even asking or listening for His instructions? God is a gracious and merciful God, so He’s willing to forgive and guide, but there is always grace-filled correction and discipline that awaits those who try to do it on their own. If you’ve been doing it without Him, it’s not too late to repent. It’s not too late to go to your Maker for the plan for your life. That is the first step to uncovering your purpose. You must spend time with God. It is within the secret place that He will reveal His plan to you. He says in Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come."
When I wanted to discover my purpose, the first thing I did was go to God in prayer. I knew that because He was my Creator, He already knew what He created me to do. And I didn’t stop there. I actively waited and listened for His voice by fasting. Fasting is one of the best ways to get clarity and to clearly hear from Him. I wanted to make sure that nothing was distracting me from hearing His purpose for me. During that time while I prayed and fasted, I took the next best steps in what I felt like He was telling me to do. At the time, I had already enrolled in my master’s program, but I had a blog that I had abandoned for two years. He told me to stop making excuses and start blogging again, using the resources He had already given me.
It was during that period of fasting, prayer, and obedient activity that the Lord uncovered my purpose and gave me my next assignment. While I was researching something on the Internet, He quietly whispered, “Look up the word life coaching.” At this point, I had no idea what life coaching was. I heard of it, but I never knew exactly what it was and all it entailed. I started reading the description and tears immediately welled up in my eyes. It comprised every God-given gift, talent, ability, and interest I ever had. In that moment, He revealed to me my purpose. He whispered, “Your purpose is to motivate and inspire people. This is why you’ve always been gifted in these areas. This is why people (women in particular) are always drawn to you. This is why you’ve always felt different. This is why you were interested in psychology in college. I’ve given you all these gifts, skills, and interests for this very thing right here. Your purpose is to motivate and inspire women and for the moment, life coaching is how you will do it. This is your assignment.”
A lightbulb in my head went off that day. A flame had been lit inside my heart and soul. It was like God gave me a flashback of different moments in my life and everything instantly made sense. I am so grateful for that revelation that day because that led to the relaunching of Fearfully Fashioned. It turned from a style blog to the growing coaching business you see today. Because I had spent time with Him to uncover my purpose, God gave me specific instructions to start preparing my heart, mind, and business for what was to come. But I would have never had that revelation if I didn’t spend that time with Him or I had followed what the world or others deemed as “success.”
So if you’re desperate to uncover your purpose like I was, spend time with Him. And I mean true time so you can build your relationship with Him. Don’t be like the Israelites, bringing all these trials and troubles on yourself because you, your parents, or anyone else thought they knew what was best for you. They didn’t create you, God did. My Pastor said something in a sermon that I can’t agree with more, “Parents have wishes, but God has a calling.” So if you’re letting your parents or any person other than God give you instructions on what you’re destined to do, put them back in their place. It is God who holds the blueprint for your life, not anyone else. He has already created the plan, but it’s up to you to ask Him to reveal it. Tend to your relationship with God by spending that quality time with Him, and He will be more than happy to share all the things that He has purposed you to do.
Still struggling to figure out the difference between your passions and your purpose? In the In Pursuit of Purpose Workshop I teach on the differences between identity, passions, purpose, and assignment. Click the button below to buy access to the workshop and download the notes!