“I wish God would just send me an e-mail, with direct instructions as to what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.” This is what one of my friends said to me in matric when all of my classmates and I were worrying and dreaming about the future. Growing up, I was convinced that I was going to be an actress. After leaving high-school, I tried to apply to a few film schools overseas. Over and over again, I was disappointed. There were issues with finances and citizenship…the list felt endless.
Eventually, I gave up and started studying English and Classics at the University of Cape Town. It was disappointing and frustrating to carry a dream in my heart for so long, only to realise that it wasn’t going to happen. I got to a point where I began to feel purposeless.
Over the next three years at university, God began to work in my heart. Not necessarily giving me new dreams, but slowly revealing ones that had been lying dormant in me for years. Not only were my goals transformed, but who I was changed too. I no longer wanted the same things and what I valued in life shifted. Likewise, I began to understand that purpose and career are two different spheres. Yes, often they can overlap, but our life-purpose is a much deeper element of who we are than our career will ever be.
If you’re uncertain about what your purpose in life is, then I hope that these three things I’ve learnt along my own journey will help you!
What are you good at?
God has gifted each of us with natural talents and passions and a lot of the time, we just need to look at what we’re good at to see where we’re meant to be heading! I’m an okay actress, not terrible, but not outstanding either.
However, I have always loved to write. English was my best subject at school, I’m still a voracious reader and I ended up doing a degree in Literature. Slowly but surely, I started to see what was right in front of me, the gift that God had given me that I’d been ignoring because I was chasing a pipe-dream. Whether writing ends up being my fulltime job isn’t really the point – I just know that I am called to use this gift to spread God’s love and encourage others. What are you good at? If you’re not sure, ask your friends and your family! Often they can see your gifts more clearly than you can. It can be anything – from being a fantastic parent to a great cook, or even managing finances well.
Whenever I tried to get into acting, there were mountains of obstacles in my way. Nothing was going right and I didn’t feel God’s hand of favour or of blessing over my life.
In Isaiah 22:22 (NLT) we read that:
“When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.”
I believe that we have been created by God for a specific purpose. He has designed you perfectly to accomplish something only you can do. When we try to drive in someone else’s lane or walk in their purpose, God usually shuts that door tightly! But when we begin to walk in what we were created to do, the doors start to swing open! It might not always be easy, but it will feel right and there will be a sense of peace and a hand of favour over your life.
Our Ultimate purpose is Jesus
Earlier I mentioned that purpose and career aren’t that the same thing. You see, our ultimate purpose is to serve God. We were created by Him, for Him. The way in which we do this looks a little different for everyone. For some, it might be working directly for a church, for others it could be being a great mom, or like me, being a writer. Whatever it is, as long as you stick close to Jesus and trust Him, He will reveal it to you step-by-step. Our life is a faith journey because it’s through faith and trust that we grow closer to Him and our character develops.
Life is confusing, it can be chaotic and unfortunately, there isn’t a step-by-step guide on precisely what we should be doing with our lives – but there is a guide on WHO we should live for. I truly believe that if we ground ourselves in the Word of God – the Bible – talk to God daily and plant ourselves in a local church, our lives will unravel the way they are meant to – full of purpose.