Mark Twain has a quote that I absolutely love that says, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” I have to say that I agree with this but with a little addition. I think the day you accept Jesus to be your Lord and Savior is one of the most important days of your life, but I think once you do that, you’re on your way to finding out why you were created….because after all…God created us.
I was born June 24, 1980. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t planned given that my parents were both pretty young and I haven’t really heard any “you were planned” stories. I’m sure a lot of us fit into that category (maybe both on the parent and the child end of an unplanned pregnancy). Our birth may have been an accident but we certainly aren’t. God is THAT amazing!
YOU were created for a unique purpose! I can say that with 100% certainty without even knowing you. I know this because the promises of God say so. Don’t believe me? Check out Proverbs 19:21 which states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” And one of my all time favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you….plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Amen!
If I had a genie in a lamp and were granted those infamous three wishes, I could say without certainty, that I would wish that more people would uncover and live in their God given purpose in life. I’ve been fortunate and blessed to uncover mine (and I still am honestly, but I’m definitely closer than I used to be) and it makes all the difference in the happiness you will experience. But make no mistake, this didn’t happen in a straight line, definitely not overnight, and certainly not without some bumps and bruises along the way (some of those band-aids on those bruises are just now coming off at 40 years old)!
My freshman year of college—1998 and 18 years old—I was ready to take on the world and more than ready to move out of my parent’s house. I decided to major in communications to become a sportscaster. I was an athlete but knew that wouldn’t last past college, and this was a perfect solution to keeping my hands in the sports world. As a matter of fact, I had a very detailed plan. I was going to finish my bachelors degree in four years, go on to graduate school, maybe intern at a news station, finish up my masters, and be on the football field interviewing athletes by my late 20’s or early 30’s. Marriage would happen in my mid 20’s, a few years later I’d have my first child, put him or her in daycare, have about 2 or 3 more children every few years, and live happily ever after. (Can you tell I’m a planner?) Your plan may not sound exactly like mine but I’m willing to guess once upon a time, you had a detailed plan. And if you’re younger, like one of my students or mentees, you are drawing out the details of your plan as we speak.
Can I ask you a question? Have you or did you include God in your plan? Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky. I know plenty of people who have included Him, including myself, and life still didn’t quite turn out the way they (or I hoped). But here’s what I learned. As much as I thought I was including God in my plans, if I was having a very honest moment with myself, I only included him half-heartedly. God wants to be included in EVERYTHING. ALL…THE…WAY. Not in just the things WE think He should be involved. Sometimes those prayers go a little like this…“God, please help me find a job, but please stay out of my relationship.” Or how about, “God please help me find a man/woman but I got this job thing…especially since they’re paying me six figures!” Sound familiar? Maybe that’s not exactly how we say it, but that’s often what we mean.
Life happens, right? And it often throws things at us we don’t expect. We also make choices that we never thought we would or that were not part of our plan (I know you’ve been there….I sure have). So what happened to that very detailed plan of mine? Well let’s just say it’s nowhere to be found. What actually happened was I did 2 years of college, got married 2 weeks after my 20th birthday, moved across the country to a school I THOUGHT I wanted to go to…didn’t like it…stopped going….started working full time at a bank, and this was my job for the next five or so years of my life. At the time, my now ex-husband (more on that in another blog) and I thought the next logical thing to do was to start a family. Five years of infertility, which included 2 failed rounds of in-vitro (definitely more on that in another blog), delayed that plan drastically. Life was definitely not looking like the plan I so diligently put together, so my purpose was a complete afterthought. In 2005, I was able to conceive and in January of 2006, I gave birth to my babygirl, Jadyn. I became a stay at home mom for the next ten years (while finishing up my bachelors and going on to start and finish my masters). I went back to work in January of 2016, and in March of 2016, my marriage ended. Definitely not the plan I had.
Now let me pause here and say something hopefully very significant….are you ready? Your purpose can change in different seasons of life and just because you may not be living in your purpose at a certain time, it doesn’t mean it’s not part of God’s plan. Let me explain.
Being Jadyn’s mom is without a doubt a purpose in my life. If you have the blessing of having children, I believe that there is always significance and purpose in being a parent. But for reasons only known to God, which I have had to work to accept, it wasn’t my purpose to have several children. I truly believe that my purpose did however include being a stay at home mom, because now, as a single, full-time working mom, that foundation created a bond in me and my daughter that carried us through one of the most difficult storms of our life (more on that later).
Here’s what I’m getting at with all of this….How often do we really dig deeply into why and what God created us for? How often do we call on the Creator to confirm why He created us? Do we really give Him complete control over that area of our life, or do we feel safer going at it alone? Too often, I run across people who are working in a job that is not their purpose. This unhappiness often seeps into many other areas of life. One of my favorite parts of my job teaching at a university is that I get to have a front row seat to so many young adults in the season of life when they’re so excited to get started in a career. I often wonder how many of them actually include God in the decision making process that will ultimately lead them to living out their purpose. However, I teach at a public university so I respect the line of not imparting my beliefs on to them. But I do take every opportunity to let them know we all have a purpose and once you figure out what that is, life just opens up.
The unique and special purpose we have on earth is the space we can occupy that will allow us to experience all that God has promised to us. Asking God why and what He created us for is not a selfish prayer. In fact, God wants nothing more than to see us living in the purpose He created us for. Yet so many of us go in a completely different direction than the way we were intended to go. The result? Unfulfillment and unhappiness.
What is it that you can see yourself doing regardless of how much you get paid? What is it that you think about that truly doesn’t feel like it would be considered “work.” What are you passionate about? If you don’t know…that’s ok. Ask God to reveal it to you. Did you go down a path because someone else thought this was a good path for you? Did you end up working a job just because you had to take the first thing available? I get it and you’re not alone. I encourage you to start dreaming big. I encourage you to start inviting God into this area of your life. He WILL open doors! Here’s the catch though….understand that this may not be an easy process. You may have to be willing to endure and sacrifice a bit in order to get where you’re going. But the most awesome thing is seeing how God works everything out for our good (read Romans 8:28). That’s a promise He makes us.
No matter what detours you have made, no matter how far off you feel like you are from living out your God-given purpose, it’s never too late. Start including this in your daily prayers. I guarantee He will answer you. Remind yourself everyday that you ARE created for a purpose and watch God work!
God Bless You!