“What is the meaning of life?” It’s a common cliché, vague enough to open up a handful of questions. But seriously, what are we doing here anyway?
As believers, we are called to find the balance between living in the world, but not of the world. This is not an easy task. We cannot hide in fear from the world around us, but we also shouldn’t live with our roots planted here on earth.
Finding this balance includes the realization of our ultimate purpose. However, there can be a lot of confusion surrounding finding your purpose and discerning your “calling.”
As we seek God’s calling and purpose for our lives, take note of these three myths that can hinder your scope of God’s will.
1. Finding your ‘niche’ will fulfill you.
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make in their life is believing that something on this earth will ever truly and totally fulfill them. Put simply, only God alone can make you feel whole and purposeful. He asks us to seek Him always and trust that the rest will naturally fall into place. We were not created for this world—in fact, Jesus promises us that “in this world, you will have trouble” (John 16:33)—and, as a result, no matter how clearly we see our calling and niche, we will still have struggles. Our hearts should be constantly seeking a greater purpose than even our personal calling—the Kingdom of heaven.
2. There’s one specific calling on your life.
Sometimes, we can fall into the misconception that there is only one answer to what our calling in life should be. Don’t limit God’s creativity and guidance, even when it surprises you or isn’t what you originally thought was your calling. If you are struggling to make decisions out of fear that you’ll miss your calling, it’s time to step back and understand the bigger picture. The type of work is not even slightly as important as the purpose of it. The path is not as important as the destination. The best job or calling we can have is steadily working hard for the day-to-day responsibilities and opportunities God gives you.
3. Your calling is always a vocation.
In today’s hectic, business-centered world it becomes easy to fall into the mold of following a formal career until retirement. The “American dream” has become a goal for most people, many of which hope it will somehow fulfill their ultimate purpose in life. While working hard and hoping for success is not necessarily harmful, don’t let it become the end-all-be-all of your existence. This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to work hard and excel in your workplace; in fact, we are called to be excellent and take joy in our work! But prepare to follow whichever path God provides for your life, whether that looks like the American dream or like a missional journey across the globe.
4. It’s always a “burning bush” moment.
Often, usually when we are “stuck in a rut,” our minds wander to the prospect of the future and count on one specific turning point changing our entire lives. The misconception here is that personal change has to happen instantly. However, that’s usually not the case. Personal change and discerning your calling is more often than not a slow and steady process of chiseling away the person you were into the person God wants you to become.
If you are relying on a future “burning bush” moment to magically provide direction for your life, you may end up waiting for something that will never happen. We do at times experience significant events that influence our lives very quickly, but these are a mere scratch mark on the ultimate timeline of our life on earth.
Your identity and calling is formed as a result of a lifetime of obeying God, successes and failures, miracles and tragedies. Personal change and knowing your purpose begins the second you decide to run full-speed toward the path God lays out for you day by day.
How can you dispel some of the misconceptions you’ve been told about finding your purpose?