Updated: Jul 2
by Sarah Reinertsen
Our culture is all about self-help. It’s all about finding yourself and finding your passion.
It tells you to love yourself as you are, yet also urges you to never stop bettering yourself.
It teaches us to rely heavily on our own efforts and promises us seemingly marvelous
rewards if only we can meet its standards. Whether through school, social media, or even
our own friends and family, we’re constantly being pushed to chase and discover our
purpose. And while I don’t think there’s inherent harm in wanting to do this, I do think it
can easily lead one to harbor an unhealthy, incorrect mindset regarding our ultimate
outlook of fulfilling God’s purpose for our life.
When it comes to understanding our true purpose, we can often be mislead as to what it
actually is. People use this term so frequently; it nowadays seems to be equated with
words such as, “goal”, “ambition”, or “dream”. Put another way, we tend to view our
purpose as something we do, not necessarily something we are. What we study, what
career path we choose, what friend groups we’re a part of, what things we work for all
display and reveal our purpose in life. Or do they?
By God’s definition, purpose is very different. It practically has nothing to do with our
actions, intellect, or abilities and rather has everything to do with where we find our life.
From the very beginning, God created us to be vessels, expressers, and image bearers.
And what is it that we were designed to display? The life of His Son, Jesus Christ. His
life is our fulfillment. His life is our purpose. By definition, we cannot live out or conjure
up His life on our own because it’s not our life! It’s Christ’s life in us, given to us. We
don’t achieve it through hard work, we don’t earn a college degree in it, and we don’t
choose a career path around it. We simply exist while He does the living and thus brings
about our ultimate purpose through us.
Knowing this brings freedom and beauty. Freedom to choose any career path, or hop
from this to that, and not worry if it will be the “right” choice in God’s will for us. His
will is for us to live from Him, express Him, and be conformed more and more to His
image. Beauty is found in realizing you are His expression in any situation, any
occupation, any social status, any university-- anything you may choose to pursue will
not affect or change the purpose God has already given you. Your purpose goes with you.
You don’t need to chase it or hunt it down.
Have you ever equated your purpose to what you’re doing or what you’re studying? I
know I certainly have. And I’ve felt the pressure to choose the correct paths to walk so as
to stay in line with God’s will for my life. But this, my friend, is such a lie! Being in
Christ means you can never be out of God’s will for you! Jesus goes with you and His
Holy Spirit dwells in you no matter where life takes you or what path you may find
yourself on. God also causes all things to work together for good, meaning every choice
you make will still result in His glory and your growth. I don’t know about you, but
understanding this has defeated the anxiety that would attack me when it came to making
decisions and always wanting to discover God’s purpose for me. His purpose has always
been in and with me.
Although it goes against the status quo of our culture, I challenge you to stop chasing,
working for, or frantically trying to study your way into living a purposeful life, and
simply stop and breathe for a second. Right now, in this moment you’re living out your
purpose. The purpose God designed you for. You are an image bearer of Christ. A vessel
containing His life and a holy, righteous saint who has been transformed from the inside
out. Christ in you means you constantly gush and ooze with purpose. Whether you’re a
stay-at-home mom, or maybe a nurse or doctor working crazy hours, or a business owner
or even a fast-food employee, whatever it is you do, has no impact on the powerful
purpose of Christ’s life in you. And it is His life that gives you your true purpose.
To put it simply: your purpose and your value are not at all found in what you do.
They’re found in Who you express, and in Whose image you bear. And once you realize
this, you’re then free to chase any dream or any ambition you have, knowing regardless
that your purpose is fulfilled through Him living and you expressing. We should stop
trying to find something we already have, and we should start living out of it rather than
looking for it. Christ in you. That is your purpose. He will be in you regardless of the
circumstances of your life, and He will bring about His beautiful purpose for you through
every choice, every trial, every mistake, and every season you walk through.