A friend of mine came to visit me this weekend. She had been away in Australia for six months. I remember when she left, she had said that she felt lost and was looking for direction and purpose, hoping to find both on this trip to Australia. The trip was with an organization called YWAM, which first trained their students in the Word of God, and then sent them out to do an outreach in another country.
This friend of mine experienced six months of joy, growth, faith, discipleship, and found what she was looking for—direction and purpose. Hearing all that she had learned, I was excited to do the same.
Often times I think that if I am busy and working towards something, that I have direction and purpose. For example, as a college student, I’m working toward a degree. That’s a direction, right? Or as a nanny, I’m working toward making the children I watch feel loved and taken care of, wouldn’t that be purpose? Or an athlete playing a sport, working to become better with each practice and game, wouldn’t that have direction and purpose?
I think life is so much more than that, though.
Sure, working toward a degree, holding a part-time job, participating on a team, or whatever it is that we are busy with has a purpose, but what if the purpose goes beyond what we can see? What if it is all part of a bigger picture, woven together to fulfill an even greater purpose?
Finding myself constantly busy, juggling multiple things at once, and at times feeling as though I am drowning in my commitments, my friend challenged me to take some time to focus on what was truly important—my relationship with God. Imagine if what I claim to be the driving force of my life—my faith—became my top priority? What if I gave as much of my time to God as I do to my classes, jobs, or extracurricular activities? It’s funny that what I tell others is the most important part of my life, doesn’t take up much of my time. Sure, I go to church on Sunday, I acknowledge that God is at work in my life, that He has a plan, and that I hope to follow that plan, but am I? Am I using the things that God has put in my life to further His Kingdom?
That, I believe, would give my “business” purpose. All the chaos brought down to one simple purpose: to please God.
But how do I do that? What it comes down to is making God first and then I truly believe that He will take part in all of the other parts of my life. Now, I know this is easier said than done, but I’m determined. Does this mean spending an hour each morning with Him? Or listening to worship music on my way to work? Or even writing down all of my commitments and consciously thinking about how I can use each of them to glorify God?
I believe that putting God first looks differently for each of us. For me, it’s involving Him in everything that I do, considering how I can use what God is doing in my life to glorify Him, how He is teaching me and molding me into the person He intends for me to be. My life has direction and purpose when I realize that God is orchestrating each and everything I do for a reason. God is good because He can use any situation to grow us, if we let Him. Whatever stage of life, environment, group of people, or job we’re in, God is using it all, but we have to see it all through God’s perspective. He wants to be a part of it all, have a relationship with us, and bless us through our involvements.
So when I allow God to be a part of everything, and acknowledge His presence and involvement, that’s when I start to surrender. Giving my life to God isn’t easy, but it’s how we truly find direction and purpose.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must take up his cross daily and follow me.” –John 9:23
Whether you’re ready or not, it’s about surrendering the “little things,” and with time, you’ll be able to do the same with the “big things.” It’s a process, we don’t learn to involve God immediately. I encourage you, though, to work at it with me. You aren’t alone.