I recently attended a taping of “Oprah’s Life Class” in New York. I definitely had a good time (who doesn’t in NYC?) but I think what struck me the most about the show was the immense hunger I saw in the faces of some of the people in the audience with me. There was great anticipation. I had this sense that many people were there hoping to “get” something that they’d never gotten before. As skeptical as I can be, I have to admit that the energy in the room was palpable…and contagious. And while I believe with my whole heart that an authentic relationship with Jesus was and is what these people were unknowingly yearning for, I certainly didn’t sit smugly in my seat as though I had all the answers. Lord knows I’m acutely aware of the amount of grace and mercy that God has had to extend to me in light of my life-long foolishness. So I approached the show from the “take the meat, spit out the bones” perspective and was able to take home some great nuggets.
But there was this reoccurring theme that kept rubbing me the wrong way: this whole idea of “finding your purpose.” I mean, I get it. So many of us are looking for the answer to…”why am I here?” But I firmly believe that it is not as complicated as we have made it out to be.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I don’t think God is as hung up on the idea of “purpose” as we are. We waste so much time searching for the elusive purpose of our lives when in all actuality, it is embedded in our DNA. It is inherent to who we are as His creation.
We are designed to glorify God. Period. Adam was created in the image of God to make the world beautiful; to be a reflection of who He is: Love Unspeakable. Jesus came to restore us back to who we were before the fall; before we were convinced that our own finite wisdom was somehow better than all the wonderfulness that God had already given us. Instead of trying to “find” our purpose (which lately seems to be an excuse to do nothing), a more effective use of our time would be to uncover and dismantle the obstacles in our lives that have hindered our gifts, skills, and talents from being illuminated to us. Once we’ve done that, we can then simply exalt/reveal Him through those very things to those we are called to serve.
I can hear you talking back to your computer screen right now. “It can’t be that simple, Tracey.”
I think it is. And I think if we can accept that our purpose is not riddled with complexity, that it really doesn’t require a hundred blogs, a thousand books, a million workshops or—gasp!—Oprah to figure out, then we would actually spend more time being great rather than wanting to be great.
So here’s the only “how-to” I think we really need:
1) Dig up your junk; the stuff that blocks you. YOURS, not anyone else’s. Get out of your OWN way.
2) Now that you can see clearly, identify your passions, gifts, talents and/or skills. They’ve probably already peeked through your mess a time or two so don’t be surprised if what you find feels familiar
3) Do those things well
4) Find ways to serve/love people through said things
5) God will get the glory (he doesn’t really NEED you to give it to him)
6) Repeat until you die.
7) The end.