I recently listened to a podcast sermon (which I highly recommend you listen to as well!) from National Community Church in Washington DC in which the speaker Joel Schmidgall discussed finding our identity in Christ. I write this post in response to that sermon to share my struggles with my life’s purpose.
I along with the majority of twenty somethings struggle with the constant search for purpose in my life. College students tend to fit one of two categories: those with meticulous plans to fulfill their dreams and those who pursue their purpose without a plan. There’s nothing wrong with being in either of these positions. Nonetheless, at some point in our lives, we’ve all asked ourselves: What am I going to do with my life? What are we meant to do? Is this the right career for me? Both him and his wife Nina spoke so much truth to this problem, but one specific statement stands out in my mind.
I am most like myself when I am like Christ
In other words, you are meant to be Christ like. Genesis says God created us in His image. God put us on this Earth to do His work to bring glory to Him, which is exactly what Jesus did in his time here. Essentially, we act out our true purpose when we act like Christ and do His work. This statement has become incredibly true for me in these past few years.
Six years ago, when I started high school, I had my entire future planned out. I dreamed that in those four years, I would become a star volleyball player and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. I would write my first two books. I would be on the school’s weekly broadcast, be accepted into Northwestern University, and become a broadcast journalist on ABC news.My life completed. Simply as that. I found my identity in Christ as a journalist.
Then, I did not make the volleyball team. I hated being on the school newspaper and quit my sophomore year. I fell into writer’s block before ending my two books. I could not get into the broadcast news class. And Northwestern University rejected me. I was an emotional wreck. I felt like my entire life was crashing down in front of my eyes. I went on a frantic search for my next career move. I spent hours on the computer researching other careers. All I wanted was another plan.
Essentially, none of my plans came true. Why? Was it wrong for me to have a dream? Absolutely not. Dreams give direction to our lives. It’s important to have an aim to our actions. We cannot plan our lives without consulting the one who created them: our Heavenly Father. When choosing a direction for your life, whether it’s a school or a job, pray about your decision. Ask God if that is where He wants you to be. God rightfully destroyed my plans on purpose to reveal His purpose for my life. My plans were self-centered. I wanted to become a broadcast journalist and published author for myself. We should not live for ourselves. According to Ephesians 1:11-12 (NKJV),
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Our identity is in Christ, meaning we are God’s children, heirs to his heavenly kingdom. We live not to glorify and bring praise to Him, not ourselves. I learned several life-changing lessons from this experience:
- Too much planning is a waste of time. We cannot plan to far ahead in our lives, because we do not know what the future holds, but God does. We must trust that God has a good purpose for our lives, a job he chose you specifically to do to glorify him as His child and heir to his kingdom.
- There is no pressure. You do not have to know everything about God’s plan to fulfill it. He’s never going to tell us all that he wants to do in us and through us. He wants us to have faith in Him that he will guide us on a righteous path. When we give our lives to Him, to follow his plan, we need to give it all–especially our futures. We need to let go of our plans and attempts at finding ourselves so we can take our Father’s hand and let Him guide us to exactly where we’re meant to be.
- The world encourages self-sufficiency. God encourages spiritual dependency. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with independence, but we should not become so independent to the point we do not think we need God. You cannot do it all. Only through Him can you do great things, actions that bring glory to Him. He has a purpose for our lives, but he is not asking us to do it alone. Those who give their lives to Him can receive the Holy Spirit to guide them on God’s path.
- God’s plan is the best plan for our lives–an important truth we need to accept. It’s the plan that will bring us the most happiness and fulfillment. In John 4, Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” In doing God’s work, we will never go spiritually hungry.
Following this life lesson, I took a step in His purpose for my life. I became a bible study leader in Chi Alpha campus ministries. He chose me to share God’s word with local students. And I could not be happier. I truly love what I am doing and what God’s doing through me and my community. God’s plan is better than anything I could have ever created myself. This is my testimony, and my story is not my own, but written by God, my story is for someone else. I hope my experience and lessons learned spoke to your situations in some way. I encourage you, if you’re like me searching for your life’s purpose, look no further than the Creator. Take God’s hand, and he will lead you to a greater purpose than you can imagine.