Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from? These are some of the biggest questions in life, and our answers to them have a significant impact on how we live
In the Purpose Quest Introduction, I shared about a season when my purpose felt as foggy as pea soup. What came out of that season is what I call The Purpose Roadmap. The Purpose Roadmap is a virtual coaching program that helps you move from constant searching to confident living when it comes to your purpose. It does so by guiding you through ten questions to help you discover/clarify, craft a written purpose statement, and determine your next steps.
I want to begin by defining purpose.
Purpose – the reasons for which you exist or were created.
Along the way, I discovered 10 questions to help you discover or clarify your purposes.
MACRO vs. Micro Questions
There are what I call “MACRO” or BIG PICTURE questions that have the same answers for everyone and “micro” questions that vary according to each individual: Here’s how I define them.
- “MACRO” Purpose is not God’s will and purpose for you but rather His Will and Purpose period. I call them “BIG W” and “BIG P”. These are determined by BIG PICTURE questions dealing with who God is, who you are in relation to Him, and His Will and Purpose for all believers.
- Your “micro” purpose is God’s will and purpose for you. I call them “little w” and “little p”. These have to do with your spiritual gifts as well as your natural gifts, talents, strengths/abilities, and passions. Your micro purpose also involves your unique make-up and finding out who you were created to be and what you were created do.
Let’s start with MACRO Question #1.
Your Purpose Flows from Your Identity
We all draw our sense of identity from someone and somewhere – parents, family, friends, upbringing, and experiences to name a few, but ultimately, your real identity comes from the One who created you, and this is also where your purpose begins.
Purpose begins with a sense of identity.
There is a big push these days to “know yourself”. I’m not knocking that. It is important to know yourself, but finding your purpose doesn’t begin with you; it begins outside of you.
You can’t truly and fully know yourself apart from knowing God, the Creator.
Why does an adopted child often want to know who her birth parents are? Because we all want to know who and where we came from.
God doesn’t hide things so you can’t find them. God hides things in order for them to be found – including your purpose! He isn’t necessarily trying to hide Himself or your purpose. He loves the seeking and searching. He loves the process. He loves revealing Himself and your purpose along the way.
“It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.” (1)
After all, life is a journey, not a destination. Life is about the person you are becoming.
Dealing with Your Daddy Issues…
Knowing yourself begins with knowing God as Father. Jesus clearly understood His purpose because knew whose He was and where He came from. The prayer He taught us to pray reveals that much. You probably know it as the Lord’s Prayer. Pay carefl attention how it begins, “Our Father who is in heaven…”
God is many things, but there is one that stands out above the rest.
He is Father.
Both fathers and mothers are vital in a child’s life, and to be clear, both male and female came from God so within God the father is the attributes of both father and mother. That being said, He is Father, and fathers bring definition. They speak identity over us. All words have power, but a Father’s words carry defining power – for good or bad. Thankfully, God is good, and everything He says and does is good.
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father,” (see James 1:17)
For some, the idea of a perfect heavenly Father is a difficult one. We all have “Daddy issues” and because we tend to view God through the lens of our earthly father or authority figures, it skews how we see God. If you had a bad example, it can feel nearly impossible to relate to God as a good and perfect Father, but if you are going to resolve your identity issues and find your purpose, it all starts here.
God Is Crazy About You!
God loves you with intense passion and unwavering commitment. His love is unconditional. You didn’t do anything to earn it and you can’t do anything to lose it. “It is what it is” as the saying goes. In the Words of Mark Batterson,
God does not love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loves us! (from Play the Man, p. 137)
He loves the whole world, and He loves you, individually regardless of whether or not you love Him back. Before you were even aware of Him, He loved you, and while you were yet a sinner, Christ died for you. That’s the truth. God wants to be your Father, but it’s not enough to know Christ loves you. You must acknowledge and receive that love. In doing so, He becomes your Father and you become His child.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (see John 1:12)
God Is Proud of You
Many years ago, while sitting under a star-strewn sky in Western New York, God began to show me who He is. I was 22 years old at the time and a volunteer youth leader at my church. The night before all the teens arrived for summer camp, a few of us sat under a starry sky to pray together when out of the blue these words flooded into my soul:
“I’m proud of you, son.”
Now for you, that may not be a big deal, but for me, those aren’t words I remember hearing often so it caught me a bit off guard.
You’re proud of me? Why? I said.
Why is any good father proud of his child? It’s not because of what you do, it’s because you are His! You don’t need to do anything to please a good father, but when you do, it’s the icing on the cake! To take it a step further, in Christ, all of our sin has been wiped away, and all of His perfect righteousness has been transferred to our empty account. So, God looks at us through the blood of Christ, which means, He is fully pleased with us – not because of what we’ve done or haven’t done, but because we are His children!
That night began a journey that has marked me for over twenty years; a journey to know God as Father. In fact, to this day, when I pray, I usually refer to Him as Father, Abba, or as of late, my preferred name for Him has been “Papa.”
AW Tozer said this,
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
Since that day, the first thing that comes to mind for me when I think about God is Father. I now believe how we think about God is secondary to how He thinks about us, but the point is well taken. What you think about God comes out of the deep work He has done inside of you.
The Latin term, “Temet Nosce” means “Know Thyself.” Although used throughout history as a calling card to exalt “self,” the profound-yet-hidden-truth of it lies in this: One cannot truly know thyself without knowing God.
There is a strong emphasis these days on self-discovery. Self-discovery is important, but it is to be couched in the deeper knowledge of God. The two must work together.
If God is Creator and Definer, that means you are creatED and definED. True self-knowledge begins with knowing God, but it doesn’t stop there.
We see this in the life of Peter. When Jesus asked him, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Notice what Jesus said then,
Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (Peter means ‘rock’), and on this rock I will build my church.”
This is transformative on so many levels. Jesus’ identity was revealed to Peter, not by flesh and blood, but by the Father. Because Peter was listening to and obeying Jesus, the express image of the Father (see Hebrews 1:3), Peter then had a direct revelation from the Father about who Jesus was. And that revelation defined Peter. We know this because, immediately afterward, Jesus said, “you are Peter.”
Jesus was essentially saying, “Peter, I know who you are. I see you. I made you, and now I’m going to define who you are and what you are all about. Your name is Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church.”
You can’t fully know yourself apart from God, and in God you find out who you really are and what you were meant to do!
Finally, we arrive at question 1 on the Purpose Roadmap.
MACRO Purpose Question #1
To find and fulfill your purpose, you must start with the BIG PICTURE.
MACRO Purpose Question #1: Who is God and who am I in relation to Him? (Who is God according to James 1:17, Matthew 5:48, Psalm 68:5, Ephesians 1:3, John 3:16, and Romans 8:15, Proverbs 3:11-12 and who am I in relation to Him according to Romans 8:16, John 1:12, Psalm 103:13, 1 John 3:1)
Read the scriptures out loud and write down your answers to this question. In fact, why not start a purpose journal?
If you’re not a person of faith, here are some alternate questions that may help you:
Where does my sense of identity and significance come from? What are the experiences that have shaped me? Who are the people who have significantly impacted me?
After you’ve done that, write your answer in a clear and concise statement.
You are one step closer to finding and fulfilling your purpose!
Continue the Series…
- Purpose Quest Intro: When Your Purpose Seems Foggy and Unclear
- Purpose Quest 2: You Are Not a Waste of Space
- Purpose Quest 3: Your Purpose Is Not a Mystery
- Purpose Quest 4: You’ve Found Your Purpose, Now What?
- Purpose Quest 5: Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts
- Purpose Quest 6: Passion Inspires Purpose
- Purpose Quest 7: You Are Great at Something
- Purpose Quest 8: You Are One-of-a-kind. Don’t Waste It!
- Purpose Quest 9: There Is Purpose In Your Pain
- Purpose Quest 10: Finding Your People
(1) Proverbs 25:2
(2) Matthew 6:10 NLT
(3) James 1:17 NLT
(4) John 1:12 NLT
(5) Matthew 16:18 NLT