Since I have been in college, I have been trying to decide on a major. I believe this is largely because I’ve been confused about my purpose. As a member of an incredible, life-giving church, I’ve heard a message concerning purpose almost weekly for the past three years. At first, the idea was foreign to me – God created me for something specific? I had never heard of that. At the time, I was beginning my sophomore year and had spent the entirety of my freshman year changing my major. Without being fully aware, I was desperate to know what my purpose was – what I was made for.
The concept of “purpose” is something I have struggled with. I have been consumed with questions. What am I called to do? What can I major in that supports my calling? Am I serving in the right area of the church? And what if I had it all wrong? To be honest, much of the uncertainty has stemmed from comparing my path to that of my peers. But God has also opened my eyes to see that it mostly stems from not being dependent upon Him. Though I know that He is our Creator, Provider, and Shepherd, I so often forget and attempt to make decisions in my own strength. The result is always the same – confusion. But God is not a God of confusion – He is a God of clarity. (1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV). Confusion is something I choose to put on when I listen to my own thoughts, others’ opinions, and satan’s comparisons. Proverbs 20:24 NLT says “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Often, to gain clarity we must quit trying to understand everything.
At one point this past semester, I had gotten so upset about not knowing my purpose that I considered dropping out of school. (Extreme, I know.) My mentor, being the Spirit-filled woman she is, sensed something was out of sorts with me. One night after small group, she pulled me aside and asked how she could pray for me. I held nothing back – I told her all of my doubts, fears, and question marks. “What if I don’t have a purpose?” I asked. I knew this went against what God says in Jeremiah 29:11 – “‘For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” – but I had allowed myself to entertain the lie and therefore began to believe it. But praise God – He does not allow us to lose ourselves in the lies of the enemy. Through my mentor, God spoke to me about my purpose – to make His Name great. My mentor told me that our purpose can change its shape throughout our life stages, but ultimately, it’s always the same.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” My job is to share the love of the Jesus that has so freely loved me. Major does not always equal career, and career does not equal purpose. Peter was a fisherman, Matthew was a tax collector, and Jesus was a carpenter. Purpose goes beyond our occupation – purpose is about furthering God’s Kingdom and about telling as many people as we can the good news of Jesus.
Three years later, and I’m still uncertain about the career path I want to choose. But I have a peace that transcends all understanding. I know that God uses ALL things to work together for my good and for His glory (Romans 8:28).
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