We often hear Christians pondering the age old questions of “What’s my purpose?” and “How will I ever find it?” These are frustrating questions that can cause even the most patient person to feel like they will never discover the answers. I know. I’ve been there too.

I remember as a child trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. Like most kids, my ideas swung from nurse to rocket scientist and everywhere in between. Everything I mentioned sounded as if it could be a viable option.  

I was the type of individual who was eager to get my life started. I wanted to learn and absorb all that I could in school so that I could put it into practice. I was excited about going to college and heading down “my path” even though it wasn’t a clear one. I began attending college nights and weekends while I was still in the 11th grade of high school. I was bored with high school and college offered me infinite possibilities. My grades were such that I was able to skip the 12th grade altogether and begin attending college on a full-time basis. It was a time of exploration and expansion for me. I felt that I was on my way. I was not sure of where I was headed in life but I knew I was headed somewhere. This philosophy, however, would soon lead to many frustrating decisions and disappointments along the way.

I wasn’t unlike others my age, however. Many young people struggle with making decisions about their future. It’s not unusual for them to start college with one career goal in mind and then switch to a completely different major after their first year. My challenge was similar. Although I didn’t feel overly confident about what I wanted to do I believed I would figure it out sooner or later.

What I failed to do was to have a conversation with God about His purpose for me. It didn’t even occur to me to do this because at the time I wasn’t really walking with God. God was someone I turned to only in times of trouble. He was mostly “out of sight and out of mind” until I needed help. I was not taught to rely on God for all the answers, let alone the solution to what I should do in my life. I wasn’t seeking His purpose for me. Rather I was seeking my purpose for me.

My life began to change once I understood that reliance on self was not the answer. The key to life, I discovered, is reliance on God and God’s purpose for each and every one of us. I continue to use this philosophy today. One particular event in 2008 stands out as a time when I utilized this way of thinking and was subsequently blessed by God. As I strengthened my relationship with God, I had the overwhelming desire to do more toward worshiping Him. I felt that what I was doing at the time just wasn’t enough. I also believed that I was being called to write songs of worship for Him. I had never written songs before but I was familiar with the Bible’s teachings about “making a joyful shout to the Lord, all ye lands” (Psalms 100:1 NKJV) and knew that this would please Him. So, this time instead of taking matters into my own hands without consulting God, I prayed to God to allow me to write songs for His glory if this was what He wanted me to do.

Almost immediately after praying, songs of worship began pouring out of me. I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with what God was telling me to write. I wasn’t concerned about what would become of the songs, if anyone would buy them, or how many people would even want to hear them. What mattered to me was that I was doing what God wanted. I knew that God’s purpose was to reach someone with His message of love and forgiveness (John 6:47). I knew that If only one person heard the songs and turned their heart to God then I would be fulfilling God’s purpose. Nothing else was more important than that goal.

I’ve learned that our purpose for ourselves should always be in harmony with God’s purpose for us. We can accomplish great things for God when we allow Him to work through us. He is glorified when we allow ourselves to be His vessel to reach others and we are blessed for our obedience (Genesis 22:18). Sometimes waiting on God, praying for Him to reveal His intentions for us, and remaining patient isn’t easy. However, it is always the best way to discover what God’s purpose is for our lives.

Susan J. Calloway Knowles is a Licensed Christian Marriage & Family Therapist and former practicing Family Law Attorney. She is also a Christian music Songwriter. Susan’s songs can be found at www.worshipsong.com. Her website is www.susanknowles.com.

Publication date: November 15, 2012