Teenagers Seeking Purpose
- Friday, January 20, 2012
The gifts God gives us need to be tested in fertile soil, so it's important for a teen to get a wide variety of experiences. As they do so, certain talents will sprout and blossom, others will wilt and die. Through these new experiences, God will reveal more about who they are and how God has called them to serve Him and others. One experience can literally change their life.
Unlike the Field of Dreams premise "If you build it they will come," teenagers shouldn't get stuck on developing just one purpose, even if for the moment they are convinced it is their true purpose in life. It is far better that they continue to experience new things. So, a better plan for finding life purpose is, "As they experience it, it will come to them." And keep in mind that they may have difficulty finding their purpose in the classroom or from books. So a parent should provide plenty of "field experiences" for their teenager.
Take a Simple Life Purpose Exercise
For teens (or parents) who have already had many experiences in life, and are still confused about their purpose, here's a good exercise. Take out a blank sheet of paper and write at the top, "What is My Life Purpose?" Then, have them begin writing answers. They should write any answer that pops into their head. It could be a word or two, or a sentence. Repeat until they write the answer that makes them cry - obviously not a sad cry, but a joyful one. Yup, if it makes a tear come to their eye, then it's a sure bet that this is their purpose, or at least associated with their purpose. They should do it in private and without any accompanying music or other distractions. It may take 100 or even 200 lines of potential "purposes" to hit the one that makes a tear come to their eye, but encourage them to keep at it until they do.
Helen Keller said it best, "Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
When God begins revealing their purpose, remind your teen that it may not be reached tomorrow, next month or even in logical steps. Instead, they may need to take some initial steps to get there and there may be detours along the way. But knowing the destination will help them build strength and courage to get there - often much more than we might expect they'll have.
It's a Lifelong Journey
Finding purpose is a lifelong journey. God doesn't give all the details at once, nor does He promise it will be a smooth ride. Instead, He often provides just enough information to help us move another mile down the road. It helps us to trust Him as our Navigator. As you progress along the road of your life's purpose, pay attention to the road signs He provides along the way and listen to Him speak to you.
"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." -Robert Byrne
Nothing matters more than your teen knowing God's purpose for their life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing it. Knowing their purpose gives meaning to their life and each step along the way. It motivates them to prepare for their purpose, to save themselves for that purpose, and to avoid anything that might get in the way. Knowing their purpose simplifies their life and removes confusion.
On the other hand, without a clear purpose, they have no foundation on which to base decisions, allocate their time, and use their resources. Without a clear purpose, they'll keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, or other externals—hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in their heart.
The Comfort of Knowing God's Purpose
Isn't it comforting to know that God has a bigger purpose for each of us? If you believe it, then step in front of a mirror and look for areas in your own life that need to grow. Perhaps you're not following your own heart in finding God's purpose in your life. Aim this year to make some changes - with God's help.
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