Coaching Corner: Finding Your Highest Purpose
- Michael D. Warden Life Coach & Author
- 2005 10 Oct
God has designed each of us to fulfill a unique purpose in the world. Deep inside, we know this – or at the very least, we suspect it. But if that is true, why do you suppose so few of us are clear about exactly what our unique purpose is? Why are so many of us struggling to uncover God’s plan for our lives?
I believe part of the problem is that we have been wrongly informed that God’s purpose for our lives is lurking somewhere “out there,” totally separate from us or our own desires. But when it comes to defining the core of who you are and the unique calling God has called you to fulfill, the answer may actually be as close as your own heart. For the essence of the unique purpose God has designed you to fulfill has already been imprinted there – in the deep desire of your true heart.
“This longing is the most powerful part of any human personality,” wrote John Eldredge and the late Brent Curtis in their classic book, "The Sacred Romance." “It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive. However we may describe this deep desire, it is the most important thing about us, our heart of hearts, the passion of our life. And the voice that calls to us in this place is none other than the voice of God.”
But if that desire is in fact God’s voice speaking, we don’t always recognize it as such. At least, not at first. In the beginning, we may experience that desire more as an itch we cannot scratch, or the distant dull ache of a hunger we cannot seem to satisfy. As it grows over time, it may begin to feel threatening or even dangerous – because of its reckless disregard for the status quo. We know that if we followed the deepest and truest desires of our hearts, our world would be turned absolutely upside down.
But what if that “dangerous” desire was actually God’s whisper in your heart, urging you to step out and reach for a holy calling that’s bigger and more true than the life you have lived so far? If you said yes to that desire, how would your life be different? How would you be different?
Even if you do say yes to that desire, there is still the confusing matter of determining the best way to pursue the journey to your bigger life. After all, God made each of us different. And the path He designed for one person may not be the same as the path He lays out for another. So where can you begin to seek God’s specific path for you?
1. Begin with the Word of God. The Bible provides the foundational guidelines for all of our journeys. In his book, "The Purpose Driven Life," Rick Warren wisely encourages purpose-seekers to begin their quest in the Word. “We can turn to what God has revealed about life in His Word,” writes Warren. “The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life’s purpose: Ask God.”
2. Take a look at what’s already working. Recognize areas where you’re already living at your best. Those are great places to anchor the “bigger vision” of the life Christ is calling you to live, because they are easy to identify and build upon. Let’s say you love working with the children at your church, and notice that you come alive and are genuinely at your best when you are with them. That’s an area that’s already working well in your life. How might you expand or deepen that experience? How might you step into it more fully?
3. Look at the areas that aren’t working. Be honest about how those unsatisfying aspects of your life are impacting you. But whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, be compassionate and accepting of your own humanity in your journey thus far. This is important, because it’s only from that place of compassionate acceptance that you can really get honest about what’s not working in your life, and start imagining what’s possible.
4. Go deep into your heart, and dream with God. What do you really want for your life? What’s the big gift He’s called you to bring to the world? If you were actively pursuing in every way the life God has created you to live, what would you be doing? Who would be with you? How would the people around you describe your impact on their lives? When you are at your best, who are you?
Invite your most trusted allies in to this process too. Dream together about the possibilities – openly and without judgment. Talk about what God’s calling might actually look like for you and explore the possible paths to get you from where you are to where He’s calling you to be.
5. Identify one or more areas you genuinely want to explore in pursuit of the life God is calling you to live. In order to experience that “bigger vision” of who God has called you to be, you have to consciously choose it for yourself as well. God will not force His plan on you. You have to make a sincere, authentic decision to take action.
Michael D. Warden is a Professional Co-Active Coach, nationally certified through the Coaches Training Institute, and a member of the International Coach Federation. Michael’s clients’ one common trait is their passion to live a bigger life – to discover what they're here for, and boldly go after that vision with confidence and authenticity. Find more on his life and work at www.michaelwarden.com.