So many people go through life wondering, “What is my purpose?” This question is especially common among teenagers and young adults as we try to figure out the rest of our life. We try to figure out what career we want to pursue, where to go to college (or whether or not we should go to college), where we will move, and who we will marry, just to name a few.
Right now, I’m at the stage of my life where I’m transitioning out of my teenage years and into adulthood. At this point in my life, most people expect me to know what I want to do with the rest of my life.
When I graduated in 2012, people were shocked when I told them I wasn’t going to college. Everyone I knew—even complete strangers—told me I had to go to college. I told everyone I didn’t need to go to college. I want to be a writer, and get married and be a mom. I didn’t have to get a degree in any of those fields. Once they heard I had a plan, most people seemed to be all right with that.
I’ve spent years knowing I want to be a writer, but recently I found myself asking the question, “What is my purpose?”. Even in the category of writing, there are numerous options to choose from, anything from novelist to travel writing. Then there are also options of working for Disney, being a portrait or travel photographer, working with children, or who knows what else. I have an interest in so many different things. And all of that from me trying to figure out what kind of job I’d like to have in the future. That doesn’t even include other life decisions.
I’m the type of person who likes to have a clearly defined plan that leads to a specific goal. Recently, not having a specific goal or direction has really bothered me. I almost feel like I’m wasting my days if I’m not working towards something. It’s frustrating. I’m ready for a clearly defined purpose. But through talking with friends, family, and studying scripture, I have come to realize that not knowing where my life will go isn’t a bad thing. I can’t know the future, only God can.
Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. — Proverbs 27:1
It’s amazing to think about God, Creator of the universe, concerned about me and my life. He already has a plan for my life, even when I can’t see what that plan is. We talk often about trusting God with our entire life. That includes our future. We can’t see what tomorrow will bring or what 5 years will bring, but God can. Trusting Him doesn’t mean figuring out everything He has planned so we can rest easy. Trusting Him means trusting in His character, promises, and plans when we know we don’t have everything figured out.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
He has a perfect plan for my life, and until He shows me what my next step will be, my purpose is to love, rejoice, praise, give thanks, and know Him better “…for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That is His will for all of us. No matter where we are in life, our purpose is to rejoice, pray, and give thanks to God. Our purpose is to trust Him with our whole life, and that includes surrendering our desire for control of our life and future. And for me, that is one of the hardest things to do.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
I still have my eyes open for another goal and purpose, but I have peace in knowing I’m right where God wants me. I have peace knowing that right now, and always, my purpose is to know Him. I know that when His time comes that He will present me with the next opportunity for my life.
But until that day comes, I will continue to seek Him and His will. I will continue to work hard at my job every day, being diligent in my current responsibilities. I will continue to write and take pictures, improving my skills and working on the things I’m passionate about, because not having a clearly defined direction for the next few years of my life doesn’t mean I can sit around doing nothing.
No matter where you are in your life, you can be encouraged by knowing that you don’t have to have it all figured out. God has a plan for your life. You just have to follow Him and trust Him no matter what your life currently looks like. And remember that not having a direction doesn’t mean we can be lazy. Work hard at whatever God has given you right now, whether it’s work, school, volunteering, family, or something else. Always strive to do your very best.
Your sister in Christ,