Reconciling Life and Purpose at 30…
With each new birthday comes a fresh chance at life, and a feeling of gratitude for having thrived (or barely survived) another year on this planet. With certain birthdays, however, come a moment of truth. They stand as milestones on the path called life. At each of these, we must account for who we are, what we’ve accomplished thus far, and what we’ve contributed to the world. My 30th birthday was one such birthday. It seemed special to me in some sense; maybe because I felt acutely aware of the fact that I had to face the sum of my life up to now.
Getting older has never been a problem for me. Rather, getting older without accomplishing certain goals has been the real issue. Surely, I had accomplished a lot up to now, but somehow my failure to check certain boxes on my life list seemed to stand in my mind as an open rebuke. As I worked through my 29th year, however, I found myself less concerned with check boxes, and more concerned with purpose. How does one establish purpose, though? What is purpose? There must be a measure and a source of purpose. That measure is God Himself. He has a plan and we have the privilege of fitting into it. In my 29th year I had to ask myself: Am I walking, not according to my purpose for myself ( or other people’s purpose for me), but according to God’s purpose for me?
The process of working through this question in my mind was gruelling. Through a series of unpleasant events, God took my social life down to a negligible state. I buckled down to tons of alone time and introspection. It was in this uncomfortable solitude that I realized that even though I was successfully pursuing a career in Architecture and Interior Design, had explored my passion for Fashion through a diploma, had served in various capacities in various organizations (Christian ones at that), none of these managed define PURPOSE for me. Somehow it seemed like my life had a lot of activity and very little strategy. After all that busy work, and pursuing the things I felt like I ought, I still felt like I was missing it. I was lacking… IDENTITY. At 29, I couldn’t tell you who I was. I could tell you what I felt I was ….sometimes. Instead of having a divinely appointed purpose, I had spent years looking to other people for them to tell me who I should be. I would hang on to the words of everyone who had an opinion about my life. I would compare myself to others through social media and always feel like I was somehow being left behind.
God began to dismantle those thoughts and speak to me clearly about particular areas of my life. He challenged me to take the hard, but rewarding road of training myself to wait patiently for His guiding Word over my life. It surely came! The Lord spoke several prophecies into my life from different, unrelated sources; all of whom had no prior knowledge of me and my situation. They all confirmed each other and what God was already planting in my mind and heart. For the first time, I had a concrete direction for my life and efforts, and a proper vision of purpose (and just in time!).
I’m simply relating this because I feel passionate for people who are walking through what I went through as I approached my birthday. There are some of you allowing everyone BUT God to direct your path in life, and you are wondering why you end up lost and frustrated at each turn. The opinions of parents, significant others, and friends can be a comfort at times, but they can also be a major distraction. It is important to allow yourself the clarity of mind and the spiritual space to hear from God concerning your life.
QUICK TIPS FOR MAKING ROOM FOR GOD TO SPEAK TO YOU
1. Rediscover the time honoured Christian tradition of FASTING. This typically refers to abstinence (in whole or in part) from foods, but can extend to other things. The efficacy of fasting lies in HUMBLING OF ONESELF before God. Especially when we learn how to humble our flesh, we posture ourselves in the spirit to hear from God as no man can approach God without humility. See Ezra 8:21-23
2. Take a social media break! Social media is a great tool for remaining connected with others, but it’s also a great breeding ground for comparison and discontent. Every once in a while, disconnect, get off Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and whatever else, and connect with God through His Word and prayer for a change.
3. Disconnect from controlling people. We all have that friend, family member, or significant other who wants you to be an extension of them. They may or may not mean well, and quite frankly, it’s all irrelevant. Get them out of your head (and sometimes even your world) and let God do the talking.
4. Develop some GUTS and learn to obey! A lot of us have heard from God already concerning some small thing, and because we haven’t obeyed yet, He can’t tell us more. It takes courage to abandon your own way and to let God take over. BE BOLD!
There’s more but those are my top few for now. All I can say is that the time of self discovery was painful and unfamiliar, but I feel so amazing now that I’m 30. I’m all revved up and focussed, and look forward to fulfilling God’s mandate for my life. I hope you share in my joy.