Thursday, September 15, 2016

Who Knows Why?

A few months ago I led a women’s bible study where we talked about the importance of understanding our purpose. I gave each lady an individual assignment. They had five minutes to take a sheet of paper and create anything they wanted with it. There were only two rules—each woman was responsible for her own creation and each had to give her creation a purpose. After the women finished creating, the other women in the group had an opportunity to look at each creation, say what it was, and assign a purpose to it. Then I asked each creator if the other ladies had guessed correctly. Nine times out of 10 the guesses had been incorrect.

In my own case I made what looked like a bowl sitting next to a balled up piece of paper. The women assigned labels and purposes to my creation that were good, deep, noble, even…but they were incorrect. We were in bible study, so I guess it made sense to assume that I had made a prayer box and a heart (or something like that), but that wasn’t at all the case.

I told them that I’m usually not that deep of a thinker. I like things to be fun and simple. My mind was on children when I made my creation. I thought if I made a paper basketball and “net” for the children it would bring smiles to their faces and give them something fun to do. Everyone looked perplexed. I’m sure they wondered what children I was talking about. Or what these children had to do with anything. I smiled. That was my point exactly.

When it comes to purpose, it’s easy to be confused or get things wrong because of incorrect assumptions. Who better to ask the purpose of a thing than the one who created it? He would know better than anyone else his reason for making it, right?

We spend a great deal of our lives trying to figure out why we are here and why we go through certain things. We try to make sense of why we were born in a certain region or why our parents were the way they were. Why this? Why that? Why not this? Why not that?

Who better to ask than the One who created us? I’m certain He knows. I’m also positive He wants us to know our purpose so that we can do the things we were created to do. First we must look to Him for the answers.

It’s evident that God’s mind is much more brilliant and complex than the mind of man. Yes, we were made in His image, but that doesn’t mean that your purpose is to singlehandedly end world hunger, eliminate poverty, and found an internet start-up that unites pets across the land. Those are noble things, but they might not be what He had in mind when he made you.

I can say that we were created to glorify God, but my knowledge stops there. You don’t want to look to me to tell you the specifics about why you were created because I have no idea. I wouldn’t even suggest that you ask yourself what your purpose is, because you’d be guessing at best, and getting it wrong could be costly. I would, however, encourage you to have a conversation with the Creator, take a look into His word, and open your heart to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the reasons you are here. He may not reveal it all at one time, but that’s ok. It’s better to take small steps in His will than big steps outside of it. You can trust that He will direct your steps along the right path when you look to Him for guidance.

I spent a lot of time searching for answers to my whys in all the wrong places—self-help books and television shows that promised to fix everything, Sunday services, and even inside my own mind. It wasn’t until I asked God, the One who created me, why He made me that I truly began to see the plans that He has for me. Looking back, I realize that He had been preparing me all along. I realized that the things He wanted me to do are the things I had been doing all along—writing, speaking, encouraging. (Recently it became very clear to me that God wants me to thoroughly understand the depths of His love so that I can express it to others and pique their interests about what exactly it means to be wrapped in His love. Interestingly, as I open myself to experience the fullness of His love, I can’t help but want to share my testimony and encourage others to do the same.)

And as He continues to reveal my assignments to me I partner with Him to make sure they are done to the very best of my ability, with a spirit of excellence. I’m thankful because knowing my purpose allows me to walk in it. It also makes it easier to walk away from those things that don’t align with it. That is liberating.

There is freedom in purposeful living.


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