Purpose is what you’re created for. Mission is what you’re meant to do about it.
Do I Have A Purpose?
You’re not alone if you’re facing the question of why you are here and what you are supposed to do about it. In order to begin the process of unwrapping yourself and realizing some answers, you must begin with the assumption that you are here for a purpose, that you are not a result of happenstance.
If you are concerned about stepping out on the uncertainty of an assumption, I invite you to try an exercise. For the next 24 hours, take note of all the assumptions you act upon each day – without certain knowledge or proof that they are dependable.
For instance, you assume the alarm will go off just because you set it and it went off yesterday and the day before – assumption. You assume the train will arrive on the platform at the same time today as yesterday, though you surely have experienced interruptions in the schedule. Yet you plan your morning around the assumption.
These assumptions and many more like them are at the base of countless plans you make each day. So just suppose that you’re not here for a purpose and you’re not part of a greater plan, but you have based your actions toward others and your plans for the future on your belief that there was a plan. How fruitful and fulfilling would your life have become, based on this assumption, true or not? How much value would you have added to the lives of those around you, having lived your life based on this assumption?
Millions, perhaps billions of people struggle through life with no thought what to do with themselves, no design. Decisions concerning education, career, vocation, marriage, and family are a source of constant stress and confusion – and all because they have never been able to perceive of themselves as part of a plan, as a gift to their world.
Though definitely not immune, people of faith have less trouble with the basics in this area. But you needn’t wait for all the answers; you can begin to be a gift to those who occupy your corner of the world right now - today. Assuming that the sheer number of earth’s inhabitants is a clue to your purpose, make a conscious decision to focus less on yourself and your questions, your uncertainties, your desires and begin to notice those around you in a way unrelated to you and your perceived needs. Begin to interact with them on the basis of their needs, not your own.
The word mission comes from the Latin mittere, to send, and it is the beginning of the adventure. Once we have accepted that we have a purpose, that we are not an accident, then we can begin the process of discovering what we’re to do about it. If that’s a daunting exercise, let’s begin with a few questions:
What are Your Gifts and Talents?
Everyone is born with talent. You may be unaware of your unique talents, simply because talents are so much a part of us that they often seem hardly worth mentioning. Begin the process by asking yourself what you have always been able to do with little effort? What do friends and family continually ask you to do over everyone else? What activities are you consistently drawn to? Write these down and begin to actively pursue opportunities to exercise them. Just as you were born with muscle, but you need to work each muscle for it to reach maximum efficiency, so it is with talents.
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