I came across a startling statistic the other day in a book by Jeff Myers called Cultivate. He quotes William Damon a Stanford professor who noted that only one in five young people ages 12 to 22 have a clear vision of where they want to go and what they want to accomplish in life. This creates for these young people a sense of anxiety, disappointment in oneself, discouraged by life and an emptiness surrounding daily activities, according to Damon.
Damon continues with the comparison. Those who have a sense of their purpose, on the other hand, are filled with joy, despite sacrifices they must make, have a sense of energy, experience satisfaction when goals are reached, and display persistence when they hit obstacles.
One thing that I wanted to mention that was brought out in this discussion is some of the ways in which we can come to understand more clearly what our purpose is in God.
We must reject self-centeredness in the following three ways stated by Jeff Myers: Reject the idea that we can do what we want; know who we are apart from a relationship with Christ and the idea that our lives belong to us. When we realize that we were redeemed for a purpose, then we will seek out that purpose realizing that it can only be found in a relationship with Christ. Apart from Him, we can only rely on self to establish purpose and that could lead to some very unfortunate circumstances.
I believe Myers states clearly one indicator that shows we are where we need to be in our life purpose. He instructs us to ask ourselves if what we are currently investing our lives in returns energy to us and makes us feel more alive.
I believe that when we find and invest in that opportunity which fuels us and for which we are passionate then we will experience the satisfaction which comes from being where God would have us. God has designed us all with gifts and abilities that find their purpose and fulfillment only when they are being exercised in accordance with God’s design and plan. The word that comes to my mind is completeness.
On the other hand, when we are outside of a relationship with God and are settling for less than what He would have for our lives, the things we invest in may over time drain us of energy because they will be fueled by self and self’s intent and motive and not the Big Picture of who we are in God.
I know some may say that this is too simplistic and generalized. They may say that those outside of a belief in God may find fulfillment in their career just as equally as those who hold a belief in God. While this may be true to some degree, it cannot be what I mean by true fulfillment. True fulfillment is when we come to live out of God driven and directed purpose and calling. The word career would not be the best way to define it. It is more than a career. The purpose He can give through the work He can accomplish through us will far outshine anything we could do alone.
P.S. if what you are investing in right now does not return energy to you then maybe it is time to move on and ask God to send you to where the energy can flow.