Our purpose in life should be to discover our purpose. I heard it said a long time ago that when it comes to your career or life’s calling, if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. On the surface that sounds good, but it seems that the truth is that very few people in life have actually been able to attest to whether or not that statement is true. According to data that was obtained from Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace that surveyed over 150,000 people, 70% of those that participated in the survey described themselves as “disengaged” from their work. Only 30% admitted that they honestly enjoyed their jobs. Those are some pretty telling numbers. It goes without saying that for the great majority of us, including myself, we are entrenched in careers that serve the purpose of paying the bills and providing for our families, but fail to give a sense of personal fulfillment and the feeling that we have found our purpose in life. I would be the first to admit that as much as I am truly thankful for the job that I have, it does not leave me thinking, “This is what I was meant to do.”
I think just about everyone has dreams and aspirations of finding their niche in life and that one thing that brings about personal fulfillment and the sense of knowing that they are making a difference in the world around them. I am of the belief that everyone has a distinct purpose and calling in life. As a Bible believing Christian, I have to believe that if it were not true that everyone has a distinct purpose in life, God would have not said in his word that He knows the plans that he has for us. (Jeremiah 29:11) Think about what a plan is. A plan is not random ideas; a plan is very specific. A plan is typically not something that is thrown together with little to no thought, or created without a great deal of reason. When we make plans, they are normally calculated, and thought is taken as to whether or not the plans will benefit us or bring us satisfaction. If you believe that God has wisdom that far exceeds the level of wisdom that we could ever possess, and I do believe that He does, it is safe to say that God’s plan for us would be the path that we could take that would lead us into our calling or that particular thing in life that we were meant to do. Sadly, a great number of people live their entire lives and never discover what it is that they were “called” to do. I have to admit that I am still in a journey of my own to discover the particular purpose that God has for me, and as I get older, God is starting to give me subtle hints as to what that might be.
I believe that everyone has hidden strengths, talents, gifts, and potential that lies within them. More often than not, those strengths and gifts lie untapped within a person because they have not come to the realization that they possess them. Have you ever seen a person that seems incredibly skilled in a certain area, and that person doesn’t even realize that they have an abundance of skill in that particular area? Sometimes in life others can see the strengths and gifting in our lives that we cannot even see ourselves. The challenge that lies before us is to discover what our strengths and gifts are, and then make use of them in the best possible way that we can, in order to make a difference in the world around us. The quote that says to do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life can be a bit misleading. The reason it is misleading is that too often people spend years sitting idly on the sidelines of life trying to figure out what it is that they love, and don’t realize that we often need to step out of our comfort zone and try something that we have never done in order to discover what that thing that we love is. If we are fortunate enough to be awakened to what our gifts or strengths are, the most important thing is that we do not hang on to them like a trophy on a shelf, only to bring satisfaction and meaning to our own lives. We have to release our gifts into the world in order to make a positive difference in the world around us.
Let me give you an analogy that might shed a little light on the thoughts I am trying to express. I remember going fishing with my Dad as a young boy. I never spent enough time, or enough years fishing to become an avid angler, and to this day I am not a fisherman. Those that are avid fishermen are well acquainted with the term “catch and release.” The term “catch and release” refers to the practice within recreational fishing of releasing a fish that is caught back into the waters as a means of conservation. The idea is that because the released fish has the opportunity to continue to live and propagate, it insures that future fisherman will have the same chances of enjoying the pleasures of the sport of fishing. Now, let me apply this to us in life. We are all “fishing” in the sea of life. We are all fishing or searching for that one particular thing in life that is our purpose in life; that thing that will bring fulfillment to our life, and make a positive impact on those that we come into contact with. The fish that we catch is our gift, our hidden talent, our calling. It is possible that a person can discover what their hidden talents or gifts are, and never share them with anyone else. That would be like a fisherman choosing to abandon the practice of catch and release, and taking the fish home to be mounted on a plaque on the wall. The only person that would ever get enjoyment or pleasure from the mounted fish would be the fisherman that caught it. If that fisherman would have released the fish, other future fisherman would have been given the opportunity to experience the joy of catching that same fish again, or more likely, the fish’s offspring. When we catch our “fish”, or in other words, come to the realization of what our gift or purpose in life is, if we keep it to ourselves like a trophy on the wall, no other person will ever be able to benefit from our gift. However, if we release our “fish”…that gift that we have… we can affect the lives of others in a positive manner for years to come. Once we catch our gift and purpose in life, if we are going to make a difference in the world, we have to release it. God doesn’t place gifts and talents within us solely for us. He places them within us so that we can use them to help others.
Now the call to action for all of us is that we must go fishing! If we are to ever discover what our specific gifts are, and those things that will prove to be what brings us personal fulfillment, we have to step out. Do you have a burning desire to sing? Sing! Do you want to teach? Start teaching! Do you think you would enjoy taking pictures? Take a photography course and start taking pictures as a hobby! Have you ever considered writing? My “fishing trips” in the last year or so have created within me a love for writing! When a person takes a step out and starts fishing in waters that they have never fished in before, they often “catch a fish” that creates a passion within and changes their life. Who is to say how much that gift that may be hidden and dormant within you will change the lives of those you share it with? If we ever manage to catch that life changing fish, and release it back into the world, not only will it bring satisfaction and fulfillment to us, but it will make the world around us a better place! God put you here for a purpose! If you’re not sure what your purpose in life is, pray to God that He will show you what He wants for your life, and then get busy fishing!
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,