If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3
I recently wrote about the task of identifying my purpose, the thing that I was created to be. It was not a task that came easily to me. I looked online for advice on how to discover my purpose. I made list after list of my priorities, values, talents, and desires. Identifying these things wasn’t helping. I got frustrated. Then I stumbled onto an article by Steve Pavlina, How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes. It sounded too good to be true.
I skimmed the article. Because it was long and I was feeling very impatient by that point. Steve’s advice sounded all touchy-feely and unscientific and totally opposite of all the advice I had read before. But I was won over by the simplicity of it and decided to try it anyway. Steve’s plan:
- Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
- Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
- Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
- Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.
Steve says in his article that it took him 25 minutes and 106 answers before he finally found the one that was his. He suggested it would take the average person 15-20 minutes. It took me less than 5 when at answer 11 I burst into tears (maybe the list making had helped more than I realized, lol).
I sat feeling rather stunned at my answer. Not only had Steve’s advice actually worked (Whoo-hoo!) but the answer was not at all what I had expected. At first I thought maybe I was just feeling tired or something. So I took a minute to pull myself back together and clear my head. When I came back and read the statement again I again burst into tears. Something in what I had written resonated deeply within me.
What I wrote, unedited: To share myself with others on a highly intimate level knowing that by doing so I am revealing God’s heart to them that they might see and know His grace and mercy unending.
I teared up again when I read it to my business coach. He was excited, but concerned it might be too wordy. I’m a writer, I kinda dig wordy. So we compromised. We narrowed it down to two words and then followed that with an explanation.
My purpose is to love; sharing myself on an intimate level thereby revealing God’s heart so others will know His grace and mercy unending.
To love? Yes. To love my husband? Yes. To love my children? Yes. To love you? Definitely.
My answer made me cry because it involves what feels like a great risk on my part. To share myself, my thoughts, my story- that’s risky behavior. But to die without revealing God’s heart, passion, and love for you- that’s a fate far worse. My life will have been meaningless, a chasing after the wind if I don’t fulfill this purpose.
And so I choose to love, to share, to reveal.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~John 13:34-35