Here at 4word, this month’s topic of “purpose” has been a refreshing wake-up call for us. It’s getting to be that time of the year when plans and budgets for 2019 are being formulated and new initiatives and resources are being dreamed up for our 4word women. As a team, we can come together and put down on paper some of the craziest and grandest plans for truly amazing and incredible projects for 2019 … but if they don’t follow 4word’s purpose, what’s the point?
Have this month’s blogs made you stop and reevaluate the direction of your life? We started this month with some common questions we all ask when trying to decide if we’re confident in our place in this world. It’s a perfectly human thing to wonder! Then we spoke with Kristin Brown from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, who opened her heart about the sometimes painful journey she’s been on to find her purpose amidst singleness, job direction, and becoming a mom. Susan Tolles, 4word’s Director of Local Groups, encouraged us to remember that we didn’t just randomly happen; God ordained a purpose for us all to live out during our time on earth.
Why is purpose such a difficult concept to wrap our heads around? Well, partly because we’ve made it seem difficult! There isn’t a ranking system for purposes. One purpose isn’t greater or more admirable than another. Remember that recent news story about the Cosby show actor who was spotted working at Trader Joe’s? It was an amazing example of this convoluted idea that some jobs and life paths are less significant than others. The actor, Geoffrey Owens, had this to say about the public questioning why he had stooped so low from his Hollywood status to work at a Trader Joe’s: “There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.” (source)
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
At the core of any purpose we follow is the understanding that we have all been created to serve and bring glory to God. Period. This fact gives meaning and clarity to anything we do with our lives, in the workplace, at home, or in our church family. Knowing this might make identifying your purpose seem deceptively easy, and we might dive all-in to a purpose and direction that seems to tick all the boxes for a life path aligned with God’s.
But we are still human. Jobs and projects and causes and even people will appear before us in such miraculous ways that we think they MUST be part of God’s purpose for us … and it may turn out that they aren’t. When we hit that wall of disappointment and confusion, we need to be ready to shift our viewpoint and learn to view that disappointment as part of the path to our actual purpose. That wall might be God nudging you back in the right direction.
This year, 4word celebrates its seventh birthday. Seven years ago, Diane Paddison listened to the nudging of God and wrote Work, Love, Pray, a book that led to the formation of 4word. It was a time of trusting, seeking, and praying, but Diane’s dedication to what she knew God had ordained as her purpose was rewarded with a growing community of Christian women in the workplace who needed a place to come together and learn how to navigate life at work, home, and church. And now, as we enter our seventh year, we are so excited to share with you soon new ways that we are continuing to reach and enrich the lives of even more of our sisters.
How do we find and feel confident in our purpose? Start with understanding why you’re here: to bring glory to God. Then ask Him to make clear what skills and tasks satisfy both the role of serving Him and the role of bringing you joy and pride in what you do. And don’t get too comfortable! God may choose for you to stay in the same role for your entire life, or He may have plans for you that will change along the way. Stay attuned to God and be diligent and bold in asking Him what He wants you to do. He will always answer (just maybe not on your timeline) and your willingness to surrender your purpose to what He desires for you will always be rewarded.
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