“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:13,14)
In scripture James is exhorting us to place God’s will first in our life plans and decisions. He is boldly reminding us that God is sovereign in our life and in control of all things. James is teaching us that planning is good, but all of our planning is to originate with our acknowledgement in God, and not of ourselves.
But as James so exhorts, it is common that our life’s purpose gets tangled up in how the world views planning. We get all wrapped up in seeking our purpose, outside of God’s Will and Word, through our own desires.
In seeking our own purpose we may incorporate the use of self-help and/or inspirational resources. We may read many self-help books, which ultimately are of no help at all, and only serves to create temporal and superficial change. God’s purpose is about becoming what he created us ~ created you to be. So then the question ~ What is your life? becomes more meaningful, knowing that God’s purpose does not end in this mist of life, not to vanish forever, but will continue throughout eternity.
Quoted below, as a worldview comparison, is a process in how the world approaches our Life Purpose. It clearly identifies the “self” in its directives. But establishing your priorities, your good business habits, and success, (as a purpose in yourself), is not the same as fulfilling your life ~ in His purpose.
15 Questions to Discover Your Life Purpose ~ Worldview –
The following are a list of questions that can assist you in discovering your purpose. They are meant as a guide to help you get into a frame of mind that will be conducive to defining your personal mission.
Simple)Instructions: • Take out a few sheets of loose paper and a pen.
• Find a place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone.
• Write the answers to each question down. Write the first thing that pops into your head. Write without editing. Use point form. It’s important to write out your answers rather than just thinking about them.
• Write quickly. Give yourself less than 60 seconds a question. Preferably less than 30 seconds.
• Be honest. Nobody will read it. It’s important to write without editing.
• Enjoy the moment and smile as you write.
1. What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
2. What are your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
3. What activities make you lose track of time?
4. What makes you feel great about yourself?
5. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
6. What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
7. What do people typically ask you for help in?
8. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
9. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
10. You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.
11. What are your deepest values?
Select 3 to 6 and prioritize the words in order of importance to you.
12. What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
13. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
14. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
15. Given your talents, passions and values. How could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? ( to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)
Your Personal Mission Statement
Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behavior with your beliefs”
~Stephen Covey, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’
A personal mission consists of 3 parts:
• What do I want to do?
• Who do I want to help?
• What is the result? What value will I create?
Steps to Creating Your Personal Mission Statement:
1. Do the exercise with the 15 questions above as quickly as you can.
2. List out actions words you connect with.
a. Example: educate, accomplish, empower, encourage, improve, help, give, guide, inspire, integrate, master, motivate, nurture, organize, produce, promote, travel, spread, share, satisfy, understand, teach, write, etc.
3. Based on your answers to the 15 questions. List everything and everyone that you believe you can help.
a. Example: People, creatures, organizations, causes, groups, environment, etc.
4. Identify your end goal. How will the ‘who’ from your above answer benefit from what you ‘do’?
5. Combine steps 2-4 into a sentence, or 2-3 sentences
– This is your purpose ~ Worldview – Complicated and Confusing.
Life in His Purpose ~ God’s View
In His purpose for your life there is only one thing to do ~ Seek His Will ~
There is only one book to read ~ His Word~
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me,
Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.“ (Psalm 138:8)