If you are like me-a high-achiever-you probably find a lot of meaning or purpose in your education, work or trophies of whatever nature. Attainments of any form grant you much significance. Loss of any or missing your target may cause such distress, doubt or discouragement.
It happened to me. I was once requested to take up an assignment beyond my scope and training. As always, I imagined I would learn on the job as I was mentored through it. However, a year down the line, my to-do list had over 90% pending items. Items that should have been checked off were returned to my desk for rework, redesign, rethink…everything re- (wrong❌) and not checkoff ✅. I was frustrated. Further, my boss called me in and said, “I would like to restructure your department.” This was a politically correct statement meaning I would like to work with another as you report to them. So technically I was demoted. Ouch!
As a result, I began to doubt myself and my capabilities. I took pride in a completed to-do list. I always met my deadlines. I was commended for my contribution. But not anymore. My to-do list was incomplete. I was way past the deadlines. My ideas seemed to hit a stone wall. I felt really discouraged and dejected. I felt lost.
There are many like me who find such significance in things. Here’s a list of things we may find significance in:
- Performance – “I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself.”
- Approval – “Certain people must approve me to feel good about myself.”
- Blame – “Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.”
- Shame – “I am what I am; I cannot change; I am hopeless.”
(More of these in future blogs and boot camps)
With feelings of failure and rejection, I began going down the drain-loss of appetite, desire to withdraw from others, etc. Realising that I was placing significance in the wrong place, I needed a new form of thinking. I needed a reset.
This was my reset: My calling is more than what I do (or do not do.) My purpose is not defined by my career, physical ability or social status. It is not based on temporary things or Satan’s lies. Neither is your purpose. It is based on God’s truth. That purpose is much greater and higher than our careers or personal accolades.
So I began this endless pursuit to know my purpose. I prayed, I read the word of God, and I sought knowledge from spiritual books. My objective? To know my purpose. But after weeks of trying. O! it felt so unreachable. I was not grasping this thing called ‘purpose’. Then I confided in a friend who told me a statement that changed the whole dynamic. He said, “Janet, how about you pursue the Purpose-Giver rather than the purpose itself?” Light bulb!
The One who created us defined our purpose and desires to fulfil it in us daily. He knows it and is willing to reveal it to us. But rather than seek the purpose, seek Him who gave it. In the process of finding Him, He shall reveal Himself and, resultantly, your purpose. How about asking God, your Creator, to reveal Himself to you and to fulfil His purpose in your life each day? So that became my desire–to know God. It’s a daily commitment. Ultimately, His desire is for me to become like Him. What I become is more important than what I do. What we become is more important than what we do.
"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young [disabled, from a single-parent home, unemployed, female . . . add whatever else makes you feel insignificant], but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12, NIV
As we become acquainted with God, He changes us and our desires. He makes clear the path He would want us to follow, granting us meaning and significance independent of our material possessions, education, career or circumstances. And as we live, we may set an example that impacts lives for the better. Now that is a life well lived with purpose.
Dear God, help me to remember that the work I do is not as important as the person I become. Please make me more like You.