What is your passion? I personally have struggled much with defining what God’s ultimate purpose is for my life. I have proficiency in what I do merely for a living, but something’s always been missing. But I feel there’s much ability God’s given me in so many various areas, but I’ve struggled with how to put it all together to realize the greatest potential for myself and for God, who’s gifted it all to me.
After all, Luke 12:48 NLT and the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 NLT make it clear that to whom much is given, much is expected in this life. This goes with anything: skill, talent, resource, whatever you have been endowed with is to be used for God in an utmost way.
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But how do we go about discovering how to match our gifts to a purpose?
There seem to be 3 categories of people when it comes to talents and gifts. For some it’s quite straightforward, they’re born with a single, glaring gift like a prodigy or they were literally a calling by God into a specific purpose. Think Mozart, who was composing by age 3 and made such an impact on the world in his very specific field that he became a household name. Talk about passion. Or Billy Graham, who had such a sudden fiery call to strictly evangelism at age 19 he too made a great impact for God, preaching the gospel to more people individually than anyone in history. But for others, our specific purpose may be less clear, like those born with many gifts. Think DaVinci, who had various talents from painting, to invention, sculpting, architecture, and so on.
Finally, there’s the category of those who think they don’t have any gifts or haven’t figured them out. Passion undefined. Think Einstein, who was born with developmental problems, failed an entrance exam at 16, and couldn’t even get a scientific teaching job before he branched off in a different theoretical direction in his 20’s and discovered his true purpose later on. Or Ronald Reagan, who thought acting was his purpose before switching gears and becoming president late in life.
If you’re in the first group, you already know your purpose. But for those of us in the second and third groups, we have to spend time identifying what God has in store for our lives. Here are hopefully some steps that will help identify what you’re made for.
First, narrow it down to what you’re good at.
What you have God-given talent for. This may require discovery and trying many different areas out. If you don’t think you have any gifts, you need to try things outside of your normal comfort zone, to see what you naturally have the ability for. More often than not, you’ll end up having skill where you least expected it. What areas do you tend to learn faster than others in? Tend to correct others in? Receive higher marks than the average person in? It takes time and is a process to learn these areas for yourself. Also ask others how they view you and where they see your strengths at, as outsiders can sometimes see your strengths faster than you can. Finally, list out all these areas you find yourself with natural ability in.
Step 2: ability is not enough.
You can make a small difference in the world with just ability, somewhat. But you’ll never achieve that uber world-changing legendary impact that you (yes ordinary you) have gifted within you, with just ability alone.
To figure out what you’re really destined for is to take that list of abilities and then identify only the ones that you also have passion for. And what is passion? Simply, does it make you feel ALIVE? Christ said, “I have come to bring life, and life abundantly”. And He’s talking about having some for you too. God destined us to have that feeling of being alive, aligned with our individual purpose and destiny. These strengths thrill you, focus you, and make you lose track of time.
You may have suppressed a deep desire because you had a perception that it might be too childish. That it might be too irresponsible, or even too common. According to StrengthFinders, you have only a 1 in 33 million chance of someone lining up on the same top 5 strengths that you have. So drop all the preconceived reasons and be honest with yourself about your passions.
The third and last step to your destiny: risk.
Nothing in life happens without risk (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT). Even working your standard 9-5 desk job has a degree of risk. But in the areas you seem to have both natural ability and a great sense of life, you just might want to step out. Step out and take a risk. You will fall. You may be discouraged. But time always rewards tenacity. And if you are purposed for it, you naturally will not give up. You will compete until you thrive.
The biggest risk of all is to play it safe. Playing it safe and never stepping out to realize the potential that you have within you gifted by God. Think of someone, anyone great, and realize that they are simply an individual that decided to step out into what made them feel alive. Their focus was to never give up. When His people are working in the way He designed them to, it brings God the greatest glory.
Question from Jesse Hunter, the author.
Do you know your passion? (And do you know your purpose?)