How to Find Your Purpose When You’re Feeling Lost
Let me tell you something a little weird about myself: I love Google Maps. I am borderline addicted to traveling the world through Google Maps street view! (Told you it would be weird). I choose a country, plop down the little yellow guy, and explore a new world. I know a lot of other people love Google Maps because it tells them exactly how to get from point a to point b. You can put in the destination, look ahead, and see exactly where you are going, what turns to make, even how hard it will be to get there. You’ll never get lost. Unfortunately, God doesn’t do Google Maps. You cannot tell Him where you want to go in your life and receive a step-by- step list on how to get there, what it will be like, and how long it will take to reach your destination.
So, what do you do instead?
Searching for your purpose can be a little overwhelming. Everyone keeps telling you to follow your passion and go after your dreams, but what if you do not know what those dreams are? And what if those passions do not line up with God’s plan for your life? I am going to give you two tips: look for patterns in your life and hold big dreams but small expectations.
Looking for Patterns
When I am not Google mapping, I am attending classes, watching the movie Coneheads, working, or volunteering. During my second year of college I began to notice that more and more of my time was being allocated to volunteering, and most of that was being done in youth ministry. I was volunteering to help lead a youth group near my school, helping with some stuff for my youth group back home, and I landed an (unpaid) internship at a youth group 40 minutes away. Eventually I began to notice how much of my time I was giving to youth ministry, for free. This is when I realized that I had (finally) found something that I was passionate about: youth ministry! This gave me a dream of being a youth minister and leading my own awesome program that would bring tons of kids and teens to Christ! This is where the second tip comes in: small expectations.
Big Dreams and Small Expectations
When I started thinking about aiming to be a youth minister, I got worried about if this would match up with God’s plan or not… With graduating college soon, I would probably be moving, meaning I would lose all my connections. I wanted to travel for a good portion of my life, and not staying in one place for long would prevent me from creating amazing and long-lasting programs… So, what am I supposed to do? Do not set such high expectations on your specific dreams. God’s plan is often different and always better than yours, so you need to be ready to accept them! Imagine if God said to me “actually, I want you to run an organization that will save millions of lives” and I replied, “Well that’s great and all, God, but I was really wanting to be a youth minister and I expected that to happen, so I cannot run your organization.” See the problem? The way that you can be prepared to accept whatever His plan may be is to keep your mindset similar to Mary’s.
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, she listened to the plans God had laid out for her (which were clearly different than how she expected her life to go) and replied with “fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum” or “let it be done unto me according to Thy word”. The way that I have dealt with all of the uncertainty that lies in my future is offering my own fiat to God. I am always looking to find out what I am passionate about, but I always remind myself that the only thing I expect to happen is whatever God has planned.
If you related to this feeling of being lost, wanting direction, and not knowing what to do, offer your own fiat to God. This can seem scary because we never feel ready to let go of the reigns and put God in control, but follow the example that Mary gave and try it. To help you with this, I have put together a seven-day devotional (that you can get for free here). The devotional reflects on Mary’s calling and her fiat, and gives you the opportunity to reflect on your life in order to offer your own fiat.