Whenever I ask youngsters what they want to do in
the future, seldom do I get an emphatic answer.
They throw a few ideas at me with a general mum
bling of, “I don’t know”. But let me tell you, my
ultimate Guru was clear at the age of 12. Remember, how
his parents lost him in the temple and found him after three
days? The answer the young lad gave was, “Don’t you know,
I must be about My Father’s business”?1 This is a pointer to
how we should construct our life based on God’s Word.
The only difference between a successful person and a person
who does not succeed is a lack of clear purpose. Let
me share some practical ideas on how to discover and develop
a clear purpose for your life, no matter what stage
you are: young, middle aged or even old.
If you are any bit like I was as a teenager, by now, all or
most of your new year resolutions may have gone kaput.
Your all-too-earnest desires to make a new year “NEW “
have been replaced by disappointment and the nonchalance
of your previous year’s lifestyle. And the cycle starts all
over again each year as, like sheep, we go through the cycle
again and again. In fact, some make a resolution never to
make a New Year resolution again. So here is my first solution.
Resolutions don’t come true because they are not powered
by Purpose. If you have a purpose for your life, then
all your goals, resolutions, and desires will be accomplished
because they are held together by a larger purpose. The
French phrase, ‘Raison d’être’ means the central reason for
its existence. A star shines bright or flickers because that is
its ‘Raison d’être’. Has anyone asked you what the central
reason for your existence is? A purpose, what organisations
call a “mission”, is important to fulfill life’s central end.
All men surely die; very few consciously live. I am reminded
of my favorite quote, “The two most important days in your
life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.
Indulge me and try this exercise with me. Take a blank sheet
of paper and write your name and its meaning at the top.
Your name is no coincidence, and the fact that your parents
gave you a certain name with a promise is not an accident.
Draw four boxes in the page and start listing out
all your strengths on the top left box. On the top
right, list all your dreams, small, big, crazy and unbelievable;
no one will look at it, so be honest and
bold. On the bottom left, write all your past accomplishments
and achievements; and, finally, in
the bottom right box, list all the positive compliments,
affirmations and qualities that others have
given you over the years. So Strengths, Dreams,
Accomplishments and Compliments should fill up
the paper. Now, what pattern or single thread do
you see connecting all four boxes? What strengths
can you use to go after your big dreams based on
the encouragement you got from past accomplishments?
Write your purpose statement. This can be a life
changing, destiny altering experience. My Bible
tells me that all the characters that made a significant
impact on the world had a focused life purpose.
This included the Savior himself while on
planet earth who said that He had, “...come to seek
and save the lost”.2 The biggest advantage of having
a clear purpose? It will enable you to get rid of
all the junk. Wasted hours playing futile games,
being addicted to chats, listening to and watching
inane stuff, and trying to fit into a group simply
because you want to be nice, are all time wasters
and purpose detractors. Life is too short and unpredictable
to be wasted. Your purpose should remind
you every day about what you are called to
be and to do. I have been a marathon runner for the
past few years and ran the two toughest marathons
in the world. I can never forget the day when I saw
a fan cheering the runners with a placard that said,
“There will come a day when you cannot run; today
is not the day”. In essence, it reflects the same
point that Jesus repeatedly made during His time on earth that His hour had not come or that His
hour had come.
What is the first thing you reach out for when you
open your eyes in the morning? Please tell me it is
your Bible app. When I conduct training to business
executives, many of them sheepishly admit
that even before their body and mind warms up,
they are pulled into a vortex of whatsapp messages,
texts, emails, Facebook, et al. Of course, these are
all a necessary evil, but what is a better alternative?
Being in control of what you want to accomplish
rather than reacting to each message ping.
We live in a society that is drowning us with noise
and information. You need to take responsibility
so you are not pulled by others who want to drive
you in ten different directions. Ultimately, time
management is all about life’s purpose. It is that
gripping, obsessive desire to live life to the fullest
while impacting those around you. A life well lived
usually involves impacting the needy, but your biggest
responsibility is the person in the mirror. Hebrews
12 offers us the metaphor of our life as a
race. And when life’s race is over, at the finish line
along with a cloud host of witnesses, is the Master.
What might you hear? “Well done, you good
and faithful servant”?3 Or “Depart from me, you
[1Luke 2:49, 2Luke 19:10, 3Matt. 25:21, 4Matt. 25:41]
A mother has a natural bond with a child but a father has to build one.