Purpose and Significance

I’ve considered myself to be in a sort of purposeless void for a hot minute. Newly graduated, government indebted, and still seeking to develop a safe and stable community, I’ve been itching to be able to move on to the next step, one imbued with purpose and sacrifice, one deeply fulfilling. I love my current job, but I’m also keenly aware that I’m following a pretty predictable path.

And there’s the rub.

When I’m honest with myself, the problem is not that my life lacks purpose. I have plenty of purpose-driven activities on my plate: clients to guide, friends to strengthen and serve, God to love. It’s enough to keep me busy for a lifetime.

But I often refuse to take what’s on my plate now, not because it doesn’t have purpose, but because it doesn’t carry with it a sense of unique significance or grand sacrifice; and the statement “I feel like I lack purpose” sounds just a touch holier than “I want to be significant and unique and, well, important.” I have direction and purpose, it’s just solidly mediocre, dull compared to my dreams of working to end sex trafficking or hunger or parentlessness. When all is said and done, I may not be the next Ghandi or Mother Teresa; I may just be a nameless therapist who therapizes, retires, and dies in Columbia.

I always thought I would do “more” for God; defined, I suppose, by the levels of sacrifice and suffering in my service. This stage, this 9-to-5, high-heeled, paper-worked existence, while by no means easy, isn’t quite what I had in mind when I envisioned my future of serving the Lord. I’d imagined a lot more actual sweat. Maybe some dirt. Motherless children.

In some ways, I think it’s ok to be concerned with the trajectory of my life, to be aware of the short time I have on earth and to try to use it wisely.

But my gifts and training align perfectly with my current calling. I believe God placed me here for a reason; for now, this is what I can do for his kingdom. And while it frustrates me sometimes to feel that my work is so. . . run-of-the-mill compared to, you know, demolishing satanic attacks on the most vulnerable of God’s image bearers, it ultimately comes down to a trust issue. Can I trust that God will use whatever I give him to further his kingdom? Can I trust that he will guide me to wherever he can use me best, even if that does entail being “stuck” in a developed nation? Can I submit to being a metaphorical toenail in the Body of Christ rather than an eye or ear or voice, if that’s what he’s calling me to? Knowing him and seeking him daily, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing; that is my purpose. He, himself, my significance.

And he is enough.


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