I was looking through one of my personal journals today, when I came across a couple of notes that my wife had written to me three years ago. I was struck by the words of the notes, as I read and re-read them again. Her messages were encouraging, loving and supportive. She spoke of her love for me and acknowledged the blessings of God on our lives and marriage. Her words rejoiced in all of our years together and expressed her vision for our future. What a wonderful source of love and encouragement! However, there was something even deeper in those notes that has stuck with me (and it's not the first time I've thought about this). Those notes serve to remind me of something very important...it reminds me of who I am (husband and best friend to my wife) and the vision of my future (continuing our journey and enjoying our future together). While it shouldn't be necessary to have such a message to keep one grounded in who they are and with whom they are meant to be, it does reinforce and encourage one in that purpose and relationship. It serves to strengthen the love and commitment that we have. My notes and messages to her do the same.
In the recent episode of the Purposed 365 Podcast, Jasmine interviews author and motivational speaker, Christie Browning, about how to stay the course when it comes to pursuing our purpose. One of the things that she talks about is the process of journaling as a tool to keep us on track. I encourage you to take a listen to what Christie has to share, here.
One of the things Christie Brown talks about in her discussion of journaling is, in so many words, to ask yourself every day, "What did I do today to fulfill my purpose?" This is a great journaling prompt. However, it requires that we have a clear understanding of our purpose. Do you? Perhaps you have a general idea of why you're here on this planet, but can you clearly state whether you are making progress? In order to know whether we are effectively fulfilling our purpose, we have to have a "measuring instrument." We need a reminder of who we are and where we are going. That "instrument" is what we call a Purpose Statement.
Much like those notes from my wife, a purpose statement is a daily reminder of who we are and where we are going. It is a practical tool that will, when developed, help you to think through your purpose and clarify it in a way that can give you a guide for daily reference. It can be a clarifying exercise to create your purpose statement. Once complete, it becomes a guiding instrument to help you stay the course, get through those seasons of pause, and look beyond your vocation to your life, as a platform for your purposeful intentions.
But, how does one create a purpose statement?
The Holy Spirit directed the wise king, Solomon, to explain...
The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.
Wisdom tells us to search and draw out the purposes of our heart...to know our purposes that God has placed in our hearts. Just as the Holy Spirit inspired Solomon to write those words, the Holy Spirit will enable any person to understand the deep waters of our hearts where God has written his purposes. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to draw out your purpose and write your purpose statement. Begin with prayer, asking God to show you His plans and purposes...to give you wisdom. He has promised, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5) Following these practical steps can P.A.V.E. your way to writing your personal purpose statement.
Ask yourself..."What is it that drives me?" This is the thing that gets you up in the morning and makes you want to live life to the fullest. Think about it this way...if there were no barriers...money, time and opportunity were not an issue...what would you love to spend your life doing? Answering that question will help you identify the thing about which you are passionate. It may be working with children, speaking to groups of people, caring for the elderly, or helping people find their purpose. Try writing this out as it comes to your mind. Then, begin to boil it down to the simplest form using the fewest words. This will be the passion element of your statement.
Next, do an inventory of your talents, strengths and gifting. Don't be shy and be honest with yourself. If you're unsure of your abilities, ask one or two of the people closest to you what they see in you. Look at your vocational skills and your personality traits to give you clues. Take a strengths inventory or a spiritual gift assessment to help you understand your abilities more completely. Once you have listed your abilities, narrow them down to the top three. These will inform the "tools" that you'll use to fulfill your purpose, and can identify in your statement. Rather than just tools to make a living or gain wealth, your abilities are conduits through which your purpose can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
Click on the buttons below to take a free spiritual gifts assessment or a free strengths assessment.
Clarifying our values is crucial to not only knowing our purpose, but living a contented and congruent life. There is nothing more disruptive to a person than making choices that are no congruent with the things they value. On the other side of that coin, we may not value the things that we think we do, if we continually make choices that contradict what we say we value. Of course, there are other dynamics that come into play, but generally, identifying and clarifying one's values definitely informs our understanding of our purpose. In writing your purpose statement, these values may not be literally written in your statement, but they will determine how you will use your abilities to fulfill your passion and achieve the intended outcome. That takes us to the fourth aspect of this process...
When you drop a pebble in a pool of water, you can watch the ripples from that small stone stretch out across the entire body of water. Though they may dissipate as they expand, their impact is evident. An undersea earthquake can produce a tsunami that has powerful effect...destructive effects. Powerful effects that make a positive impact can come from our lives as we live out our purpose. What is the effect that you want to have? What is the difference you want to make? That will be an important part of your purpose statement.
There, you have it...a simple process you can utilize to develop your Personal Purpose Statement. I challenge you to start today to work on creating this tool. Perhaps sharing my own process will help you flesh out yours as you move forward with this challenge. I'll just share my components, that represent the process that I went through, and then the final statement that I created to reflect what I discovered.
My Personal Purpose Statement:
Passion - helping others find peace and fulfillment
Abilities - teaching, shepherding, writing, coaching, counseling, listening (I boiled it down to two abilities that encompassed all of them)
Values - faith, love, relationship, respect (not written in the statement, but definitely determining what I want to achieve)
Effect - God is honored, people have hope and contentment...live in relationship with God through Christ and live out their purpose (Again, in the statement, it is boiled down into a shorter, all-encompassing phrase).
To help others find peace and fulfillment through writing and coaching, enabling them to live relationally healthy and hope-filled lives. (Passion/Abilities/Effect)
Do you have a life purpose or mission statement? Share yours in the comments. Maybe you know your passion only at this point...share what you're passionate about in the comments. Have questions? Share those as well. If you find our content valuable, we hope you will like, share and comment in order to engage and invite others into the community! The more, the merrier!
With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!