For years, I struggled with how to live a purposeful life. And I mostly confused myself with purpose vs potential, which is which?
Most people find themselves in the same place like me. We want to live with purpose and do the things we love but we find ourselves busy, moving in different directions to prove to ourselves and others what we can do. Not settling on one thing till we get burnt out.
So then, what is the difference between purpose and potential?
Reason why you exist is your purpose and what you are able to do is your potential.
We mostly think that our identity is in the things we do or have. You can do so many things at the same time, and still can’t find joy or happiness, because that is not who you are.
I use to love it when someone tells me, you are good at multi-tasking, you can do this and that. But remember multi-tasking makes you do some many things without mastering any of it and leaves you with accomplishing nothing at the end of the day.
When I was young, my main goal was to love and serve God by sharing the gospel with others but to be able to achieve this purpose which is my ultimate potential, I thought I have to work hard to get money (burning time), then afterwards I will serve God.
I tried to do things by working a regular job, trying to run my own business, a philanthropist, helping my husband to pastor a branch church, taking care of our three young children then, all to help God to fulfill this goal.
In as much as we need to be working to take care of ourselves, families and be a blessing to others, finding the very purpose for your life, the one thing you are suppose to do (which is your potential), is the key to your success and joy in life. For the Bible even says that he who does not work must not eat, 2Thessalonians 3:10-11.
You can’t live your life out of God’s will. You only hurt yourself when we do that, not finding fulfillment or satisfied with your self and the work you do.
Know the difference between doing the good thing and the God thing. You can do a lot of great things and people can be touched by them, but in doing all that, you can still be out of God’s will for your life. This can cause you to burnt out and miss God’s specific moment for your life.
So then, what is God’s plan for you, why are you here?
His plan is to bring you to an expected end, to give you a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11). We are here to worship and have fellowship with God first, before anything else. He should be our first priority in life. For He created us for His pleasure.
So you go back to the source of your life, ask Him about your purpose in life, and He will show you. He says that anyone who seeks His will find Him.
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:13.”
Here are the 3 steps which helped me stay focused and placed God first in all I do:
- Know God as your source of your life
Your life without Christ is meaningless. Surrender your life to Jesus, accept Him as your Lord and Savior if you have not. And as a Christian, see God as your only source, not the economy or how much money you have. Spend time with Him, have an intimate relationship with God.
Constantly check what is in your heart
What am I thinking about in my heart? Is it in line the purpose for my life? When I finally surrendered those areas in my life that I think it’s under my control, I began to realize that regardless of what happens in life, only one thing matters, I must live to worship and serve Him, for my life belongs to Him.
You have a purpose and potential
In the book of John 4:1-26, we read a story of a Samaritan woman who had an encounter with Jesus and her life was completely changed. She found her purpose and lived her potential.
Jesus told her about her life, that she has been divorced five times and currently living with another man who is not her husband. Jesus wasn’t there to shame her but to give her what she her soul has been longing for, a living water which will become to her a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. She realized her potential that day and evangelized her whole city to the Lord.
Being intentional about your growth and intimate relationship with Him through His Word and living for Him will bring you to that purpose your potential.