years, I lived on autopilot. I ate, breathed, shopped, studied
- and generally went through life - without knowing why.
I made decisions based on how I felt at the time.
the deeper questions of life haunted me. "Why am I
here?" I wondered. "Who am I? Where do I want
to go? And how can I get there?"
in coffee shops, perused bookstores, read widely, and even
attended university, but the answers continued to elude
me. Yet, inside, was the hope that one day I would know.
Statement for Purpose
of meaning, I found myself in good company. "The search
for the purpose of life is one of the deepest of our experiences
as human beings," says Os Guinness in The Call: Finding
and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life.
thousands of years, the most brilliant minds--and also the
simplest--have stumbled over this question.
in our hearts, we all want to find and fulfill a purpose
bigger than ourselves," Guinness adds. "For each
of us the real purpose is personal and passionate: to know
what we are to do and why."
point came in my search when I realized that at the end
of my life, I would not be asked, "Why were you not
Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela or Princess Diana?"
But instead, "Why were you not Idelette?"
Is It, This Life Purpose?
each person is unique, from DNA to fingerprints, it's reasonable
to believe that each of us also has a purpose, a reason
for being, that is uniquely personal.
thinker Søren Kierkegaard wrote in his Journal: "The
thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wants
me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is true for
me, to find the idea for which I can live or die."
doesn't necessarily involve grand ideas or revolutionary
inventions. Instead, it often springs from a commitment
to be faithful in even the most undervalued tasks.
who met at the recent State of the World Forum determined
that the most important jobs in the world are parenting,
teaching and healing," writes Laurie Beth Jones in
The Path. "If you are parenting, teaching or healing
others, consider your mission among the most important in
the world." Knowing and fulfilling your life purpose
brings you to a place of enthusiasm and excitement. It is
the best place for you to be.
how do you get there?
Who You Are
with the heart, for the spring of life arises from the heart,"
reminds Meister Eckhart. Your purpose is the essence of
who you are. It is the reason you are alive.
your purpose, you first have to know who you are. Don't
let culture, background, wealth, talents or intelligence
limit you in your search for purpose. Rather, look at these
as clues to why you were born in such a place and at such
12 years old when I first said I wanted to be a journalist.
I loved word games--Scrabble, Boggle, crossword puzzles.
And I loved reading magazines.
my 17th birthday, my best friend gave me a book about launching
into the British publishing industry. Although it had little
practical value to me at the time, this gift expressed her
confidence in my ability to fulfill my dream. I chose to
believe her and hid that vote of confidence in my heart
for the times I would need encouragement along the way.
as I found my seat behind a computer in the newsroom, something
inside me clicked. I knew, for the first time in my life,
I was doing what I was meant to do. Best of all, I couldn't
believe I was getting paid to do it!
from my past, and the fulfillment I experienced in my job,
helped take me one step further. I wanted to find a golden
thread to tie my life together.
a personal mission statement, I took a workshop led by Laurie
Beth Jones, based on her bestseller, The Path. After three
days of soul-searching, I boldly stood in front of the room
of my fellow Path facilitator trainees and said, "My
mission statement is to embrace and communicate good news."
so good. In one simple sentence I could tell the world what
I was really about. This statement covered my personal life,
my work life, my social life and my spiritual life.
fact, by the end of day three, each participant had a short,
succinct, powerful and inspiring mission statement in hand.
Not only were they written down on paper, but they were
also imprinted on our hearts.
a glimpse of the bigger picture, I suddenly understood that
my job at the newspaper was more than a job, or even a career.
It was part of fulfilling my life purpose. I injected good
news into the paper. I pursued stories about people who
made a difference in their communities and in the world.
And I shared these stories with readers, hoping to create
in them, too, a readiness to follow their hearts and their
dreams. And to take action.
Where Do You Want to Go?
lived with my mission statement, I knew it worked. It inspired
me. I understood the bigger picture, but I realized I also
needed more concrete goals. I wanted to know where I was
going. It was time for vision.
the mission statement is centered around the process of
what you need to be doing, a vision statement is the end
result of what you will have done," says Laurie Beth
Jones. "All significant changes and inventions begin
a time of deliberate solitude on Borocay Island in the Philippines,
I wrote down my vision statement. "Imagine a world
in which everything is possible," I told myself. After
three days, what I came up with was a picture of my ideal.
It covered all aspects of my life and included many details
and some challenges. With my vision statement in hand, I
had a much clearer picture of where my path was heading.
realized the most important part, and yet also the most
difficult part of fulfilling a life purpose is actually
doing it. "
day, and in this time, we, too, are called upon to act,"
says Jeff Walling in Daring to Dance with God. "We,
too, are called to live out dreams and follow visions. Like
those saints of old, we are required to make some leaps
We cannot wait for certainty and the assurance
that everything will work out like we would like it to.
We must take risks if we are to live out our dreams."
only in the realization of set dreams and goals that purpose
rings true. Of course, knowing your life purpose takes time.
It requires an open mind and a willingness to listen and
learn. But once you know what you are meant to do, you can
meet the challenge head on. Fulfilling your life purpose
requires commitment and perseverance. It won't be easy.
And yet, what better hope than reaching the end of your
life, and being able to say: I have lived fully. I lived,
McVicker is the editor of the 2000 edition of Women Today
magazine, from which this article is reprinted: www.womentodaymagazine.com
her first personal vision statement, Idelette
boldly stated she would be a part of a
global good news magazine. She had no
idea that three years later she would
be embracing and communicating good news
from a global perspective with Women Today
magazine. She's currently working as an
editor with Campus Crusade for Christ,
Canada and recently co-authored the prayer
journal "Discovering God's Heart for Suffering
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