Have you ever thought you were on the right track towards living out your purpose when suddenly you were turned towards a different direction?

Maybe you started college studying one thing when things switched up and changed your career trajectory.  Perhaps you felt led to pursue full-time ministry when God clearly directed you to take up ministry in the work force.

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Over the weekend our family was reminded that re-purposing happens.  On Friday, we received an e-mail telling us that our most recent Seeing Eye puppy, Irwin, had been dropped out of the training program due to a health issue (faulty eye ducts).  Obviously, Irwin needs to have healthy eyes in order to be a Seeing Eye dog.

When we received the message, we had a choice to make – to take Irwin back or to let him go through the adoption program that The Seeing Eye sponsors.  With a new puppy arriving at our house later this afternoon (a “C” puppy – meaning his name will start with a “C”), we made the decision to allow Irwin to go to another family.  Irwin will be re-purposed.  Instead of being a Seeing Eye guide dog, Irwin will be a “forever dog” for a well deserving family.

When our purpose changes, it can be sad, scary, and confusing.  It’s sad to leave behind the path we had been on, and it’s scary to leave what we knew in exchange for the unknown.  It’s also confusing – why wasn’t this purpose more obvious from the beginning?

But a change in purpose can also be eye-opening and exciting.  When we’re truly on the right path towards following our purpose, it’s like a light switch just went on.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

I’m in the process of reading The Connecting Church 2.0: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community by Randy Frazee.  In the book, Frazee talks about the importance of finding authentic community.  He shares about discovering our purpose (or story) by first knowing God’s purpose and story.  Once we understand God’s story, we can move to “our story” – the purpose of the church and community.  Only when we have an understanding of these stories can we begin to understand and follow our purpose and story.

Like the first believers in Jerusalem, I must belong, grow, and serve.  I must fully participate as a member of a Christian community right where I live.  I must engage in a journey of learning to think, act, and be like Jesus.  I must actively use my life, my gifts, and my resources to serve others.  (p. 73).

Your journey maybe unique, but it involves community.  As you seek out your own purpose, I would challenge you to:

  1. Follow God.  Read His Word.  Explore and understand God and His characteristics.
  2. Plug into a church community.  Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you were created for community.  Your community will help you discover a purpose that goes beyond yourself.
  3. Explore your areas of passion.  God has given you unique gifts, talents, and interests that will point you towards your purpose.  Don’t be afraid to try something new and different.
  4. Trust in God.  In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are reminded that God will make our paths straight when we put our trust in Him.
  5. Fight discouragement.  God has a plan for you!

“For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the Lord,“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

What’s your purpose?  How are you seeking out your purpose?  Have you ever felt like your purpose had changed?