From an early age, we seek a purpose and earn an identity. No matter the person or age, there is a deep yearning in all of our hearts to matter, to do something with our lives, something bigger than us, something of eternal significance. It’s what we constantly strive for.
Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of young singles about finding their place. Initially, I balked at the idea. I definitely am not an expert, nor do I have all the answers. But I have a direction and I’m moving toward that end. I don’t control the outcomes, but I do control my commitment.
So I shared my story because it is the one area of my life where I am an expert (well…sometimes). If you desire to find your place/purpose in life, in writing, or in your career, here are a few pointers that have shaped my journey:
1) Start somewhere.
Realize that how God has wired you is perfect. Because you are an image-bearer, you are created uniquely with an ability to create, think, and impact. Don’t forfeit that! What do you need to do to reach your goal? Determine a course of action and take one step at a time.
I’ve heard an analogy of a person standing on a frozen lake with the thing they most desire waiting on the other side, but the person doesn’t realize that the ice is already cracking all around them. Their only option is to take one small, steady step at a time to reach their goal. You may have to avoid or change course because of cracks or weak spots, but forward movement will ALWAYS get you to the other side.
2) Allow experience to shape you.
Failure is inevitable. It’s how you weather it that counts. I received twelve grad school rejection letters before I identified the direction I needed to take. At first I cried with every closed-door. Before the last letter arrived, I began to ask the Lord, “What’s next?” Every moment of victory or defeat gives you an opportunity to speak into others’ struggles later on. Allow them to shape your character, your giftedness, and your calling.
3) Discover your giftings.
Every day when I wake up, I must choose to look at who I am in light of the great I AM. And He has gifted me uniquely, just like He has gifted you uniquely. Know who you are and how He’s wired you. Take personality tests, love language tests, StrengthsFinder, and a spiritual gifts test. Not only will they help you understand your tendencies, but these tests will help you shape well-rounded characters, as well. As you seek direction and dig into your talents and skills, ask yourself:
- What breaks my heart and baffles my mind?
- What stirs my affections for Christ?
- What passions and gifts has the Lord instilled in me?
- How and where can I use these for His glory?
- What’s my purpose?
Where the answers intersect, take action and develop those skills and passions.
4) Be faithful where you are.
Don’t miss the opportunities you currently have around you as you pursue what God has called you to. William Arthur Ward said, “There are three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, and sharing with others.” As a writer, your goal should be to care about people around you and allow that to shape how you care about your readers during the writing process. Budget time for writing and reading. And take time to live life in the company of those around you. It will improve your writing and help you make the most of every opportunity.
Finding our place in life has more to do with seeking His face than seeking our dreams. Start somewhere, allow experience to shape you, discover your giftings, and be faithful where you are until God moves you to the next step. Be faithful to steward your time, talents, and treasure, and expect big things to happen!
What steps have shaped your writing journey?