To figure out your purpose, it’s best to start where you are NOW.
These questions and suggestions are meant to get you started. It’s best if you take time to write down observations or “aha” moments so you can review them later.
- Do you recharge best when you’re alone or when you’re with people (introvert or extrovert)?
- Are you most comfortable with one close friend or do you love knowing everyone on a surface level?
- Do you like to focus on tasks or people?
- Do you prefer – or loathe – routines?
Who is in your community of family, friends, and acquaintances.
God made us for relationships – with Him and with people. To be loved and to love.
Through relationships, God creates ripples of goodness that flow from His heart out into the world around you. He created you to bring hope, grace, and truth to lost, lonely, and confused hearts.
- Who are you closest with?
- Who would you enjoy getting to know?
A couple side notes that I wish someone would have told me when I was a kid:
- If you’re a minor, it is NOT your responsibility to fix adults’ problems.
- If someone in your life is not treating you appropriately, please get help. It is NOT your fault and it is NOT ok for them to keep treating you that way. If you tell someone and they don’t help you, tell someone else.
- If you are being bullied, maybe this article on Bullying will help.
What are some things you already know you should do? These may seem mundane, but they matter. Fulfilling your responsibilities encourages others, develops your character, and also demonstrates that you can be trusted.
- Do it. Schoolwork, chores, being on time.
- Now, go a step further… Pray for people, choose to be careful with your words, be kind, and patient.
Skills and abilities
What can you do fairly well? What are willing to keep improving at?
- Are you in a club? What skills have you learned there?
What are you good at… and willing to keep improving?
- Do you play the violin?
- Know how to make a wheelchair ramp?
- Have an attention to detail and love grammar?
Know the history of your town?
- Do you teach younger students how to dance?
- Paint anything and everything: faces, canvases, walls?
- Making things?
If you have an ability that you know you’re good at – but you come into a season that you do not enjoy it…
- Give it time before you completely give up on that ability! One day you may find your special ability introduces you to another skill that you never would’ve known otherwise! Music was my entry into mixing live sound through church, which I thoroughly enjoy and has deepened my relationships with some amazing people!
- Mix it up! Practice differently, find a new use or niche for that skill, take a short break and revisit it (a week or a whole sabbatical), wean back the time you invest until you’re absolutely sure whether you want to keep the ability or let it die. I know of a singer who’s heart wasn’t into singing anymore, so she made a career change. Being out of the professional music scene has renewed her love of life and she now uses her ability to bless others, rather than depending on it to support her family.
What do you like to do? What are your wanting to try? Music, code, sports, writing, debate, history, woodworking, science, theater, archery…
- What do you think about when you daydream or lie awake at night?
- When you are done with your responsibilities, what do you spend most of your doing? Why? Does that activity give you a sense of meaning?
- Is there something else you’d rather be doing?
- Do you really enjoy this activity, or are you simply doing what everyone else says they do?
- Is there a new interest or club you’d like to try, but you’re afraid of what others will say?
What stirs you up inside? Do you ever see a need and want to be part of the answer to that need? These questions could help you recognize glimpses of the ‘future you’:
- Have you seen something happen around you that makes you incredibly emotional? Angry? Sad?
- Do you find yourself obsessing over a need or problem you see? Maybe it keeps you up at night.
- Do you consider what you possibly could do about a need?
- Is there a topic that gets you excited or makes you want to jump into action?
- Do you have ideas to make something better than it already is?
- Is there something you’ve noticed that perplexes you – like a puzzle you simply must finish – but you aren’t sure how?
- Maybe you’ve had some moments when you just knew you were at the right place at the right time, doing exactly what you were supposed to do. Write down what happened. That may be a clue for you!
Take note of needs you notice or something you feel compelled to do something about. Examples to get you thinking:
- A kid on the bus seems so lonely and sad. Does she have any friends?
- That one friend seems distant suddenly. What’s bothering him?
- An elderly veteran lives two doors down. No one visits. I wonder how he’s doing.
- A classmate has cancer and misses a lot of school. Her friends miss her, and she is getting behind in her schoolwork.
- There are a lot of homeless people in my area of town. Do they get meals anywhere? What are their stories? Do they want to be homeless or do they really need help?
- A family who used to sit in front of us every week at church hasn’t been there for a few weeks. Are they OK?
- The park around the corner hasn’t been mowed, but my parents said that the town doesn’t have money to fix the town mower. Kids would use the park if it was mowed.
- Did the single mom next door really say she would visit your church if she had some help getting the kids ready on Sunday mornings?
These questions hopefully got you thinking about what’s so unique about you. That’s a good step in the right direction!