GOD DOES NOT WANT MORE FROM YOU
I have this theory about finding your purpose: I believe that most people are missing out on their purpose because they are too busy. And honestly? I believe that most Christians miss their truest calling, the things we are created to do, because we believe that God wants us to be busy. And so we create all these spiritual events and opportunities and we engage with every single one of them until our souls are exhausted and then we wonder why we don't feel better about our spirituality.
Please hear this, sister. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean that you SHOULD. Finding your purpose is not about finding what things you are able to do, or even what things you are great at. The question you need to answer is this: What was I made to do? And you will never find out what you were made to do unless you quit some stuff.
Bob Goff quits something every Thursday, because "you can't change much if you don't quit much." It's a revolutionary practice, don't you agree? In an era that celebrates always pushing through, always striving, always completing, quit is a dirty word on the preacher's lips.
FIND YOU PURPOSE (BY QUITTING EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T IT)
So why would I encourage you to quit, at just the moment that you are searching for something else to add into your life? Because you are searching, aren't you? You know that you're missing something, that there is some incredibly essential piece of your puzzle yet to be connected in to the rest of your life, and you're searching as hard as you can to find it. You know that you have this calling, you just can't quite discern what it is.
Before I can buy more jeans, I have to drop a few pairs off at the thrift store-otherwise i would have no space in my closet for more. Before you can live into exactly what God made you to do, you're going to have to clear some clutter. And just like taking that perfect pair of jeans that stopped fitting three babies ago to the thrift store, clearing the busyness out of your life might hurt just a little.
If you want to find your purpose, sister, then try clearing these activities off of your calendar.
Gasp. But seriously, stop being the girl who signs up for everything. God already adores you, he isn't keeping count of how many homeless people you serve at the soup kitchen. Volunteering is an incredible thing, of course. But maybe you should it quit it for awhile until you find the volunteer project you were made to do.
2. Attending every church event or gathering
Again, God already adores you. And again, Christian community is an irreplaceable element of faith. But you aren't earning God's love by showing up for Sunday service, Wednesday prayer meeting, Tuesday night small group, Thursday morning MOPS, and that service project on Saturday. Trim it down to the one most life-giving gathering and take some time for personal reflection. You can't hear the Lord very well if there is a clamoring racket (even a spiritual one) all around you.
3. Scrapbooking (or otherwise attempting to satisfy a Proverbs-31-Woman Complex)
Please stop this. The scrapbooking, the crafts, the whimsical seascape in your preschooler's lunchbox, the curated birthday parties, the hand-sewn wardrobes, the salads in a jar that your husband confuses for the kids' science project. You are not a better mom/wife/sister/daughter/friend/christian woman for any of this. You have my permission to let it go.
4. Play dates (or any other date that you would rather say no to)
You are not obligated to meet up with every person or group who invites you; this includes Facebook invites, multi-level marketing parties, and your best friend's cousin's birthday bash. Simply being invited to something is not reason enough to attend. If you are in a season of soul-searching or listening for the Lord, you need this kind of margin.
I'm not talking about crafts. Maybe you need a babysitter one day a week, a housekeeper on occasion, a tax professional, a mechanic, a doctor, a therapist, a teacher, a chef, a chauffeur. Outsource, sister-girl. Your time is valuable and other people who are more skilled than you are waiting to use their gifts to serve you. Let them.
6. Bible study
Don't kick me out of the church. I hear from a lot women who are searching their Bibles so deeply and thoroughly that they are deaf to the holy spirit. Those women are afraid to admit that they are tired of reading words that they don't understand and frustrated with a God who won't answer them. The Bible is so precious, but only when the spirit breathes life into it. Allow yourself the freedom to become a friend of Jesus, not just a student of the Bible.
That's a shocker of a list, I know. Each of those activities are great things, but only when you come at them from a place of purpose, not a sense of shame.
MAKE SPACE FOR WHAT IS PURPOSEFUL, NOT FOR WHAT IS SHAME-FULL
A couple of years ago, I stopped going to my ladies' bible class on Wednesday nights. I felt bad about it because I didn't want the leader or the other women to be disappointed with me or hurt by my decision. But you know what? God doesn't command my busyness, He commands my heart. And I couldn't give God my heart when I was flirting with Shame. It was hard to say no to that group for awhile, but it was an exercise of freedom that I had to embrace; it was my way of breaking up with Shame. And now? Now I meet up with my girls for coffee and bible study every Wednesday night. Now I can easily say no to the things that I wasn't created for, because Shame doesn't boss me anymore. I am confident about my purpose and most importantly, certain of my Father's love.
I create a board for each new year on Pinterest. I save quotes, articles, and other inspiration to keep me focused on the things the Lord is leading me to each year. You can see my 2017 board here.