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 scrambling to find it. You know that you have a calling, you just can't quite discern what it is. Well, then this guide is for you.
A couple of years ago, I quit going to bible study. Cold turkey. (To be clear, I didn't quit forever, just for a season when I was overwhelmed and anxious and in need of quiet space).
For the first time since I was in grade school, I wasn't meeting for a mid-week chat centered around the scriptures.
Obviously, I felt bad about it because I didn't want the other women to be disappointed or hurt by my decision.
But I needed those two hours each week in the worst way. I needed quiet, I needed some room to breathe, I needed to hear from Jesus and not just from the people who studied him.
(To see some of my favorite Bible verses for self-care, download this free guide).
The people-pleaser I once had been was too tired to worry overmuch about what they all thought. "I've done everything they've ever expected me to do; if they write me off for this, then they probably aren't my people anyway," I decided. (Note: they didn't).
Do you know what I did instead?
I took a bubble bath.
And while I soaked (without a kid or a husband or a friend needing something from me), I prayed. I listened to worship music. I reflected.
Still, I look back on that as one of the sweetest seasons of my life. A scheduled weekly bubble bath brought me closer to Jesus than I had ever been before.
First it helped me overcome my crippling need for approval. Later, it provided a blank space every single week for my soul to absorb the truths that I had always studied, but never accepted as my own.
We struggle to find purpose because we are too busy.
Are you a yes-girl? Or can you give a confident no when someone asks you to do something for them?
How many times in a week do you wish that you could back out, cancel, or quit something you committed to?
How many of those things are good things, even admirable things?
Author Randy Alcorn writes, "I must say no to people concerning the vast majority of good things they invite me to, in order to be available to say yes to God concerning that small number of things He has truly called me to."
Doesn't it seem silly that we create all these extra-curricular religious events, engage with every single one of them until our bodies and souls are exhausted, and then wonder why we still don't feel all that personal with God?
We are so busy engaging with every good opportunity that presents itself that we are straight-up missing our calling from the Lord.
The only way to FIND YOUR PURPOSE is BY QUITTING EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T IT
Before I can buy more jeans, I have to drop a few pairs off at the thrift store - otherwise I wouldn't have 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 Goodwill, clearing the busyness out of your life might hurt just a little.
(Need help? Download my free Self Care Starter Kit to start saying no to all the things that are stressing you out, wasting your time, and keeping you from living the life you were created to live.)
Once you've done it, then you'll have space for a new pair of jeans, perfect for who you are today, not for who you wish you could be on another day.
If you want your life to feel purposeful, try clearing these activities off of your calendar. Maybe not forever, but for now.
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 quit for awhile until you find the volunteer project you were made to do.
2. Attending every church event or gathering
Don't kick me out of the church.
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.
I hear from a lot of women who are searching their Bibles so deeply and thoroughly that they are deaf to the holy spirit. These 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.
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, home 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, my friend. Your time is valuable and other people who are more skilled than you are waiting to use their gifts to serve you. Let them.
MAKE SPACE FOR WHAT IS PURPOSEFUL, NOT FOR WHAT IS SHAME-FULL
Just because you are good at something doesn't mean you have to do it.
Just because someone asks you for a favor doesn't mean you have to grant it.
Just because everyone else does it this way doesn't mean you have to as well.
Try saying no for awhile and see if your purpose becomes clearer to you.
Don't forget to download your copy of the self-care starter kit and start eliminating the busyness that's holding you back from the life god created you for.
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