Ten Tips for Finding Your Purpose – A Spiritual Practice
Who am I? Why am I here? What is my spiritual contribution to this world?
Three very deep questions that if we are honest, every human at one time or another faces. Finding your purpose is an ongoing, ever-evolving spiritual practice and one we will be exploring together on Tending the Holy Thursdays in January.
Today let’s look at tips to consider when finding your purpose and ways you might explore to identify your deepest desire. Next week I will share some quotes to ponder then finish the month with some lessons learned as we grow with this practice in our spiritual journey.
The Spiritual Practice of Finding Your Purpose – Ten Tips to Test
- Story: What is your story? If you were to write your life so far, what would you title each chapter? Who are the characters, the settings, the plot, tensions, transitions, turning points, and resolutions? How do you want your story to end? Disney would have the story visualize on a storyboard, showing actions, emotions, and details. What would your storyboard look like? What narrative do you tell others at a party or when you meet someone new? What do you say to yourself internally that nobody hears? Perhaps filling out your spiritual autobiography would give you insight. I have created a free resource guide on how to write one at the end of this post. Just click on the button to get it. If you are already subscribed to Healthy Spirituality, you will then receive it in your email. If you don’t please let me know. If you don’t get this blog regularly, just add your email and you will get the guide.
- Ponder the turning points on your life. Often we can’t see transition lessons while we are living them; it is only in revisiting them do we gain wisdom from that experience. When you look at your story: what is unique? All of us are different, so what has and continues to form you? What strengths do you keep seeing in your life or now just recognizing? Your entire life journey so far including your upbringing, challenges, your hard learned lessons, your experiences, achievements, and gifts, are indicators of your purpose. Listen to them.
- Rules for Self-Discovery:
- What we want most?
- What we think about most?
- How we use our money?
- What we do with our leisure time?
- The company we enjoy?
- Who and what we admire?
- What we laugh at.
— A.W. Tozer
- Patterns and Surprises. Take out your journal and reread it – harvest its wisdom. Look for patterns, deep cries, and recurring prayers. What does it tell you about what you are seeking? What surprised you? (Often keys to our purpose is hidden in patterns and surprises) Ask God for the eyes to see what he is telling you and where he is leading. What as you read stirs your spirit? That whisper may be quiet – listen for its gentle voice.
- What did you want to do as a child? Ok, maybe an astronaut is no longer viable but what in that type of work drew you? Guess what I wanted to be? A writer! I wrote about this circular path to where I am now in this post about what will you be when you grow up.
- What makes you come alive? The thought to ponder is, “if I knew I would never fail, what would I dream to do?” What feeds your spirit? Gives you energy? What do you love to do?
- What bring tears to your eyes? What breaks the heart of God and you at the same time?
You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game.
You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure.
Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears,
it is well to pay the closest attention.
- Write out an identify statement. I have learned from successful people such as Michael Hyatt to complete a sentence about what I do. Filling in the blanks of who I am and what I have to offer forces me to find the words, the sense of direction and pinpoints to that desire that I just can’t quite grasp
I am ___________________________________
I help ___________________________________ (who do I help, my target audience)
Do/understand/develop_____________________________________________________ (unique contribution or solution)
Here is my statement so far:
I am a writer, speaker, spiritual director and Associate in Ministry. I help people of faith to discover and explore faith practices and wisdom stories so they can have a vibrant relationship with God and live a healthy spirituality.
- Curiosity. I think there is a power to following what interests you. What section of the bookstore do you go to first? What catches your attention on the news? What flashes across the internet that fascinates you? Ask questions. Explore. Observe.
The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity.
- What if? Dare to ask this question many of us avoid. What if? What if you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new? What if you could do what you really wanted? What if you couldn’t fail? What if I learned something new? What if…?
- Listen – get away from the noise of the world. Seek stillness, solitude and silence and listen to God and to yourself. Maybe you need to go for a walk alone. Attend a multiple day silent retreat. Talk with a trusted friend or spiritual director and listen to your words, your longings, your desires. You know yourself the best – the answer is there within you. Then practice paying attention. Do certain words in books or in conversation jump into your heart and bounce around like a million wild bubbles? I knew I had to quit my newspaper job for several months before I actually took that leap. The final decision came from a discussion with a friend who related to me the story of two of her friends who waited until retirement to take a vacation. Once retired, they both became sick and were unable to go anyplace. I left that day with the question: Do I want to wake up in two years regretting what I haven’t done due to working so much for other people and not on my own dreams? I knew the answer.
Oops – that is 11 tips. Surprise – you got an extra!!
Remember finding your purpose is a lifelong process. Our soul’s purpose is to wrestle with the question – who I am – as part of its formation here as a human. Be gentle with yourself and keep discovering and exploring.
Remember if you would like a free copy of the Spiritual Biography Resource Guide just click the button here. And invite your friends and family to join in our discussion here on Healthy Spirituality by following the blog and sharing it on social media. Thanks so much and blessings on your digging for the treasures in your heart.
Click Here to Receive the Spiritual Autobiography Resource Guide
What has helped you find your purpose?