7 Reasons Why You Aren’t Living Your Purpose

You’re trying so hard, you’re committed, you have the best of intentions. So why do you feel so lost and question your purpose? Here are 7 pitfalls that stop us from living our full potential.

What is our purpose as Christ-followers? 

Our purpose as one who believes in Jesus will be different from what the world says our purpose should be.

The dictionary definition of purpose is the reason why something is done or created, or exists

Our purpose is to love and worship God. Everything we do should be for God’s glory. Our reason and why we were created is to worship God. 

A calling, however, is different. The dictionary definition of a calling is a strong urge toward a particular way of life. Our purpose is the same, but our calling is unique to each of us. 

Your calling isn’t necessarily your full-time job. Instead, your calling may come through your hobbies or relationships or your career. And your calling may change during your life. 

Colossians 3 23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23

7 Pitfalls When Trying to Live Your Purpose

Through our calling, we will live out our purpose. But, unfortunately, for many of us, this is where we get stuck for one reason or another. Here are seven different areas that may be holding you back from living out your purpose.

#1 Trying to Succeed On Your Own Abilities

Related: What is God’s Will for My Life?

Signs that you’re relying on your abilities alone:

  • Never asking others for help
  • Not praying for wisdom and direction
  • Don’t readily accept criticism and compliments 
  • Don’t have a humble attitude  
Proverbs 11 12
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:12

Related: 10 Bible Verses to Help You Find Contentment With Your Life

How to stop relying only on yourself:

  • Consider the areas where you are weak. Pray about who to ask for help in each of these areas.
  • Ask customers, family, or friends for feedback instead of waiting for it and dreading it. 

#2 Waiting until you’re 100% qualified or a life stage

Signs that you’re waiting for the wrong reasons:

  • Taking training after training but never implementing
  • Thinking a degree or certification is the only way to move forward
  • Want everything perfect before you begin
  • More concerned about the outcome than the process
  • Thinking you will start when the kids grow up, or you have a different job
Cooke
“God loves to be with us in all the small actions of building us up. It’s the process that makes us rich, not the outcome.” -Graham Cooke

Steps for moving forward:

  • Begin your next step regardless of where you are in your training or certification. Tell yourself it will be imperfect but will improve as you get more experience.
  • If you think it’s not the right time due to money or children, figure out one thing you can do now. It can be as simple as developing a 5-year plan or reading a book. 

#3 Taking matters into your own hands

Signs that you’re taking matters into your own hands:

  • You think God isn’t moving fast enough
  • You’re tired of waiting, so you force opportunities
  • You’re tempted to take a shortcut
Romans 8 25
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25

How to determine if you’re taking matters into your own hands:

  • Instead of looking for a specific result, consider if right now there is fruit from your passion. The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Related: The 5 Times Moses Questioned His Calling (And Why You Might Be Too!)

#4 Worried about what others think of you

Signs that you’re off track because of other people’s opinions:

  • You consider other’s opinions about you before you act
  • You feel the need to explain yourself to others even when they didn’t ask
  • You poll others before making a move
Chappell
“Fear of man is the enemy of the fear of the Lord. The fear of man pushes us to perform for man’s approval rather than according to God’s directives.” Paul Chappell

How to stop worrying about what others think:

  • Learn affirmations of your worthiness from Jesus and put them on repeat. 
  • Chances are, if you struggle with fear of others’ opinions in one area, you do in other areas of your life. Consider why or who you’re most concerned with.

#5 In it for the wrong reasons

Signs that you have the wrong reasons:

  • Your goal is more money or acceptance from someone or to prove something to someone.
  • Your “why” isn’t connected to God’s glory.
1 Tim 6 10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:10

Related: How Nehemiah Was Faithful Amidst Opposition to His Calling

Steps to determine if a reason worth working towards:

  • What is your “why”? If someone asked you today why you are pursuing your hobby or side business, what would you tell them in one sentence? 
  • “Make more money” is not wrong in itself, but if that is your only purpose, it doesn’t glorify God. 

#6 You’re not flexible

 Signs that you’re not flexible:

  • You have an unstoppable goal.
  • You leave no room for mistakes or time to grow.
  • Your passion interferes with other priorities in your life: children, career, community.
  • You have minimal downtime, or you feel like you’re striving.
Tony Robbins
“Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.”  -Tony Robbins

How to be more flexible in pursuit of your passion

  • Daily, check in with God for His direction
  • Ask God for wisdom 
  • Create a plan that has plenty of room for a change of direction and downtime

Related: How Do I Know if My Decision is God’s Will?

#7 You give up too quick

Signs that you give up quickly:

  • Your goal is more money or acceptance from someone or to prove something to someone
  • Your “why” isn’t connected to God’s glory
Josephson
“Don’t ask whether it is going to be easy. Ask whether it is worth it.” -Michael Josephson

How to not give up too quickly on your calling:

  • Prepare for the long haul
  • You should have a strong enough “why” to get you through failures
  • Find a supportive friend or family member to cheer you on 
7 Reasons Why You Aren\'t Living Your Purpose