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You’re trying so hard, and you’re committed, and 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 differ from what the world says our purpose should be.
The dictionary definition of purpose is why something is done, 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.
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
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
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:12
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
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 improve as you gain 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
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 there is fruit from your passion right now. The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
#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
How to stop worrying about what others think:
- Learn affirmations of your worthiness from Jesus and put them on repeat.
- Chances are, if you fear 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.
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
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.
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
#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
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