Why You Should Know Your "Why"
One of my first jobs out of college was at an after-school program where I taught a character development class. It was my first "big girl" job, and I was a bit intimidated. I was also trying to teach middle schoolers the importance of having good character. Can you even imagine? The fact that it is difficult to get 6th and 7th graders interested in character development is a surprise to no one. It took creativity and patience to get my students to pay attention, let alone show interest in the topic. I wrote and taught a lot of lessons during my time at the after-school program. I have forgotten most of them, but there is one particular lesson that I still remember. In fact, It has become an anthem for me. I can't tell you the specifics of that class, but I can tell you the lesson I learned. This all-important lesson was about knowing your why.
I’ve always been driven by the idea of living with purpose, maybe it’s because I grew up in the era of Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Life. I remember as a high school student, I poured over The Purpose Driven Life book drinking in the Truth that I had a purpose. Having a purpose meant my life mattered- that God created me with a plan in mind.
And it's true. We were all created by God to be a part of His grand plan. Our roles are different, but the ultimate purpose is the same.
As Christians, the ultimate why of our lives is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:7-10, ESV
Jesus saved us, redeemed us, and called us to a new life in Him! As His children, we are called to emulate Him and to bring others into the family of God. This relationship is the foundational why on which every other why is built.
Jesus also tells us what we are to do with this redeemed life.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37, ESV
This command should drive us to live our lives with unbridled love for God and for people.
Calling: A Secondary Why
Not only are we all called as believers to live for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we are also called to accomplish that goal through the unique passions and gifts God has placed in each of us. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (ESV).” There are desires and longings deep in your heart that were lovingly placed there by your creator. Let’s call these passions our secondary why. These are the hands and feet that will help us accomplish our ultimate or foundational why. The Gospel of Jesus is spread as Christians step into their unique callings. God has placed a few deep passions in my heart. 1) I am passionate about serving people, specifically women, in hard situations. 2) I have a love for God’s Word and a desire to see women embrace the Truth of God’s word. 3) I long to be married and have a family that serves Jesus together. God has placed these desires in my heart, cultivating them throughout my life. They’re a secondary why and are built on my foundational why.
Living Out My Why
When I was young, I spent a lot of time asking God what He wanted me to do with my life. Remember, I love having a purpose! I thought all I needed was for God to reveal His plans for my life. God, where am I suppose to go to college? God, what career path do you want me to take? God, who in the world am I supposed to marry?
I thought I needed answers. If I just had a roadmap, everything would be fine. What I really needed to know was my why. The answers to my questions were much deeper than simply, “Go to Brewton-Parker College.” The answer was, “Seek me" (Matthew 16:33) and "Trust me" (Proverbs 16:9).” I’ve followed Jesus for many years and he has yet to give me a roadmap. But He has been faithful to lead and guide me, as I have surrendered to His will. Through the years God has led me. I've followed Him where I believe He wanted me to go to college, I've worked in the places He's led me, and well, I’m still waiting for Him to tell me who in the world to marry (wink). In the process, I have learned more about the heart of Jesus, and His desire for us to simply follow Him. God knows where He wants you and when He wants you there. You and I don’t have to know the answers. He is kind enough to lead us, though not always with answers.
What Is Your Why?
So, do you know your why? If you're a Christian reading this, I hope your number one why is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you're not a Believer, but you are seeking answers, you can learn more about connecting with God HERE.
We start with this foundation and follow God's lead from there. What are those unique things in you (passions, desires, longings, and gifts) that you know God has placed in your heart- those things you know serve a greater purpose? What are those things? And are you walking them out? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment, and let’s chat! Disclaimer: If you've read this post and feel stressed because you don’t believe God has given you a purpose, let me stop you there. This is a process, and it looks different for all of us. God is not holding out on you. Keep seeking Him and laying your heart before Him. God will reveal His plan little by little. None of us ever get the whole picture. We wouldn’t be able to handle it. Callings shift and change. Focus on today, and let God reveal His plans to you in His time.
Verses For Further Study:
Proverbs 16:9, ESV: The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Matthew 6:33, ESV: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Psalm 139 (full chapter)