Our purpose is not a secret written inside a fortune cookie or a secret branded deep in our soul that requires years of searching to find. It’s actually not a secret at all. It’s more of an intersection, plainly marked once we can see the signs.
For years I’ve had this refrain in my head that states, “If you were a really good person, you would go tend the starving orphans in Africa.” Then I’d wonder if that were truly my “purpose.”
The plight of the orphans in Africa is a world challenge that touches my heart. I could drop everything in my life and go find a way to serve that challenge. I’m sure there would be many ways to use my skills of writing, communication and willingness to do whatever is called for. I could make that my intersection, my purpose.
But, there are many intersections and choosing that one would be like signing up to do a triathalon if I didn’t know how to swim, ride a bike or run more than a short block. I need a purpose closer to home, closer to my current skills and talents. Then, perhaps someday, I will approach that intersection and know that it is now the right purpose.
Or, perhaps not. Perhaps that little voice is just a distraction that creates inaction. By focusing on a purpose that is too big, too far beyond my current scope, I just feel overwhelmed and quit looking altogether. Far better to find a humbler purpose that I can do now, today and tomorrow.
The perfect purpose for any of us is the intersection of a service opportunity and our own unique talents, skills and passion. We can go searching the world for the shining intersection or we can look around and ask, “What needs me? Who needs what I am uniquely able to give?”
Purpose is about service ... serving the world, serving those we love, serving ourselves, serving the creative force we sometimes call God, Allah, Yahweh, or, simply, the Universe. We too often think our PURPOSE has to be noble, selfless, and sacrificing when actually our purpose is to simply put our gifts into action in a way that creates benefits for the world and our self.