This week, something interesting happened during a staff conversation over the "Teams That Thrive" book by Ryan T. Hartwig. As a team, we worked through an exercise where we needed to write our purpose statement. I wrote my purpose as a ministry leader at my church. I read off what I had, realizing I had misinterpreted the original question. We decided to wordsmith my answer to get it to answer the actual question, "Who Am I? What is my Purpose?" One of my co-workers said, "Who are you?" In my head, without saying it out loud, I remember so clearly saying, "Who do you need me to be?" It startled me. This is the first time I have caught myself actually asking that question.
I don't need to be what other people NEED me to be...I just need to be...me!
What ensued after that internal thought was a little bit of panic as I felt the floor come out from under me. It reminded me of a time when I was in the ocean in St. Augustine. I was standing just knee-deep in feeling safe, but there was a moment a wave came and pulled the sand out from under me. I fell backward, trying to hold myself up, laughing but also frustrated because I wasn't planning on going for that kind of swim. I felt very unsteady as my feet sank with sand being pulled away from where I thought I was safe.
How often have I done that? Do I know how to answer the question of who I am? Do I have a purpose statement that doesn't involve what other people need me to be? I scrambled as I tried to stand back up in this conversation, trying to hide the fact that I was getting swept up in the rip current. Then what surprised me even more than catching the thought was that I was honest. "I think I am in the process of still figuring this out in this season."
After some reflection, I realized I was basing my purpose on people's ideals versus God. What is my highest purpose that God is calling me to? How can I use my talents, gifts, and treasure to glorify Him? I know I won't ever get that perfect, but I can trust that pursuing to know and walk with God is one of the wisest things I can do. He is my safety in a rough sea that I can plant my feet with surety even when the sands of life might be pulling me off balance.
Do you struggle with pursuing your purpose with people over God?