Clarify Your Life Purpose

What makes life worthwhile is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance... -J. I. Packer

How many people do you know who have a vital purpose for their lives--an objective that grabs their imagination and calls forth their special talents? A more important question is: do you?

In my junior year of college, I did not have a clear purpose. I panicked from one major to another. I knew I wanted to do something worthwhile, but nothing seemed to fit. Eventually I wandered into a path that was right for me, but I wasted a lot of time and had some anxious moments.

This blog helps you draw a blueprint that will fit your life's dimensions. Your building materials are your past and present experiences, your hopes for the future, your relationships and your abilities. When you have gathered this information, you will be able to construct your own one-sentence purpose statement. You will relate to others better because you will feel more confident about why you are here and where you are going.

Defining Moments

To begin the process, think about moments that have defined who you are-memories that sadden or delight you. Defining moments may also include encouraging statements by family, teachers, or friends. You will be energized as you consider what has shaped you, what guides you now, and what you want your future to be like.

Introspection or self-examination might be a new skill for you, but try it. Grab your laptop or piece of paper and jot down your memories and hopes.

Your Past: What have been the five most defining moments in your life?

Your Present: What up to now has been your goal in life, if any?

Your Future: What do you want your future to be like?

Your answers make clear what has influenced you so far. But as you continue your process toward building a purpose or life mission statement, those answers will clarify who you want to be and the changes you need to make to reach your destination.

Governing Values

When you face a fork in the road, how do you know what direction to take? Values guide you. Values are like the North Star; they serve as a reliable point of reference. Fashions change, but the fixed reference that values give you provides far-reaching benefits:

* Clarity-values help you know what matters most.

* Focus-values help you know where you need to realign priorities.

* Discernment-values help you make the right choices.

So, what values are important to you? Honesty? Peace? Hope? Loyalty? To gain clarity about what you are passionate about, write down three to five values you want to govern your life. As you clarify these values, you reinforce their importance to you. You take a giant step toward discovering your purpose.

Key Roles and Relationships

Roles represent relationships-who you are in relation to others. In each relationship your responsibilities may differ. For example, you function differently as a friend than as an employee, team leader, parent, student, or spouse. It will help to jot down all your current roles.

Abilities and Strengths

Have you ever thought about what special talents you have, what you are really good at? What do other people say you do well? What do you most enjoy doing?

You are an extraordinary bundle of possibilities even though you might not be aware of them all. But the fact that you don't know everything about yourself doesn't mean you know nothing. You likely understand yourself better than most. You might be gifted in

a particular area or two-for example: Encourager; Peacemaker; Intellectual; Listener; Creative. Write down some of the strengthsyou think you have or people say you have.

Criteria for Your Purpose

So far you have thought about your defining moments, governing values, key roles, and abilities. This thinking is foundational. Now on this foundation you can build a purpose statement that will inspire you.

As you prepare to write down your ideas in our next blog, first check all the following guidelines you want to characterize your purpose statement.

* Is consistent with who you are and who you want to be.

* Defines the significant difference you want to make.

* Frees you from unimportant details to do what you find liberating.

* Rewards you internally regardless of any financial payment you receive.

* Motivates you even when no one notices or seems to be impressed.

* Enables you to experience life fully.

What difference would it make for you to have a clear purpose in your life? God Bless,

Paul W. Swets

P.S. FINDING HAPPINESS BLOGS are excerpts from the new book, Finding Happiness. For information, go to .

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