Discovering Purpose: ‘The ‘Why’ Behind Your What’ (Part 1 of 4)

I walked past that piece of rubbish every day.

I assumed someone else would pick it up. But every time I walked out of the house it remained in exactly the same spot. So one morning I finally took some ownership and picked up that piece of rubbish to fulfil my ‘keep Australia beautiful’ obligations!

In the same way I assumed someone else would take responsibility for that piece of rubbish, so too do we wait for someone else to ‘tap us on the shoulder’ to reveal our life’s purpose. The tragedy is that while ‘waiting’, we often miss the very opportunities that God has placed right in front of us.

But the story was very different for Nehemiah. He recognised that he was positioned for purpose and took responsibility to be the answer for the very problems (or the rubbish!) that he saw. By looking at his life we can learn four keys to discovering our own purpose:

The first key to discovering purpose is to understand the ‘why behind your what’.

When Nehemiah’s brother visited him from Jerusalem, he heard about the heartbreaking living conditions of those in the city. When he this, he ‘sat down and wept, and mourned for days’ (Nehemiah 1:4).

Nehemiah was moved with compassion by what he ‘saw’. God allowed Nehemiah to see the heartache and brokenness of his people in Jerusalem, and it catapulted him into action. This was the beginning of his purpose and destiny.

In the same way, God will often allow us to see the gaps or perceive a lack that others don’t. Maybe you are moved with compassion for a great need, filled with rage at injustice, or have noticed an area at work, at school, or in your world that needs to improve. If you have, then you are very close to discovering the ‘why behind your what’ in this season.

This doesn’t have to define what you do for the rest of your life. Picking up that price of rubbish didn’t lock me in to being a garbage collector for life, but it did give me purpose for that moment.

Don’t wait for the big thing, but begin with what you see in front of you today. As you do, you are well on your way to discovering purpose!


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