In his book, The Call, Os Guinness observes that for the highly modern parts of the world, these words from Søren Kierkegaard are particularly urgent:
The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wants me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.Guinness, The Call, 3
But why is the issue of finding my purpose such a hot topic these days?
The answer is mostly related to the vast options available to us in post-modern society. It is no longer the case that an adult enters into a career path with the intention of staying there until retirement. We have many options and with options comes the question of, “Which one is right for me?”
Also contributing to this issue is the departure of our society from a single answer for the purpose of life. Guinness writes, “As modern people, we have too much to live with and too little to live for.” (The Call, 4)
While we may have lots of options and opportunities to fill our lives with things to own and do, we have very little in terms of a fulfilling purpose for which to live.
So, what is the answer?
The purpose for all created beings, made in the image of God, is to fulfill that which our Creator has created us for. In other words, we must know our Creator before we can know ourselves.
Any attempt to fulfill the purpose for which we are created will fall flat unless it is done in partnership with God, and by the leading of His Spirit.
What Is My Calling?
Living with purpose and meaning requires an idea of God’s calling for us individually. Before you get into discovering your calling, understand what it means to be called. Here is Os Guinness’s definition:
Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.The Call, 4
Guinness is saying that to be called is to live with complete devotion to what God is doing in the world around us. We cannot know this calling unless we are in tune with the work of God, which requires an attentiveness to the Spiritual realm.
What Do I Do Next?
The simple answer is to pray.
What this looks like is taking dedicated time each day to quiet your mind, read a small portion of Scripture (I recommend the Psalms), and ask God to give you eyes to see what He is doing in you, and in the world around you. Ask these questions of God:
- What do you want me to learn about you today?
- What do you want me to learn about myself today?
- What do you want me to see you doing today?
Then, write down your observations, if any, in a journal, on your phone, or wherever is most convenient. You may experience many days of silence. But, keep at it.
Note that you are not asking God specifically about your calling. You are seeking to learn more about God, yourself and His work. This is the beginning of discovery.