Have you ever wrestled with a question and you needed to know the answer? We are faced with a myriad of simple questions every day that require answers. Where do we want to go to dinner? Does this shirt match these pants? Do I take the interstate or back roads to work today? I’ve been married now for four years and those three simple questions are ones I ask daily.
On the other hand, because my work has me around high school students I hear deeper questions. These questions are not so quickly answered. Unlike the simple questions, the answers to the deeper questions hold life-changing repercussions.
What’s my purpose in life?
What’s my calling in life?
What do I do with my life?
These are not questions that we just ask when we are 18 years old; I find they are questions that many adults wrestle with all along the journey of life. The problem I often see is when someone attempts to answer both the simple and the deeper questions looking through the same lens. The simple questions can be answered in the context of right now, today, and with just me in mind. We answer these questions quickly. Five Guys, They Don’t Match, I-40.
The deeper questions take more time and must be answered through a different lens. Could you imagine pondering what to do with your life right after watching the national surfing competition on the North Shore in Hawaii? I’m moving to Hawaii every day of the week if that’s the lens in which I answer this question.
I propose we answer those heavier questions through a different lens. The answers to the simple questions are like fast-food restaurants: They are quick yet hold very little substance, and you end up hungry not long after eating. The deeper questions need to be answered like a home-cooked meal made in the crock pot. It takes time, work, diligence — but the outcome is a richer taste and you stay full much longer.
How do we answer those heavier life questions like cooking a meal in a crock pot? I’m glad you asked.
We start by…
Asking questions in the context of community.
I believe that God calls us to be in community. If we are made in the image of God, Father - Son - Spirit (which is a community in and of itself), then it makes sense that we are made for community. Regardless of your belief system, we would agree that we are not made to go through this life alone.
In that community, begin by asking those you trust what they see in you. It took me a long time to realize the gifts that God had given me because I just saw them as normal. God gives each one of us gifts and traits, and it is in that combination that we find how God uniquely made us. We don’t always recognize or see those things but the people around us see it all over us.
Looking For the Intersection
I see our purpose and calling to be different. I believe we all have the same purpose: to love one another. We love by serving one another. We love by being generous with our time, talents and gifts. We love by being welcoming, encouraging and honoring. Our calling is the way in which we live out our purpose — how we use our gifts to serve, welcome and honor one another.
Your calling is found around an intersection. This intersection is where your gifts, those things people see in you, and your passions, those things that wake you up in the morning, come together.
Taking One More Test
I know…I know. This is the last thing you want to do but hear me out. This isn’t a math or English test. You don’t have to study. You simply have to be honest in this test.
A personality test can help us in multiple ways. It helps us find out more about ourselves. It also helps us find our best fit in our calling. If we now know what field we want to be in, and also know how we best work then narrowing it down could be a lot of help. There are great, FREE!, tests out there to help us like www.16personalities.com.
Remember that this takes time and it’s not a decision that should be made in an hour, day or even in a week.
It might be easier if the answer was simply written on the wall, but we would miss so much if it was that way. There is so much beauty in this journey — don’t miss that beauty in a rush to simply arrive at the destination. As you find yourself on this journey, you begin to find who God has made you to be. You see the love that God has poured out to make you a unique child of God. God has a calling for your life. I pray you find a deeper relationship with God as you discover how you have been made.
Join in a community. Church - Family - Friends
Look for how it all comes together.
Find out who you are.
Discover how God has created you.
Walk in boldness knowing whose you are and who you are!
I believe the deeper you dive into these questions…the more you will see God has always been there, always loved you, and is a part of your story!
Pierce Drake serves as the student pastor for middle school and high school at Providence United Methodist Church. For over 9 years, Pierce has served churches both in the US and abroad. Pierce received his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Reinhardt University. When he is not outside, Pierce is always binge watching "The Office" on Netflix. He lives just outside Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Claire, and their mini-Australian Shepherd, Pippa.