You Have a Purpose

By: Lauren Smith

“You have a purpose”.

I heard that phrase often while growing up. At first, I loved it! I loved knowing that I have a purpose. I enjoyed being assured that my life was not going to be a waste or meaningless. As life went on though, the same phrase that filled me with purpose started to fill me with stress and dread. I realized that I didn’t have the slightest clue what my purpose actually was. Was my purpose only to be a student? Was my purpose solely wrapped up in my occupation, or what I was devoting my time to? How do you know wholeheartedly what your purpose is at 12 or even at 21?

I used to think my purpose in life was based on what I was doing. During different seasons, my purpose was in serving youth, foster kids, and being a college student. It’s so easy to place emphasis on what we’re doing. Other times what we’re doing is what we are the proudest of. I’m proud to be a sister and I find purpose in it. When I placed my purpose in being a college student, I felt more discouraged. The pressure of staying on top of all my assignments, reading, and thriving as a student consumed me. I drove myself to a point where I became so consumed with being a decent student that when I crashed, so did all of my academics.

In that season, where I had convinced myself the school was my purpose & once it consumed me; I was forced to take a step back and reevaluate where I was putting my purpose in & what my purpose was. It wasn’t an overnight magical change. I didn’t wake up one morning feeling fulfilled with assurance. As cliche as it may sound, it started when I started looking for joy in the small moments. Finding joyful moments revealed to me that there is purpose - in life and in mine.

It is an honest struggle to not view an occupation or where the majority of our time is spent, as our purpose. Our purpose is not in being a barista or studying; rather in what we want to share with others. I want to be able to share radiant joy and reckless love with others. I know that I am not perfect and some days I fall short of both. I may not have the assurance of my life calling or what my next move is, but I know what I want my purpose to be. Some days, it’s a genuine challenge to find purpose in a mundane routine. To see what the purpose is in serving an angry customer their cup of coffee. But when I choose to work past the mundane and pointless moments, the purposeful moments tend to show themselves.

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