Paying Attention to Purpose – Purpose Part 1

Published November 2, 2011 by joypatton

Today I took a pilot small group through the second chapter of my book From Ice Queen to Princess: A Creative Approach to the book of Galatians. The title was “Purpose of the Princess,” and in Galatians Paul clearly knew what his purpose was: to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. I believe every Princess has a purpose (Ephesians 2:10). I believe that in her heart every Princess has a vague idea or inkling of what that purpose might be. Often we have these inklings and ideas early in life and then Satan uses circumstances and other voices to silence that voice that whispers to us our bigger purpose. (J.E. Lowder creates this picture beautifully in his novel Tears of Min Brock.) Other times our dreams get choked out by the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.

Even though every Princess has a purpose, not every Princess knows her purpose. In our group, the questions kept coming up about how we know what our purpose is. So I wanted to put down a couple of thoughts.

The first step is thinking about yourself. Some of you need to give yourselves permission to really think about yourselves. Sometimes we become so focused on others and meeting their needs and making them happy that we don’t give ourselves time or space to think about what we need and like and enjoy. So if you need permission, I’m giving it to you. In fact, I’m making it an assignment (if that helps you actually do it).  If you want to get really serious about finding your purpose, write down your answers and what God shows you.

Now that you are free to think about you, pay attention to you. Pay attention to your passions.  What things give you and energy and what things take away energy?  For example, when I was teaching full-time and had no kids, I volunteered at church on Wednesday nights teaching junior high drama classes. There were nights I would sit in the parking lot before class and literally fall asleep in my car. I was so exhausted going into it, but when I came out, I was full of life and energy. So this told me that teaching and drama were two things that give me life. They gave me life because God created me to be a teacher who was rather dramatic. One of my friends puts it this way:  What makes you cry and pound the table?  I thump the table when I talk about teaching women the Bible.  I have friends who are passionate about human trafficking, orphans, youth ministry or mentoring.  What energizes you?

Pay attention to what makes you weird. We’ve all had those moments in group conversations where we start talking about something and getting really excited about it and then we realize that no one else in the group is as excited as you. For me, I love standing up in front of a group and speaking. I don’t mind being the center of attention and having everyone else look at me. One of the top fears of most people is speaking in public. That makes me weird. That tells me that public speaking is something God uniquely created me to do.

Pay attention to what other people say. You may need to ask some friends for help with this one.  What have other people affirmed to you or complimented you on? Sometimes it’s a simple as people complimenting you on your sense of style or how you decorate your home. Sometimes it’s when a friend thanks you for your insight into their situation or for your listening ear or for the way you served them well. Instead of blowing off their compliment, accept it and hear the Father’s delight in you.

Pay attention to what you value. What is really important to you? What would you miss if you got to the end of you life without? I value my family. I can’t imagine getting to the end of my life and not having my husband and my four kids by my side. Because of this, I never pursued a career in theater because I valued time with my family. I wasn’t willing to trade nights and weekends with my family for a few shows a year. I value kingdom work. I don’t want to walk into heaven alone. I want to take some people with me and do some serious damage to Satan’s kingdom on earth.  So if I can’t find a kingdom work angle on something, it’s difficult for me to pour a lot of time into it.

Pay attention to what stresses you out. It’s not a sin to feel stress, but it is a sign that you may be functioning outside your natural gifting. It doesn’t mean you never do anything that stresses you out, but it does mean that you will need supernatural help to do it. Personally I gave myself permission to stop volunteering to do things that stressed me out because I thought I should or just because I could.  Often we can say yes to something in order to please another person.  We value how they feel more than we value ourselves.  We decide we are willing to be stressed out so they don’t have to be.  When you find yourself consistently making decisions based on that criteria, you will have a hard time finding your purpose.  What do you need to stop doing so you can start doing something else?

Pay attention to your past.  Where had God taken your life so far?  What have you tried so far that you really enjoyed?  What has been really hard?  What are unique parts of your story that God could use?  This could be good things or bad things.  Some of you have been abused or have had an abortion or battled a life-controlling issue.  You have an ability to relate with people in those situations.  Sharing those stories with others for God’s glory is part of how He redeems those wounded places of the past.  God has a way of gently nudging you into the places he needs you to be to get the experiences you need.  Will you trust him to nudge you?  Will you let yourself be nudged or continue to forge your own path?

I hope that you will start to pay attention.  I will have another challenge for you in this area in the near future.  In the mean time, be the Princess asking the King Father what he wants her to do.  Then be the Princess who does it.  Seek him and you will find him when you seek him with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:13)

WARNING: For the Orphans, there is no right or wrong way to discover your purpose. It may not be perfect or come all at once. For the Ice Queens, this is not a new measuring stick for you to compare yourself to. It is not a new list of rules to follow to lead you to a happy life. To the Princess, this is simply a tool to use in learning more about yourself, who God is making you to be and what your place is in His kingdom.

5 comments on “Paying Attention to Purpose – Purpose Part 1

  • I love the list of thigns that you said to pay attention to! We often don’t stop and think this way and if we did we might get a clearer glimpse of our purpose. Like paying attention to what stresses you and what calms you down will help you be in a place where your carefree and vibrant despite the situation. Wise words. Thanks!

  • Joy,
    I absolutely love this post. And, I love how God uses people with passion to confirm what He is working on in my life. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Kim

  • Wow, absolutely amazing. I just wrote a blog post on “Finding Purpose” yesterday and then here you are perfectly outlining what that looks like. I love the way God works! Thank you for sharing this, SO needed it. :)

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