Working with college students it is not unusual for me to encounter individuals who are struggling with their purpose in life. Many of them recognize that they are at a crossroads and that the decisions they make regarding their major and course of study will in some ways dictate the trajectory that their life will follow. Although from my perspective I can assure them that the choices they make are very likely not permanent (I know many successful people who work in fields unrelated to their college major), I understand the pressure that they face. The realization that adulthood is upon them is hard to contend with. They don’t want to make the mistake of pursuing the wrong path.
It’s not just college students who struggle with the question of purpose though. Many individuals in all walks of life ask themselves whether they are in the right field, at the right company, or in the right job. Stay-at-home parents may wonder if they should consider employment outside of the house. Working parents may ponder whether it would be better if they were at home with the kids. Ministry participants may struggle with whether they are serving in the right capacity. Others may wonder if the neighborhood they live in is the best for their current stage of life. Questions of how we spend our time, where we live and what we should invest in are integral to who we are, and they are often the most difficult questions to fully feel at peace with our answers.
The Christian, however, can find assurance in the midst of these questions because we know that regardless of where we are, our task is clear. In whatever situation we are in, in whatever circumstances come our way, our goal is to share and reflect the Good News of Christ. While we may not know the specific reasons for the places that God puts us, we can know that He intends for us to be an ambassador for Him wherever we are (2 Cor. 5:20). It is not so much a question of whether we are in the right place, but whether we are doing the right thing with the place that God has put us in. Our circumstances may seem uncertain, but our calling isn’t. Even when we don’t know the “why”, the “what” is abundantly clear.
For those that follow Christ this should be an encouragement. As we passionately pursue God’s will for our lives, we can trust that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him (Ro. 8:28). Therefore, while we should be listening to Him to determine if He has called us to something new, we should also be committed to obeying Him in where we are today. It is important that our focus isn’t so much on “what’s next” that we forget what we are to do now. Namely, that we should be intentionally and explicitly sharing the Gospel with those that He brings across our path. He has not placed us where we are by accident. There are individuals that He desires to reach for the sake of eternity, and He uses His children to accomplish that purpose.
It’s easy to get caught up in wondering whether we are where we are supposed to be because of the many options that seem to exist. Perhaps though, the enemy would rather we spend time contemplating whether we are getting everything from life that we want that we neglect to share with those that have no hope except in what this life affords. Perhaps if we spent more time contemplating their future in terms of eternity, not only would our purpose become more clear, but we would concentrate on fulfilling it, and not on musing where God may lead us next.