Finding Purpose

For the past year, I've tried to figure out what my purpose is.  I'm happy with my life, but I feel like I'm following a formula.  Go to college, get married, have babies.  Maybe it's because I'm about to turn 30, but I can't help wondering, is there more that I'm supposed to be doing?  How am I contributing to society?  How can I be purposeful in my living?

I feel like the kid who just graduated from high school and has to pick a degree.  Choose what you'll do with the rest of your life.  Except that I am praying that God reveals it to me--gives me a sign of some BIG thing I'm supposed to do.

I guess it really started after I read "Kisses from Katie" about a girl who graduated high school and ended up moving to Uganda to do mission work for a year.  She eventually stayed and adopted 13 girls of her own, dedicating herself to being a servant to others.  That book led me to start reading other inspirational books to encourage and help you find your place in God's plan...But I never got a call to move to Africa or something equally as big so I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do.

I mapped out idea after idea from books I'd read and after 6 months felt like all I was doing was planning.  I wasn't doing anything.  How much more could I come up with plans that led nowhere?  I knew that I wanted to use my gifts for some sort of good, but all my ideas didn't seem "good enough".

And then one day as I was mapping out the different things I could do once again, I heard God tell me JUST START SOMETHING.  That was the day I started DOING.  I made and sold handmade items in hopes of being able to donate some of the proceeds to a local charity, and set a goal to donate a certain amount of handmade items each year to a local children's hospital.

My worrying that I wouldn't be able to make a difference went away--God let me know it wasn't about the result, it was about my motive.  Anything I did that was for the good of others would be pleasing to Him.  I realized that my planning and worrying were keeping me from DOING.

Three Things I Have Learned Since I Started DOING:
1. Don't overthink it--This doesn't have to be your life's calling, just some way you can give back to others now.
2. Look for opportunities to serve others daily--You don't have to limit yourself to ONE area of your life.  Get outside of your comfort zone.
3. God isn't the one feeding your negative thoughts--Feelings of inadequacy, not being "good" enough, smart enough, too busy, the risk of failure, the difficulty of the task--these feelings come from Satan--the ultimate discourager.

How Do I Get Started?
1. Find what you enjoy doing, what you're good at, what you've always wanted to do.
2. What needs do you see around you?
3. See how you can use your gifts to bless others.
4. Try your ideas out--you don't have to move to Africa to make a difference; there are needs in your own neighborhood.

Even if you have to start small, that's fine.  Offer to babysit so a friend can go on a date or bring dinner to a sick neighbor.  While I was waiting for a "BIG" opportunity that never revealed itself, I missed out on lots of "little" ones that came along.  The important thing is that you JUST START SOMETHING.

Here are some books that helped get me started:

Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis
Anything by Jennie Allen
Start Here and Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
Twelve Clean Pages by Nika Maples
7 by Jen Hatmaker
The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldman
Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore

**My article on Local Dallas-Ft Worth Volunteer opportunities

A pillow case dress I made for dressagirlaroundtheworld

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