I just returned from three days at a huge student conference* put on by the Church of the Highlands. A large focus of the conference was to help students “discover” their passion.
The idea of “discovering” your purpose has become a terrible cliché in the Christian Church. We hold hundreds of conferences around the globe each year to help students “discover their purpose.”
The first problem I find with this idea is that the thought of having to “discover” something means that it was once hidden, and therefore, we have to go seek it out. I don’t believe God would hide our purpose from us. If we are following Christ and actively “doing something about our passion,” then we’re living out our purpose, because it was God who put in us 1) our desire and ability to follow Him and 2) our passions.. We know what we like and don’t like. All we have to do is go do the stuff we really like, the stuff that sets our hearts on fire. It’s not that complicated.
The idea of “discovering” or “finding” our purpose also comes with the connotation that we only have one “earthly purpose.” That’s definitely not true. My passions have changed over time. I used to do a ton of graphic design, even more than I do now. That was my passion, and because I was following God, it was also my purpose for that season of my life. However, my passions now involve social justice, missions, and photo- and videography. Because I’m currently working as a social justice missionary by using photography and videography, I’m living out God’s purpose for this season of my life. In twenty years from now, I no longer may be passionate about all of these issues and then my purpose will change. It’s not a bad thing but rather something that just ebbs and flows with the tide of life.
Before I get off my soapbox, I want to say one last thing. We have lots of little “earthly” purposes, but when everything else fades into the background, we have one absolute, unchanging purpose and that is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Ultimately, it’s all about Him and His Kingdom. We glorify God through living out our passions.It’s really just that simple.