In my corporate career, I worked for two very large organizations: Arthur Andersen and UnitedHealth Group. With the intent of an organizational construct, we found it important to align our people around the purpose of “why” we are here. We spent a great deal of time working to make our mission and values come alive and to be reflected in what we did.
Yet, I’ve found most of us have spent nowhere near the same amount of time or energy determining the specific purpose for which God put us here on earth. Of course we have the overarching purpose as Christians to be followers of Jesus who are to go out and make more disciples of Jesus. But beyond that universal missional calling, why specifically are you here? Why do you get up in the morning?
Running your race
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.”
We see an illustration of having a life purpose in many other scriptures, including God’s instruction to Moses, “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). So, while we aren’t Paul or Moses, as with all Scripture, we can learn from what was shared with them by the Holy Spirit to apply to our own lives.
A crowbar for your mind
Like many areas of life, I’ve found that if I can clearly articulate what I’m thinking, or spend some time to collect my many wildly diverse thoughts into something I can actually articulate, I become more focused and productive in accomplishing those thoughts. Brian Ray, the Crossroads Career co-founder, once told me, “The pen serves as a wonderful crowbar for the mind.” I’ve found that to be true, and I’d encourage you today to start prying out your thoughts by capturing them in writing.
Today’s thought to pry out is how do you discover your life’s purpose? In our new workbook, “Hear God Calling You,” we outline an exercise to assist you in this pursuit, which I like to call “AM / PM”
The AM / PM Exercise
Quoting from this exercise in the workbook, “Our brains are constantly at work, and studies have shown that the neurological pathways our brains create form patterns for us to function effectively and efficiently. Simply put…we do what makes sense to us.”
We proceed to outline like this: “Every morning for the next seven days, answer the question, ‘Why am I getting up this morning?’ and then every evening answer, ‘Why did I get up today?’ Write down your answers each day. Don’t look at the answers you gave previously, and don’t worry about being concise – that will come as the week progresses.”
In the workbook, I share a portion of my evolution in daily thinking and writing that eventually helped me form my life purpose statement: “To glorify Christ by helping people and organizations achieve their aspirations and His purpose.” I find that this fits my volunteer work with Crossroads Career and my vocational work with corporate culture. Once you’ve looked at your AM / PM outline for seven days, ask yourself what you’ve learned about why you get up in the morning. How does this help you see more clearly God’s purpose for you?
Why do you get up in the morning?
I encourage you to invest some time in yourself to be clear with why you’re on this planet. I’ve found that having this overarching umbrella of why helps me with clarity of direction and decision-making on a daily basis, which, in return, allows me to experience fulfillment and joy in who God made me to be. And He’s not done with me yet!
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.