Waking up feeling purposeless is incredibly frustrating. You look around and see your friends and coworkers living passionate, engaged, meaningful lives. They have deep relationships, rewarding jobs and a sense of direction that compels them to hop out of bed each morning with a spring in their step.
You know that God has something good in store for you. You don’t believe he intends you to live a life of painful drudgery in which each day is a total drag. After all, the Bible is chock full of passages about joy. While this certainly doesn’t mean that every single day is a parade and circus, it does mean that an overall sense of gladness should permeate your life.
In Psalm 63:7, David said, “…for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” How can you get to that place? Where, instead of wandering aimlessly through life, you’re actually singing for joy (or just making a joyful noise if you’re not the singing type)?
In this post, we’re going to first talk about some key signs that you may not be living in the fullness of God’s purpose for you. Then we’ll give some key suggestions for how to begin living a meaningful, enthusiastic, joyful life.
Before we dive into this point, we need to make at least one caveat. In one sense, you are always living in God’s purpose. God is God and He works all things, including your life, according to his purposes. Nothing can happen without God ordaining it.
Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfils his purpose for me.” This is key to understanding God’s purpose for your life. God has numbered your days and will fulfil every purpose He has for you.
However, our choices and actions also really matter. In some ways, this is a mystery we can’t fully understand, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. We can choose to do things that will bring us more joy and give us more of a sense of purpose. That’s where we’re headed in this post. We want to help you identify those choices you can make to bring more excitement and God-given purpose into your life.
But first, here are 6 signs that you don’t have much purpose in your life.
YOU’RE BLATANTLY LIVING IN SIN.
Let’s start with the obvious here. If you’re blatantly disobeying the Bible, you’re not living in God’s purpose and you will certainly experience a sense of aimlessness in your life. This one is pretty straightforward so we don’t need to spends too much time here.
YOU LACK JOY AND EXCITEMENT.
If you wake up every day filled with apathy or dread or total boredom, you’re probably not doing what you were meant to do. God has created you uniquely, has really good things planned for you and one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22). Sure, there will be difficult things you encounter that require patience and persistence, but overall you should have a sense of joy and excitement that fills your days, your work and your relationships.
In his book “Desiring God,” John Piper says:
The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith.
YOU DON’T FEEL MUCH FULFILLMENT IN LIFE.
If you go about your days experiencing little fulfillment, you may be wandering from your God-given purpose. Fulfillment comes from doing rewarding, meaningful, purposeful things. From a job that taps into your skills and passions. From a relationship that involves giving and receiving. From hobbies that are invigorating instead of mind-numbing. Yes, you’ll have to do certain things that are boring and unfulfilling, but if you’re entire life is gray, you probably need a change.
YOU WORK SO THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORK.
You know the feeling of pointless work. You go to the office, clock in, do your job, then go home and collapse in front of the television. You work for the weekends and for retirement. All true joy you experience comes from things outside of work. From hobbies or friends or side jobs.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, “And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.”
Would you say that this kind of joy characterizes your life and work? If not, you may need to rethink where you’re headed.
YOU FEEL STUCK.
If you desperately want a change but also feel totally stuck in your life, that’s almost certainly a sign that you’re not walking according to God’s purpose. Those who are stuck want to go in a particular direction but don’t know how to get there. So they spin their wheels, feeling endlessly frustrated but unsure of how to make the frustration end. Do you feel trapped?
YOU HAVE NO DIRECTION.
If you don’t know God’s purpose for your life, you constantly feel a sense of aimlessness. You feel as though you’re wandering from thing to thing without any forward progress. Nothing excites you and you don’t have any specific goals you’re working toward. Unlike the Israelites, who wandered for 40 years yet still had a goal (the Promised Land), you don’t even have a goal in front of you.