How often do you walk around feeling confused or lack clarity about the direction of your life? Confusion happens as we lose focus on goals, get caught up in the daily routine of our work week, or stop putting God first. Your state of confusion isn't as simple as not knowing what career path you should pursue or what diet you should try. Confusion can start as a subtle seed that’s grows until it feels like you’re walking in a fog. Have you ever asked yourself these questions:
How did I get here?
Is this career what I’m supposed to be doing?
Why am I unhappy or dissatisfied when I've made a pretty good life for myself?
The effects of living in confusion
Confusion, or a lack of clarity, makes it difficult to make any decisions with intention. Imagine driving a car in the rain. Your first instinct is to turn on your windshield wipers so you can see clearly as you continue towards your destination. Confusion is like driving with windshield wipers that don't work. It's too dangerous to move forward so you stand still. If you do keep going, you could crash!
Stagnation never feels good – especially when there's ambition in your heart and pent up energy in your bones. Unless you know for certain that God told you to be still in this season, sitting in this space can feel like life is passing you by. On the other hand, proceeding blindly through life is draining and empty. In this space, you're running on the never-ending hamster wheel exerting all of your energy and getting nowhere. Are we doomed to live like this?
Closing the gap between Confusion and Clarity is Purpose
The fast-paced frequency of the current times make it so easy for us to ignore signs that we need to address some internal callings. If you're on the busy end of the spectrum, do you know what you’re trying to accomplish? Is there an end goal? If you’re on the stagnant end of the spectrum, do you know why you aren’t moving? Do your goals feel far away? The common link in both of these scenarios is a lack of purpose. God has instilled in us a unique set of gifts, talents, and experiences that we are commissioned to utilize to energize this world. By not using them, we’re just going through the motions of life in survival mode -not thriving mode. We’re drained and apathetic in this season because we aren’t activating the package God has given us.
Let’s take charcoal for instance. Charcoal by itself is just fine black powder. Not useful. However, once it’s activated by being processed at very high temperatures, charcoal can whiten teeth, absorb toxins in the body, promote kidney function, and lower cholesterol. Think about the problems you can solve, the people you can help, or the breakthroughs you can achieve once you’re activated! Knowing your God-given purpose IS your activation.
Discovering Your Purpose
How can we go about discovering our God-given purpose and stop the unnecessary distractions? Set some dedicated,intentional time to do these exercises:
Step 1: Take inventory of what you’re good at. What are those special things about you that you can do faster, better, or stronger than anyone else? List all that you can identify.
Step 2: Write down the activities that make your heart sing. Do you get excited about writing? Or perhaps, helping friends work through their problems is fulfilling for you. Capture all of these functions.
PLEASE NOTE: The items you list in both Step 1 and Step 2 should be healthy and glorifying to God. If they aren’t, check your heart, cross them off your list ,and dig deeper.
Step 3: Gather Insight from a trusted and mature sister in Christ. I’m sure you have at least one good girlfriend that has been with you through several seasons in your life. Talk with her about this season of discovery that you’re in and ask her to provide insightful feedback about your contributions to the world. Ensure that this is a person who is objective and won’t project her opinions onto you.
Step 4: Pray and read the Word. Pour your heart out to God and let him meet you in this vulnerable space. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God wants you to use the gifts he’s bestowed within you and he will show you the manner in which you’re supposed to use them.
Step 5: Fast. The best way to cut through the noise is to abstain from something for a specified amount of time that distracts you from discovering your purpose. You can fast from sweets, TV, social media, and even people.
When it comes down to it, we cannot stay in this state of confusion and definitely cannot keep giving energy to misaligned distractions. God can use us when we know what we were put on this earth to do. Throw off the chains of distraction and the burden of busyness. Your efforts can be intentional and on assignment guided by peace from the Lord.