Whats Your Purpose
“Life is what you make of it. Always has
been, always will be.” —Grandma Moses
Oprah Winfrey tells her story simply. As a
young black girl in Mississippi in the
1950’s, there were few choices—grow up
to be a maid, a teacher in a segregated
school, a cook, or a servant. Her grandmother
said to watch her as she cleaned
clothes in a boiling pot in the yard, as the
day would come when this would be her
“I watched carefully as she pulled the
clothespins from her apron, held them
two at a time between her lips, and placed
one and then the other on opposite ends
of the sheets and towels she hung on the
line. A still, small voice inside me, really
more a feeling than a voice, said, ‘This will
not be your life. Your life will be more than
hanging clothes on a line.’”
Oprah Winfrey had begun her journey to
finding and fulfilling her purpose.
It is God who is at work in you, enabling you
both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
That ‘one thing’
“You got to be careful if you don’t know
where you are going because you might not
In the movie City Slickers, tough trail boss
Curly explains to Mitch, the tenderfoot
Billy Crystal character suffering through
middle-age angst, that the secret of life is
“one thing, just one thing.” Mitch asks,
“But what is that one thing?” Curly answers:
“That’s what you have to find out.”
Finding your purpose is finding that “one
thing.” There’s no one set path to find
your purpose, but there are a few points
to keep in mind:
• Purpose is a broad “mission statement”
of life. It can be as simple as a phrase:
“Make those around me happy.”
• No one can give you your purpose.
Purpose is something you discover and
embrace; it’s not thrust upon you.
• Purpose should not be confused with
goals. Purpose is the end; goals are the
means to that end.
• Purpose in life isn’t overcoming weaknesses,
or even using our skills well.
Great athletes, writers, or scientists can
struggle as much as anyone else in finding
• Purpose is discovered in how you define
your life’s meaning; the goals you set to
fulfill that meaning; and how you use
your skills to achieve those goals.
• Once life’s purpose is discovered, it rarely
changes. Goals are achieved or adjusted
for new circumstances, but purpose generally
There are two critical days in our lives: the
day we are born, and the day we discover
why we were born. Discovering the purpose
of our lives is a deeply personal and
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your
steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do
not forsake the work of Your hands.
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