During this difficult time of the pandemic and feeling isolated from others, there has seemed to be an increase in depression and suicide. This breaks my heart. I have never known anyone personally who committed suicide, but I have seen those who struggle with depression and who were suicidal. I believe that we were all created for a purpose and when we don’t know what that purpose is for our lives, we can lose hope and become depressed.
I’m going to address 4 things that may be contributing to a lack of purpose and then I’ll explain how you can determine your purpose.
I believe there are 4 things that hinder us when it comes to knowing our purpose in life.
- Negative People: There was a person that I was in a close relationship with who would repeatedly tell me I was stupid. This is probably one of the most defeating things to hear. I would question whether I was capable of doing things and felt very insecure. I didn’t really know what I would be good at accomplishing since I would continually hear that I was dumb / stupid.
- Negative Thinking: Negative thinking can often be caused by number 1. If people whom we are around often speak negatively towards us, then we will begin to think that about ourselves. Insecurities will also cause us to think negatively about ourselves. When we see someone else achieving things that we desire; we may begin to think we will never be able to become that and then become depressed.
- Lack of Understanding: Maybe you were never told the reason you were born or what you were made to do. As a believer, I know that God created all human beings (see Genesis 2:7). He created us for His purpose (see Psalm 57:2). Until we know that; we will often be lost in identifying our value / purpose in life because we aren’t seeking out the creator.
- Selfish Desires: Because we were created by God for His purpose, then we weren’t just created for our own desires or to be happy. Yes, God wants us to be safe and content. But I believe people often confuse content for happiness. People can be happy while doing things that hurt others or God (sin); so that wouldn’t mean that God would want everyone to be happy all the time. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” What some people take this to mean is that if you desire a car, God will give you a car. But I don’t believe this scripture means that. Rather it means that if God desires for you to serve others, then He will give you that same desire (to serve others), because it is for His purpose, not our own.
Please know that regardless of what you’ve done in your past; how you were raised or if you never dedicated your life to God; there is Hope! Jeremiah 29:11 which states: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” This gives up hope, that God has a plan and purpose for our lives.
God sent His only son to save us from our sins: 16 For God loved the world in this way:[a] He gave[b] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:16-17
When I was going through a divorce and really struggling with sadness and loneliness, I read the book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. This book really gave me a new perspective on life and I really began to understand that God did have a purpose for me.
I felt the need to study more of God’s word and reflect on my own life to determine what God desired for me to do. The Bible is a complex book, and God wants us to be obedient to Him. There are the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) that we often go to in order to determine how to obey God. But I think of what Jesus said in Matthew 22:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And next I consider the Great Commission: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20
In other words, this is our purpose in life, to Love God, Love others, tell the world about Jesus and teach them about Him.
When we get side-tracked with all the other things in life, having a good career, making money, collecting stuff, having fun, raising a family, then we can often get discouraged because this was really not what God had created us to do.
Lastly, I want to share a clip from a scene in the movie “God’s Not Dead” that shows someone who seems lost in his life and then his mom who knows her purpose in God.