It’s the year my firstborn child will leave home. Today, she turns 18 years old.
And lemme tell you, if turning 45 doesn’t make a girl feel old, 18 candles on the cake of your child —will. I started this blog when she was 8, and if you remember that, you probably feel old too now.
Her senior year has been a sweet one and I’ve become a walking fortune cookie of All The Things I don’t want to forget to tell her. It feels like I’m trying to give her a crash course in everything.
A few nights ago we both dissolved into a puddle of tears as our conversation turned from dorm room to missing her brother and sister. So, yes, we are handling it well.
We’ve talked a lot about purpose. I think it’s a hot word for this generation and it’s been a focus for our family for as long as I can remember. But it’s also easy to feel pressure and panic when you aren’t quite sure what you were created to do.
Here’s my advice for her (and you) and a reminder for the rest of us: If you’re not sure of your purpose, follow your passion. It will lead you to the right place.
When I found my sweet spot–that place where our passion, what we’re good at (our skill) and God’s timing collide, it was divine. I love how my dear friend, Ann Voskamp puts it, “You were made for the place where your real passion meets compassion, because there lies your real purpose.”
Saying yes to our purpose is more about courage and faith than opportunity and success. I don’t think we always recognize our God-sized dream for what it is, especially when it’s wrapped up in our normalcy.
My sweet spot wasn’t exactly a success story. I think we often confuse glory with something glorious. Nothing really changed, not for a long time. But I had changed. I was pursing my passion. I was living authentic. I was satisfied and that changed everything.
I discovered that one thing we are called to do—our purpose—is really secondary. It’s only found after we pursue the primary, the ultimate goal of our lives which is to bring glory to God. This is our foundational, primary mission and purpose for living. It is what we were created for. Isaiah 43:6-7 says, “We were made by God for His glory.”
There aren’t two paths we’ve been given—one for us to pursue our dreams, the other to serve God. When we divide our lives up into those compartments, we work for our glory not His. But when our lives flow with the central purpose of shining His light, it gives us to deep satisfaction and contentment, and leads us directly to the secondary. I have found John Piper’s statement to be true: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”
Our primary job is to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s the only way to discover the contentment in life we all crave. And when we focus on intimacy with God, He provides the right timing, couples it with our hard work and skills, and passion is born.
So, my dear 18 year old girl– believe this truth: where you are today is the place He has put you and who you are is how He created you and what you’re good at is a gift. Follow your passion and whatever you find yourself doing—being a student, chasing a career, becoming a wife or mother one day, pursuing your passion—do it unto God. And your purpose will collide with your passion and you will thrive.