On Finding the Purpose of Your Life
We are excited to launch a new program for young adults – NEXT2. Running alongside NEXT, both programs share a common dream of accompanying young people upon life’s journey – finding faith, finding themselves, finding direction. While NEXT focuses on post-highschool students with a more intensive program offered over 2.5 days a week, NEXT2 is a 1 day per week program, focused upon twenty-somethings who are seeking a year of theological reflection and discernment regarding where they are headed in life and how they can intentionally live out this calling.
As we launch this new program we are dedicating the next three weeks of blogs to exploring purpose, vocation, calling and discerning the way ahead. Joel McKerrow, poet and co-ordinator of NEXT2 writes this blog about asking the right questions…
On Finding the Purpose of Your Life
Most of us run. It is normal. Flight not fight, and we turn the other way. Straight into the arms of…well…whatever. It doesn’t really matter. As long as it moves us away from that which is uncomfortable. The mosquito. As long as the haunting is forced quiet. As long as we don’t have to fight. To live as a declarative. To give ourselves to something worthwhile even though it may hurt. Even though failure is an inevitability. Even though your ability may be brought into question again and again by your harshest critic, yourself. You. Faultfinder. Running man. You.
And isn’t it amazing how much running can look like normality. How much flight can feel like everyday existence. A perfected art form. To take the gnawing and ignore it. Go through the workday with fingers in ears and the security of seeing everybody else do the same. And it’s always one more day. One more step. Things shall change tomorrow. One more raise. One more upgrade. One more holiday. One more and one more.
Our running and our flying, they take so many different forms. The busy life. The career life. The Western Dream life. The lazy life. The nonchalant. The “I cannot for the life of me decide what to do with my life,” life. Indecision. The curse of the generation. So many different options. So much that I could do. But how do I do what I am meant to do?
I would be a large man if I was given a doughnut for every time I have been asked this question.
And it is not a surprising question. With childhood flooded with queries of, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ And school life inundated with the concerned motions of, “What are you going to do when you leave school?” If we are asked a question over and over and over it is inevitable that it becomes our own question.
But I do wonder something. I wonder if there are better questions to be asking? If there is a slightly different way of approaching this thing we call life?
For whatever you choose to do, whichever university degree, whichever career, whichever traineeship, whichever ministry, whichever and whatever. The haunting is still there. The gnawing. The mosquito. An incessant buzz. And I am talking about something more than FOMO. Our generations addiction to the Fear Of Missing Out. The knowing that somewhere, that is not here, something much better is happening. The grass is greener where I am not. That which moves us from one job to another, one degree to another, one church to another, one faith to another, one thing to the next thing. Let me alleviate you from that right now…it shall not be better when you get there. The reason. When you go there, you will find that YOU are there. Go travelling the world and you realise quickly that you didn’t leave yourself behind. And so whatever job, whatever career, whatever degree, whatever country, whatever relationship status, whichever and whatever, you are stuck with yourself. Who you are, this seems the one constant.
Which leads me to a conclusion. One that I know you will HATE. Here it is – Could it be that it doesn’t actually matter what you are doing.
Or, to put it another way, should the question of what to do with your life actually flow out of a much deeper and better question. A question whose quest takes you to a place where you could do anything, be anywhere, study whatever and you, in that place, right there, would be content. Not even just content, where you would know purpose. Even right there, where you are in your life, right now. It is time to stop running.
What I am proposing is that the gnawing and the haunting on the quiet nights are something actually much greater than the urge to change careers or degrees or cars or churches. Could the haunting in fact be this deeper question whispering of its discontentment. And if this were the case, then I leave you with this question,
What is this deeper question that could so change who you are that no matter what you are doing you could find purpose right there?
Find this question. Let it find you. It might just change everything.
Next2 is a space to ask the questions of purpose even whilst you are living them. It is first and foremost a discernment community. A group of people coming together to wrestle with their sense of Calling whilst intentionally supporting each other. One day/week so you can keep doing all that you are doing. One year of your life so you can focus up the rest. Fully accredited towards a diploma or degree. You can find out more about it all right HERE.