God called me to start a bakery when I was in college. There was no dramatic moment of epiphany, only a slow and steady progression of trust and surrender. One circumstance led to another as I learned to let go of the things that I thought I wanted and embrace the dreams that God was slowly but surely igniting in my heart.

The more I trusted Him, the more the vision came into focus. As the vision began to materialize, so did my purpose.

I’m on year five of this crazy journey of being a business owner, and I’m amazed at how God has used my job to teach me more about who He is. The further I go in this journey, the more I understand that purpose has nothing to do with making me feel complete, and everything to do with teaching me how to cling to Jesus more and more every step of the way.

I’m in way over my head, and most days I feel inadequate and ill-prepared. That’s where the beauty lies, though, in that place where my ability ends and his grace begins.

As the purpose that God has for my business changes and evolves, I’m learning that purpose as an abstract principle is overrated, letting go of expectations is essential and purpose is not why I do what I do, God is.

Purpose as an abstract principle is overrated.

The concept of purpose has been given too much power in our lives. We think we have to discover one life trajectory that will lead us into all the riches that God has prepared for us. We need one job, one person, or one word that will open the doors to fulfillment. Some days are going to feel more fulfilling than others, but that doesn’t mean that off days should distract or discourage us. We have to keep trusting that if we’re genuinely seeking, God is leading, even when we don’t see the results we hoped for. In Jeremiah 33:3 God promises that He will answer us and show us what we need to know when we ask him.

Those answers don’t always come right away, but that’s okay. As long as we’re seeking, we’re moving in the right direction.

The search for purpose shouldn’t be one of stress and agony. The search for purpose should be one of joy and hope as we pursue more and more of Jesus and discover ever-increasing reservoirs of possibility.

That ache that keeps us searching is eternity deposited in our hearts. It’s our promise that there’s something bigger than what we can see. We only get overwhelmed when we try to see things we aren’t yet ready to see.

Letting go of expectations is essential.

When I started my business five years ago, I had lofty ambitions. As I close in on the five-year mark, I’m realizing that my initial five-year plan doesn’t quite match up with the current state of things. I had planned to be further along, but I’m not. I had planned to reach certain benchmarks, and I haven’t.

I often get tempted to berate myself for my lack of ability, until I remember that most of those goals were bred from a place of selfish ambition.

God has other plans, and he’s taking all of my mistakes and missteps and working them together for my good. In order to see all the good that’s coming, I have to let go of all the things I thought I wanted to see. I can only focus on the present when I let go of all that could have been.

Letting go of what could have been frees us up to see all the good that’s here right now.

Purpose is not the reason we’re here, God is.

We were ultimately created to have communion with God. That’s our purpose.
God didn’t create us because he needed someone to run his errands on earth, He created us because He wants a relationship with us. He desires our time, our adoration and our praise.

The Bible says that our purpose is hidden in Christ with God. We can’t set out on a journey of self-discovery and hope to find the answers on our own. Purpose that lasts can only be found in Christ.

This means letting go of all the to-do lists, job descriptions, volunteer hours and whatever else we use to define ourselves, and learning how to just be still, know that he is God, and let that be enough.

The search for purpose brings us back to the beginning. We can only find what we’re looking for when we lay all of our questions at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to lead us where he wants us to go.

If Jesus is our continual compass, we’re all going to be okay. He makes the path straight, and his grace is sufficient for each day.

Purpose is one of those words that oftentimes feels complicated. Where do you struggle when it comes to purpose? How do you grasp an understanding of purpose?