Updated: Dec 20, 2021
By Andrena Sawyer
We live in a culture that sensationalizes purpose. We have come to believe that this elusive concept is the missing link to an assurance of fulfillment, riches, and comfort. But, anyone who has embarked on a journey to find their purpose knows that the path could be less than sensational. In fact, it is frequently filled with heartbreaking moments of sacrifice, pain, and disappointments. Over time, most purpose-chasers learn how to manage the pendulum of emotions that go from extreme highs of pride and joy to extreme lows of impatience and sorrow.
For the world, the pursuit of purpose is a brand; a purpose-driven life gives a trendy meaning to those erecting monuments to themselves where their gifts and brilliance can shine bright. However, if you are a God-chaser who is also a purpose-chaser, there comes a day when you realize the pursuit is just not enough because God does not care about you chasing your dreams.
Alright, maybe it is not that He does not care. After all, the Bible is clear that He cares about every area of our lives. From Genesis to Revelation, we see a picture of a Father that cares about details like poverty, generational wealth, justice, mercy, and civil rights, to name a few. The challenge is to understand that beyond all of these things, He jealously cares about His glory first and foremost. That means that anything, including our self-gratifying pursuits, that stands in the way will not take precedent over His glory.
Self-help gurus have led us to believe that fulfilling our purpose is our primary goal in life. It sounds noble enough that if we walk in our career purpose as business leaders, authors, motivational speakers, or entertainers, we will create a platform that shows the world what God can do. That may be part of God’s plan for us. However, that is not His full plan.
God’s plan is not for a life dedicated to a pursuit that exalts self as the chief architect of our success.
Such a life results in us being the source of anything good in our lives. The reality is that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. When our plans work out, it is a testament to His grace. A selfish pursuit of dreams minimizes God's role and instead credits our successes to our work ethic, networks, and plans.
When things sometimes fall apart in our journey, it jolts our faith because our focus has been on our vision and not His glory. We insist that because God has given us a vision for our lives, He must come through. But that is true only if that vision exalts Him before it exalts anything else.
If you are a purpose-chaser, be careful with prayers that insist only on your comfort. Way beyond your comfort, God cares about His glory and our holiness. Be mindful that His glory and our holiness could mean being in a desperately uncomfortable position that ultimately shows His redemptive power.
If your dream demands that God always makes your path straight, then it probably promotes self-reliance and not God-reliance. He is under no obligation to honor that. The truth is the Influencer with 100K followers could be living a purposeful life, but so could the missionary in Asia facing persecution.
In my journey as a fellow purpose-chaser, I have come to rely on this truth only: promotion and comfort in work come from God, but we do not exist to seek either. Getting all we imagined in dream-chasing is great, but the blessing is knowing you are in a position to glorify God.
Andrena is the Founder of MCWEN, and the President of P.E.R.K. Consulting. In addition to her work with nonprofits and small businesses, she is the author of several books and devotionals, including The Misadventures of a New Entrepreneur: 5 Things They Won't Teach You in Business School. Connect with her on twitter or Instagram @Andrena_Sawyer.