In 1981 the movie “Chariots of Fire” was playing in theaters across the country. It is the heart-warming story of Eric Liddell, missionary to China and Olympic Gold Medal winner. There are many memorable moments in the movie, but my favorite was when he was trying to explain to his sister Jenny why he continued to run when she would rather have him go to China. Eric responded to her by saying,
“I believe God made me for a purpose, for China; but he also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
After the 1924 Olympics, Eric did go to China where he died in captivity at the age of 41
I recently watched the movie again for the umpteenth time.
Every time I think of that line, these sort of questions go through my mind for myself and others I know:
1. What is it that I do that allows me to feel His pleasure?
2. Am I simply enduring what I do, or am I truly enjoying what He allows me to labor at?
3. Have I truly discovered what my purpose in life is or am I still searching for it?
4. How has God created me and what gifts and unique abilities has he allowed me to have so I can experience His pleasure
It appears to me that very few people (especially younger people) have a clear sense of purpose. Many are asking not so much what they can do, but WHY they should do it at all.
I recently finished a book titled, “The Men We Need.” In it was this statement, “A recent headline in a UK paper about sixteen-to-twenty-nine-year-olds reads, “Nine in Ten Young Brits Believe Their Life Lacks purpose, according to a shocking new study-‘Millennial Melancholy’ The Sun, 2019.” That is so sad and can be addressed!
One of the first things I have a new coaching client do is go on a personal retreat and do some praying, thinking and writing a first draft of a “Purpose Statement” for their life. Many have never done this. Most do not have a clear sense of purpose, rooted in how God has made them and what their life might look like as they live out that purpose.
Here is a verse I return to over and over:
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” ~ Galatians 6:4,5 The Message.
Whether you are 20, 40, 50 or even 75, it’s not too late. I never gave the idea of having a life purpose statement until I was 40 years old. What a difference it has made to live out of–“My purpose is to help develop, empower and equip leaders in local churches so they finish their race well.” I am a leader developer, and when I do that I feel His pleasure!