In Dr. Myles Munroe’s book, “In Pursuit of Purpose,” he tells an interesting story. There was a man who after much study and hard work, became a doctor. One day he was being presented with an award. His parents were thrilled. They had always dreamed of him becoming a doctor and it was a great honor to watch him be presented with the Outstanding Citizen of the Year award. It was his father’s mission to ensure that his son would become a doctor, dating back to when he was a young boy. His parents sacrificed a lot throughout the years to make sure that dream would happen and his success brought honor to their family. As the doctor walked on stage to accept his award, he prepared himself to make a speech, but instead broke down, unable to keep his composure. “Please, Mom and Dad, forgive me. I’m sorry, but I can’t go on,” he said before he walked off the stage. In the awkward car ride back home, the doctor explained to his parents that although he was grateful for all the sacrifices they made for him, it was never his dream to become a doctor. He had been living to please his parents, but he was not fulfilled. Success was defined by other people and society, which is usually attached to money, status, power, and material things.
There are many people in the world like this doctor. We have interests and big dreams as children, no matter how crazy it may seem to others. Over the course of our lives, we begin to be influenced by outside sources, some good, some bad. People tell us we’re thinking too big or too unrealistically. They throw statistics at us by saying things like “Only a small percentage of people become successful musicians” or “How many people actually become bestsellers?” Or they equate success with the amount of money to be made: “Artists don’t make any money. You should do something else.”
When it comes to purpose, there is a Scripture that many people love to quote. Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” God has a plan for all our lives. Before you were even put on this earth, you had a function. The greatest question in life is WHY was I born? We get caught up in what we do more than we focus on the why. What were you designed to do? It is your destiny and it must be discovered and developed.
I ask people this all the time: What would you do for free? If money wasn’t an issue, what would you spend your life doing? Your purpose may not always come with a hefty paycheck, but it comes with a peace and fulfillment that can never be bought. It changes lives in ways that money never can. You’re most effective when you’re doing exactly what you’re called to do, helping those you’re called to help. You’re meant to change lives. It’s in your DNA!
It won’t always be easy and it rarely makes sense to other people, but it is an essential part of you. This is true success: your obedience to why you were born.
Questions to Reflect On:
- What gives you fulfillment?
- What did you dream of doing as a kid?
- How do you define success?
- Have you ever felt like the doctor in this story?
“Check out your uniqueness and find out what differentiates you from the billions of people who inhabit this planet. Then pursue your aspiration deliberately and consistently. Be what you are. Capitalize on the natural skills and talents with which you were born, and don’t lose them. When others belittle your special gifts and try to remake you according to their plans and purposes, refuse to yield to their domination. Don’t let anyone prevent you from becoming and doing all that you were born to be and do. Remember, if you don’t deploy yourself, others will soon employ you. Above all else, pursue purpose with a passion and experience the reason for your life” – Dr. Myles Munroe