Does Purpose Pay?
Updated: Jul 13, 2021
A few weeks ago, while in conversation with a close friend, we discussed the concept of purpose. The conversation began by way of her scrolling on social media. She stopped on a post made by a guy we met in college. In his post, he shared a new job he was embarking on and equated it to walking in his purpose. As she showed me the post, I expressed my disinterest with people equating a job to purpose. She asked why and I stated that I don’t believe ones’ career is always a reflection of walking in purpose. You see, a career may only be a means to provide and not necessarily what we were placed on this earth by God to do. In no way am I negating the fact that for some, jobs are in direct alignment with purpose, but for me, that is not the case. In fact, that couldn’t be further from my story.
Growing up, I witnessed a few of my aunts and uncles thriving in their careers. They were attorneys, engineers, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc. How I perceived it, this meant they were well off in their purpose. So, with seeing this, I thought of the two – career and purpose – as equal. For some of my other family members who did not have these careers or were not well off (from the outer appearance), I took that to mean they were not walking in purpose but just working to survive. The most popular question for my aunts and uncles to ask was, “what do you want to study in college?” I struggled with this question because I thought my purpose/career had to be elaborate like theirs, or else I would not feel fulfilled. Yet, I did not want to be an attorney, an engineer, a doctor, or any of the above. So, in a frenzy and with the desire to answer this question – which became more frequent as I approached high school - I chose journalism. Because I enjoyed writing, I figured this was it and ended up pursuing English in college. Upon graduating, I tried to model what I saw growing up and failed. What I found was not purpose per se, but frustration. I couldn’t land a job as a journalist and felt unfulfilled in the career paths that I embarked on. I wanted so badly to be in alignment with what I thought my purpose was – a successful career – that I found myself depressed most days and just struggling.
I am just now reaching an understanding of what purpose truly is. As I debunk this notion that a career is in direct relationship with purpose, I can fully operate in mine. My career is not synopsis with my purpose. My career is just that, a career. I am most grateful for my career because it is the means through which God provides for me. However, my purpose shakes my soul and keeps me grounded. It may not be extravagant, but it is necessary. It is the place I feel most fulfilled, even on the days I feel inadequate. As I continue to debunk culture’s way of defining purpose, I also desire to model to younger generations what walking in purpose looks like. I want them to know that their purpose is the solution to something that only they can solve. I pray that they come to understand this concept of purpose and see it through the lens of Jesus. Jesus was a carpenter, yet his purpose was to die on the cross for our sins, so that we may be saved and live eternally. The two were not equal, and boy am I glad about that.
What are your thoughts on purpose? Did you grow up in a similar environment as I did? Leave a comment below or chat with me directly to share. I’d love to hear your story!