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6 Ways to Rediscover Your Purpose after Difficult Times

6 Ways to Rediscover Your Purpose after Difficult Times

None of us are immune from difficult times. Whether for a day or a season, we all face difficulties that make us question our purpose and wonder whether God is really sovereign over all things. Well friend, rest assured – God IS on his throne and will never let you drown under the weight of your circumstances. In fact, he has a beautiful purpose for you.

It can be hard to figure out what specific things God created us to do and enjoy – especially when setbacks happen that make us question whether we were on the right track after all.

If you have been knocked down by difficult times but are ready to rediscover your purpose, here are 6 things you can do to renew your hope and help you find your purpose again.

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  • 1. Look to Christ through His Word

    Friend, if you do nothing else on this list, I beg you: pursue Christ through the study of his Word. You will never fully know yourself apart from knowing him, because each of us is made in his image, to glorify and follow him all the days of our lives. Your identity is so rooted in Christ that without knowing Christ, you can’t hope to know yourself. So make a habit of spending time with Jesus each day, through the study of Scripture and through prayer. Nothing will fill you with more purpose and joy than that.

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  • 2. Write Down Your Hopes and Dreams and Surrender them All to Him

    Maybe it’s too painful for you to think about now, but make a plan for sometime in the future to spend some time writing down what your hopes and dreams used to be and are now. Then take those things and do the following physical, mental and spiritual act of surrender:

    1. Take the list and hold it in your open hands (symbolizing that you will no longer hold your dreams tightly but will live open handed to God’s will.

    2. Lift your list high into the air, as a symbol of sending those hopes and dreams directly to God.

    Now pray: Lord, I surrender these hopes and dreams to you. You know life has dealt a hard blow lately. I am weary and wounded. Mend my heart and make it beat only for you. Change, soften, and transform my heart, soul and mind toward your purposes. Help your dreams for my life become my dreams too. Take these dreams I have and do as you will. Help me keep living life open handed. Amen.

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  • 3. Do What You Love

    Did you know that one of the unique purposes of your life is to enjoy the things God created you to enjoy? When hard times hit, we’re so busy putting out the “fires” in our lives that we can quickly become burnt out. One way to rejuvenate and remember your purpose is to spend one afternoon (just a few hours even!) doing one thing that brings your heart joy. Maybe it’s painting, reading, gardening, hiking… find a thing that refreshes you and spend some time doing what God has created you to love! 

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  • 4. Seek Beauty

    When we’re despondent in spirit and life has dealt a hard blow, sometimes we just need to get outside of our own heads and seek something beautiful and greater than ourselves. Connecting with something beautiful can remind us that not everything is hopeless or broken. There is still good to be discovered in the world, and God wants you to seek it. 

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  • 5. Encourage Others

    The summary of all the Law and Prophets, Jesus told his followers, was 1) love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and 2) to love others as ourselves. We can’t possibly know our purpose in life without understanding that we were made to love God and love others. If you’re struggling to find purpose, joy or encouragement, start by encouraging another person. Pray for eyes to see the friends, family and community around you that might need an encouraging word or deed. The unexpected benefit of encouraging others: we feel encouraged too.

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  • 6. Reach Out and Help Someone Suffering

    Writer and Theologian Frederick Buechner famously wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” If you’re struggling to know what your purpose is after a setback or loss, think about this: what need do you see in the world that would give you great gladness to meet?

    Maybe you love children- consider sponsoring a child or foster care. Maybe God has given you a love for writing and words – consider writing encouraging cards to shut-ins or those who are incarcerated. Maybe you love taking walks – have you considered forming a prayer walk group or at least silently praying while you walk?

    Finding our purpose surprising comes when we look outside ourselves and see how God has uniquely created us to glorify him, love him and love others as we love him. It’s through looking up and looking out that our deepest peace and joy can be found.  

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