Looking to the Past to Discover Your Purpose
When I was in elementary school, I knew I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. In fact, I loved playing school so much that I made my own grade book out of an old accounting ledger pad and created names for all the kids in my class.
I always loved finding old school books or even new ones to add to my curriculum. One year, I wanted to stay in from recess to help my teacher. She let me do it a couple of times, however she finally made me go outside to play.
Sometime during junior high or early high school my interest shifted to business. I think it was because I knew how kids really acted in school and I knew I didn’t want to have to deal with bad behavior from those who did not want to be in school.
I think what attracted me to business was the fact I was familiar with it somewhat due to family history (my dad & uncles were all businessmen), but I also realized I thought in a more logical rather than creative way. Facts and figures have always fascinated me, so I ended up choosing accounting as my major.
Well, by my junior year of college, I was not so sure that I had made the right decision. Accounting was much harder than I anticipated, and my grades were not as good as I wanted them to be. I stuck with it though, and graduated with a double major in accounting and finance. Then a few years later, I passed the CPA exam.
I worked for a company for 5 years using my accounting degree. Then when I gave birth to my son, I came home to be a stay-at-home mom.
The past 16 1/2 years have seen me struggling to find my place or really my purpose beyond being a wife and mom. While I focused on those areas for several years, I always felt that God had something more for me.
As part of the certification process for the Find Your Beautiful Life Plan I took a spiritual gifts inventory. I discovered that teaching was my Primary or Motivational gift. This means that being a teacher is who God designed me to be.
I remembered how much I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. I really feel God placed that in my heart all those years ago. I just didn’t understand that it may not mean teaching a classroom full of kids.
Now I can teach through my writing and speaking. And you know what? I love it! I think that’s why I love to write so much. I’m getting to share things I’ve learned and teach it to others. Isn’t God amazing!
Maybe you’ve had a dream as a young child or young adult that has been pushed aside because life happened and there just hasn’t been any way to fulfill it. Or maybe you had experiences growing up that could be indicators to what your purpose is for this season of your life.
Here are a few ways to help you look to your past to discover your purpose:
1. Make a timeline of your life.
A great way to look at your past is to create a timeline of your life. It kind of sounds intimidating, but it’s not!
Simply take out a sheet of paper and divide it into sections and label them Childhood, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, and 60+. These will represent the different decades of your life.
Use each section to write significant events and people in your life during that time. These could be things like a parent passing away when you were a child, high school/college graduation, job losses, new careers, children, significant illnesses, or moving. You get the picture. Just write anything that impacted your life during that time.
2. Analyze your timeline.
Look over your timeline and see if you notice any patterns. On my own timeline I realized that writing had been a part of my life since high school. I also noticed that I had different situations where I was in a “teaching” position.
I believe if you will think about your life in depth and analyze your timeline, God will reveal to you how He has been working in your life over the years to bring you to where you are now.
3. Think about your childhood dreams.
Is there something you’ve always had a burning desire to do? Can you see how God may be opening doors for you to pursue that now or in the near future?
Don’t discount childhood dreams. I really think God plants those dreams even if they don’t turn out quite like we expect. Give some time to thinking about your dreams and ask God to show you how He may be preparing you to fulfill those dreams.