Columnists Features

Why do you exist? You are alive for a reason

IN order for us to find the purpose of our lives, we must first understand purpose itself. What is purpose? There are many definitions of purpose, but we shall settle for one: “Purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”
Purpose has to do with reason – that is, the original intention. In other words, intention comes before invention or, if you like, existence. We may safely say therefore that we are born for a purpose. Purpose is not something that develops as we grow older; it is something we grow up with.
When we look at a newborn baby, or a toddler, or a little boy or girl just starting school, we must know that each one of them exists for a purpose. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we must know we exist for a purpose.
And the purpose of our existence does not depend on whether we know it or not; it does not depend on our emotions either: we may feel useless or lost in life, helpless or confused, but that does not take away the fact that we were born for a purpose.
The issue then is not whether or not we have a purpose, but whether or not we know the purpose. We need to go beyond knowing our purpose, though: we need to pursue and strive to fulfill it. This is only possible of course if we live a purpose-driven life. Terry Mark, the writer, says of purpose: “We are alive for a reason. There’s always a reason to live.
We need to find this reason everyday, hope and work daily to realise it before we are finally gone.”
It is possible to live a purposeless life; to die without ever knowing our purpose.
It is important to realise that living a purposeless life does not necessarily mean doing nothing. We might even be doing sensible things, positive things, and yet live a purposeless life because we exert our energies on pursuits that do not move our purpose forward. Purpose is more than just being able to earn a living.
Before you pursue a career or vision, or as you pursue one, it is important to ask yourself if it is in agreement with the purpose of your existence.
You might for example choose to become a teacher, and it might be possible for you to become one and earn a living. But then is that what you are meant to become? Do not pursue a career by default, but by reason of purpose. This is why some people have a job but lack satisfaction – even when the pay is good – because their heart is elsewhere. They do not enjoy their work because they were not “designed” for it.
Purpose is discovered by a deliberate effort of soul-searching, self-assessment and introspection: Why do I exist? What are my strengths and what is my passion? What is my area of competence? Purpose is not an accident.
Neither is it something you create when you have grown up: you are born with it, born in it and born for it. You cannot invent or design purpose. Instead, purpose designs and makes you. Purpose determines design, as design determines purpose; but purpose comes before design.
The purpose of a boat is that it should move on water; and it is so designed. It was not designed to fly or move on roads.
The point therefore is that God created you for a particular purpose, and only you can fulfill it because it is specific to your life and circumstances. No one else can fulfill your purpose on your behalf. And you cannot fulfill another person’s purpose.

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