Why am I here on this earth? Would things have been different if I was born in some other family? Will I be happy if I could get all that I desired? Have these questions ever crossed your mind? If you’re anything like me, these questions would have not just crossed your mind but would have made you look for answers.
I am a person who looks for meaning in most of what I do in life – meaningful relationships, meaningful activities to spend my time, even meaningful music. I used to feel at times like I was caught in the wrong generation – where people live for the moment, have short-term relationships and listen to songs with unreal lyrics. I have nothing against such people; I just used to wonder how they do it?
I needed meaning. This was who I am. And so I questioned. I searched. And then I found. This is my journey to finding meaning and purpose in my life and understanding the blueprint of my life.
I grew up in a secure home with a loving family and enjoyed a happy childhood. I had no major concerns and was mostly a carefree and happy child. Questions had begun to form in my mind but hadn’t yet surfaced. I soon had to start making important decisions. What stream of education should I choose? My friends were quite sure of what they wanted to do in life but I was clueless which made this phase of my life frustrating.
I prayed hard that God would guide me to make the right decision. Since I was sure I didn’t want to do science I decided to study commerce. (What a terrible way to choose the foundation of your career right?) One of my friends convinced me to join a particular college along with her. So I did! (again without any plans of my own). So far, without me doing anything to pave the path for my life, my life was unfolding quite well. Everything just fell into place.
As I began my education I found myself thinking, I have wasted a lot of my life being so carefree and aimless. Now I need to take life seriously. I need to steer my life where I want it to go. I need to control every aspect of my life. So I started thinking of ways to get the life I wanted – cool friends, good grades, a high-profile job, being popular and talented, Mr. Right, etc. I just thought I could achieve whatever I wanted to and therefore don’t have to sell myself short. I wanted to be not just a survivor in this world but an achiever. That’s what will make me happy… I thought.
When I passed out of college, it was the IT boom period in Bangalore. So I easily got into a high-profile company and was delighted. This was exactly what I wanted – A good company, a good role and good money. However, down the line I quit my job. Why? Something was missing.
Here I was working for a good company, earning good money, having people tell me how lucky I was, yet I wasn’t happy. I changed so many jobs and was getting all that I desired, yet I wasn’t happy. I then thought maybe this is how a job is meant to be where you only make money, grow in your career and make more money. You’re not meant to be happy.
That’s what hobbies are for. And so I dragged on praying constantly for guidance if I had to look for another job or for strength if this is what a job was meant to be like. This was a place where I spent about 10 hours a day, 50 hours a week. Most of my waking hours were spent either at work or thinking of work and I couldn’t imagine how I was going to do this for the rest of my life.
I dragged myself to work everyday but it just got harder and harder. One day, as I was on my way to work, in a quiet desperate cry I told God that I could do it no longer and I wanted him to relieve me. Then in order to distract myself from my frustration, I started flipping through the phone numbers on my cell to delete any unnecessary numbers. As I was doing that I stopped at a number named ‘Montessori’.
I was once having a conversation with a classmate about how teaching is a good early retirement option, and then she gave me this number. I didn’t really need it that time as I wasn’t considering teaching as my career at all, but I still took the number just out of courtesy. I thought about how I enjoy being around children. I also thought about the time I used to volunteer in my summer break at a school for the poor to teach children English.
I enjoyed going there everyday even though I wasn’t getting paid for it. Immediately it struck me that money and fancy companies cannot bring me real joy. I quickly called the number and found out that it was the number of a teacher’s training institute that trained teachers for the pre-school level. Then two amazing things happened.
When I asked them when the next course begins (It was October then, and so I was expecting the next course to begin only in January) they told me that I could join the course anytime I wanted to! (I have never heard of joining a course at any time you please). When I asked them where the institute was located I was stunned to find out that it was 15mins from my house! (Now if you live in Bangalore you know that that is really close. And yet I had never seen it or heard of it before). The next day I went to check out this place and I loved it! I resigned that very day and began this course.
‘God has made each of us a first class original.
Today I am teaching in an International school and I not just enjoy my job but it also fills me with a deep sense of satisfaction. Somewhere through this journey I met my life partner. He is so perfect for me that sometimes I feel God custom-made him for me. I would have never imagined this life for myself. If I did manage to imagine I would have never have been able to plan it. And if I did try to plan it, it wouldn’t have been so perfect!
Now I am not saying that everyone has to quit their well paying jobs to find their life’s purpose. This was part of my journey. Yours may be very different. Each of us needs to look within and identify what we want from our life, what brings joy and meaning to us and then pursue it. If we keep complaining and cribbing about our present but do nothing to change it, it only leads to misery. If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.
I also believe that we are not expected to run our lives alone. Our maker made us with a purpose. We have not come out of an assembly line but are uniquely handcrafted for a divine purpose. As we identify and pursue it we enjoy what we do and maximize our potential. We also become a blessing to those around.
My life is not a bed of roses. I still go through struggles and difficulties. But the difference is that I now know that I am not alone in this journey. So I am peaceful through it all. Content. I enjoy everything I do now as long as it is part of God’s will for me, even the struggles that come my way.
‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’- Bible
I did not find my life’s purpose in my job. I am happy in my job, but I know it is temporary. Tomorrow I may not have it or I may have to change my job.
I did not find my life’s purpose in my husband, though I enjoy being with him. Not in my friends, not in wealth, not in my talents, hobbies, etc. I have found it in being who I was designed to be by my Creator!
I have been blessed with the talents of dancing, singing, drawing, painting, playing sport and good communication skills. I wasn’t a pro in any of these areas but I could certainly do all of them. I couldn’t figure out why I had all these skills but didn’t excel in any. Today in my job as a kindergarten teacher, it all makes sense. I need all this but I don’t need to be an expert at it. I guess being able to use all these talents also gives me immense joy in my job.
God has wired us with talents and interests. He has put us in a certain family. He puts us in different circumstances. All of which he uses to fulfill our life’s purpose. You are made for a reason. You will feel deeply satisfied and fulfilled when you find out your life’s purpose.
So my walk will never be the same as anyone else’s. Nor will yours. Don’t ever copy or desire someone else’s life. You are unique and there is a special plan for you. Yes one unique plan just for you. But your life’s purpose won’t just come to you. You have to look for it. You have to ask and seek. And you should be willing to pay the cost for it.