By Bart Schuchts, Catholic Stand, July 16, AD2017
Have you ever pondered this question? “How do I know God’s will for my life”?
I believe God has placed this question deep within our heart as a compass to navigate us toward greater fulfillment: ‘What is my unique purpose on this earth and how do I find it?’ The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for… “(CCC 27).
These are simple yet profound truths: God’s desire is written into our heart; God created us for a purpose; God never stops drawing us; Only in God will we find the happiness we search for.
Every Creator Creates With a Purpose:
“Man is created for God and by God.” (CCC 27)
Ultimately, our deepest fulfillment comes as we live according to the way we were created to operate: A car was not created to be an airplane. A light bulb was not created to be a baseball… you get the point. Everything that is created is created for a purpose. God created us for a unique purpose, and since God is good, His purpose is good.
(Jeremiah 29:11 )“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 hope and a future.”
Do we believe that God’s purpose is good? Do we believe that God plans to prosper us and not harm us? Do we live our life that way – with hope and a future?
God created us for a purpose. Perhaps we know that, yet, we as mankind, the ones created in God’s image and likeness – the ones with the mental capacity to create greatness – seem to lose sight of this obvious assumption that we were created for a specific purpose that is good.
Only in God will (man) find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for…(CCC 27)
While we may grasp this truth, our hearts don’t always align with this reality. There is a longing within each of us to find our own unique purpose. Sometimes this quest leads us to life, other times it leads to destruction.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Jesus came to bring us life and He paid the ultimate price for us to live the abundant life He purchased for us. The evil-one came to steal life. Our quest for a purpose can lead us on the wide road to destruction or the narrow road to life (Matthew 7:13-14).
While it is true that our happiness comes from God, and the evil-one opposes the abundant life Christ purchased for us, it seems too vague to conclude that only in God will we find the happiness that we seek. It is obviously true, but is it specific enough to satisfy this deep longing within us for individual purpose?
There is something that calls out from within seeking to discover the unique purpose we were created for as individuals: If we pay close enough attention we will discover a deeper question within us: What unique purpose was I placed on this earth to accomplish? How do I discover it?
Pope Francis challenges us all in this bold declaration:
“An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world. And this is the question we should pose ourselves: do we too have great visions and zeal? Are we bold too? Do our dreams fly high? Are we consumed by zeal? Or are we mediocre and satisfied with our theoretical apostolic plans? Let us always remember that the strength of the Church does not reside in herself or in her organizational capacity, but is instead concealed in the deep waters of God. And these waters agitate our desires, and our desires expand our hearts.” www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/faith-desires-to-change-the-world-pope-francis-says/
In keeping with the deep water analogy Pope Francis lays out, let’s explore this subject of purpose as if we are leaving the docks of mediocrity and exploring the deep waters of God in search of a greater purpose.
“Do our dreams fly high”? Do we “desire to change the world”? Do we have “great vision and zeal”? “Are we bold”?
If we were to venture out into the “deep waters of God” and “agitate our desires” and “expand our hearts”, what might we discover?
“God never stops drawing us to Himself” (CCC 27)
Every ship that ventures out into the deep waters needs to have a compass to set their course on. We are no different. We too have a compass that we are to navigate life by. That compass is within our heart.
CCC 2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.
If we lose our compass reading we lose our way:
I was once lost at sea in the midst of a massive storm with no land in sight. Our compass went wacky and we lost our reading. We were drifting out in the deep sea, lost. I knew we were going to die. Yet, by the grace of God, a tug boat came across our path and bailed us out. We lived.
It is frightening to lose ones compass out in the deep waters.
It is equally as frightening when we lose our compass through life and we disconnect from our heart. Our heart is the place of Encounter with God.
Desire is the Compass of the Heart:
“The desire for God is written in the human heart.” (CCC 27)
What does this mean? The word Desire comes from the root words De and Sire. “De” means “of”. “Sire” means “Father”. True desire comes from the Father.
That is why the Catechism tells us that only in God will man find the truth and happiness that he seeks. Because God is our Creator and He placed this “compass” within us to navigate the deep waters of life. Only in God will we find the deep fulfillment our hearts long for. The compass of our heart is leading us there.
Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
“Delight” here means “soft and pliable”. As we are soft and pliable in the hands of the Lord, like clay in the hands of the Potter (Jeremiah 18), He will give us (fulfill) the desires He has placed within our hearts.
The compass of our heart will lead us to God, who will lead us to the unique purpose He has placed within our hearts. As we follow true and pure desires from within our heart, we will discover our unique purpose. Only when we find our God-ordained purpose will we be truly fulfilled. God has written His purpose within our hearts. It is hard-wired into our very unique DNA. His unique desire for us is written into our hearts.
It is great to know that our fulfillment is found only in God, but what about my own unique purpose? How do I discover that?
Here are a few thoughts to ponder as you explore God’s will/purpose for your life:
Follow the Compass within – follow the deep desires within your heart: This can be tricky at times because we have a mixture of desires. How do I know which ones are from God? Simply put: that which brings life is from God, that which brings destruction is from the evil-one. Follow life. Ask the Holy Spirit to awaken His pure and holy desires within your heart and ask Him to help you navigate them toward His greater purposes that lead to life and fulfillment.
Abide In Christ (see John 15) and trust in the One who Created you: Jesus is our source of truth and life. He will lead us if we will follow Him.
We are not navigating through life alone. Know that God is with you always: “The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5; “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” Matthew 28:20; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Know that God is ordering your steps. As you follow the compass within, assuming your life belongs to Christ, He will lead you toward life, purpose, and fulfillment: Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are from the Lord, and he establishes him in whose way he delights.”; Proverbs 20:24 “A man’s steps are ordered by the Lord; how then can man understand his way?
In Christ, we find the abundant life we long for. He is the source of adventure we long for as we navigate the deep waters of life… God is calling us deeper. Will you go?
CCC 294 “…God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…for “the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover, man’s life is the vision of God… The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may, at last, become “all in all”, thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.”
CCC 450 “…The Church. . . believes that the key, the center and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in its Lord and Master.”
In Mark 1:17, Jesus said, “Come, follow me”…
As we follow the compass of our heart, with Jesus leading the way, we will navigate the deep waters of God and live into the greater purpose we were created to fulfill – both His greater purpose and the unique purpose He created us for.
It is in this deep waters of God that we will find and fulfill the purpose our hearts long for.
Will you follow Him out into the deep to live in the abundant life Christ promised