The sense of meaning in life, which often involves a belief in a Higher Power, will also imply a life mission. What is it that we are here on earth to accomplish, or, in other words, why are we here?
To find one’s individual life mission involves the whole person – not just the mind and intellect, but also the will and heart. It is also a spiritual pursuit including the wisdom of faith and religion. Ultimately, the search for our life mission will lead us to God – the one who calls us to a vocation and has a destiny for us, as well as the one who gives us enthusiasm – from the Greek “en theos” or “God in us”.
Figuring out our life mission is less a problem to be solved than a learning process, and as with all learning, there are stages that need to be passed through. This process involves both learning and unlearning.
One’s mission can be seen in three aspects – the first two are shared with all humanity, the last one is individual.
So our mission is:
- To seek to stand hour by hour in the conscious presence of God, the One from whom our mission is derived.In other words, to know God, enjoy him forever, and see His hand in all His works.This is not just busyness with doing something, but rather being – being faithful sons and daughters of God – the One from whom we came and to whom we shall return (cf. John 16:28).If our origin is from God, a relationship with the divine is a given. While on earth, however, we have lost memory of our origin or destiny – in a sense, we are victims of amnesia. To seek after faith in this life is to try to climb out of that amnesia in order to reclaim knowledge we once knew as certainty.
To seek God in the physical realm is challenging in our amnesia, where the temptation is to just interpret life in physical terms. In addition, our heart has a rebellious streak and delights in being our own god in the purely physical sphere. This is the condition of “sin” which is difficult to relinquish.
Through God’s grace and with His help, we need to reach out beyond the physical to perceive a spiritual interpretation of our life – to detect within the material a Spirit and a Person who is with us – the real and loving Presence of the great Creator. It is in God, not in our own being, that our specialness and uniqueness lies.
We can take our journey with God to yet a greater height and personal transformation, indeed having God live in us, by asking for His Divine Love to enter our hearts (Rom. 5:5). This is the way to being born from above and becoming a new person in Christ (John 3:3-7 and 2 Cor. 5:17).
Once we have discovered God and His Love that can be ours for the asking, we can go on with the other parts of our life mission.
- To do what we can at all times, following the guidance of the divine Spirit with and around us, to make this world a better place.
While we may have expected this mission to be something grand – a mountaintop experience – we find ourselves in a valley and even in fog. Our life mission becomes taking one step at a time in faith and trust of God’s leading, even if we don’t see the overall plan or outcome.
All of us are here to bring more gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, and love into the world. Our step-by-step mission is to every time, in every decision, in every encounter with another person, choose the path that will accomplish this. We need to learn to be faithful in our small tasks in the valley before we’ll be entrusted a larger mission close to the mountain top.
The valley is not just a training camp – its ultimate goal is to make the earth like heaven and human life more like God’s. This is happening little by little – through small acts of kindness by many individuals.
- To exercise the God-given gifts and talents that give us a delight to use in places and settings that appeal to us for the purposes that God needs to have done in the world.
Free will is involved in discerning and putting in practice this individual mission. Our gifts are discernible from what we are good at and what we enjoy doing – it has already been revealed to each of us in this manner. Career counselling can help guide a person along the right path here.
The place God calls us to is at the intersection of what gives us deep gladness and where the world’s deep hunger meet. It will be a mission of love acted out in one or more of the following arenas:
mind in order to bring more truth into the world;
heart in order to bring more love and beauty into the world; or
will in order to bring more perfection into the world through service.
We can be confident that we are here for a reason and will remain until God decides that we have accomplished our life mission. Therefore, we need not be overly concerned about life or death as long as we are doing what we came to do.
The results of our efforts, accomplished with the help of the Spirit guidance, may not be obvious in our lifetime, but will ultimately become known to us.
Reference and adapted from: Richard N. Bolles, How to Find Your Mission in Life, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California, 2000.