God has a purpose for each one of us and he also created in us the abilities to fulfill them. For some, they realize their purpose early and get better as they grow in it. However, for some others, it takes forever to know. In all of these, there is a common error fundamental to the society we live in; people do not incorporate nor align their educational pursuit with their God given abilities.
I write this article to challenge a popular norm and effect a paradigm shift with the way people pursue conventional education outside passions. So society ended up producing graduates in fields they do not have passions for and thus perform below their abilities. I know for a fact that we can have fulfillment and enjoy what we do if we as young adults discover our purpose early and align our formal education, job experience and career with it.
For us to appreciate the depth of this write-up, I will define what purpose means here. According to Webster English dictionary, purpose is the reason for which something is created or the reason for which something exists. Biblically, it refers to the intention of GOD carried out through the heart of men. As believers, we are here in this world not for our own personal PURPOSE but for God’s. For more clarity, here is what God’s Word says about PURPOSE. ‘But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth’ (Exodus 9:16).
Discover My Purpose?! Why?
One of the greatest challenges of being a youth is the lack of purpose. There is nothing ever created without its own purpose and when the purpose of a thing is not known, there is bound to be an abuse. Youths engages in destructive activities such as chemical abuse and crimes because they are clueless of why they are in this world. Your purpose carries your glory and protection. It also has your manual and blueprint, your uniqueness, genetic makeup and it is custom built for you. It is therefore paramount we all know the purpose of our existence in other for us to maximize life.
Another important reason why everyone alive should discover his or her purpose is that you have been graced and empowered enough by GOD in a specific area of life and success will come to you naturally if you function in such specific area. Our society as we know it does not celebrate mediocrity and average but only extraordinary and excellence and these can only be attained by the man who discovered his purpose and walked in it. If purpose discovery is a sure way to a life of extraordinary and impact, then it follows that aligning your education with purpose makes the process faster and more guaranteed.
Discover my God’s Given Purpose?! How?
- Right Relationship with God (1 chronicle 12:32):
We must be in the spirit to discern the mind of God and when we are consistent, he will open our eyes to know his plans for us. His words say; for I know the plans that I have for you, they are good and not evil, to give you future and a hope… It starts when you submit the totality of your life to God and ask him to be your lord and savior (born again). When this is done, you will be sanctified and make holy thereby activating the force of the Holy Spirit and a living relationship with GOD.
- Avoid popular culture and traditions
Roman 12: 2 pretty much summarized this assertion. ‘Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, who is good and pleasing and perfect. Therefore by daily reading, studying and meditating on the word of God, he will gradually begin to reveal his divine purpose for your life’.
- Discover Your Passion, gifts and skillset:
God will not call you to a purpose he has not grace and empower you for and most often, all the things you need to fulfill your assignment is within you, and that is why the details of your birth and life experiences are all part of God design for you. You must therefore pay attention to your skills, innate abilities, your driving force, what excites you and what you will do every day for free and not get tired of it. In his book ‘Good to Great’ Jim Collins talked about the concept of the three circles of: 1) What you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at and 3) what you can be profitable at. According to him, when you represent each of these with circles and are drawn side by side alongside one another, the point where they meet is your purpose.
The bible says when a man is diligent in his ways; he will dine with kings and not mere men. I ask us, what makes a man diligent? Diligent comes about when you are passionate for a thing whether it has financial rewards or not . If society only celebrates and worship excellence and not mediocrity, it follows then that you will be celebrated when you commit your heart and passion to whatever you enjoy doing.
How Does Education go with Purpose?
‘’Ipoint it to you that Purposeful education goes beyond attending college for a degree; it is catching a vision and building yourself around it’’
Let me ask us, what is the purpose of our conventional education? The purpose of education is to appropriately prepare our children for their future. What future? Can you prepare someone for what you do not know? Our educational system is designed like an assembly line in a producing factory, where we install math on them, and install reading, and science, and then we measure their learning at the end of the year, to make sure they all meet the standards, that they all know the same things. Of course, this makes perfect sense in an industrial age, where you need workers who know the same things, think the same way, working in unison.
In a conceptual age, it is not what you know that brings success to an endeavor. It is how you think and solve problems that are different, and your ability to bring a new set of knowledge and experience to the task that brings value. Education does not necessarily means formal classroom setting, it could be volunteer on the job, it could be carried out on the job, it could be reading the bible and meditating in it, it could be through bible study and sermons, it could be the Holy Spirit speaking and teaching you.
Practical steps to Aligning God- Given Purpose with Education
- Research (Hosea 4:6) my people perish from lack of knowledge. Carefully research schools offering courses in the area of your interest.
- Carry out your internship/ volunteer or work for organizations in the area of your interest for needed experience
- Listen to your parents, spiritual elders and mentors (Exodus 20:12) Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving
- (Prov 22:6) As the ones who make the major decision, parents and guardians should carefully study and understand the direction their wards are going and encourage them .Not only this, they should also direct them in the right way to go.
‘Purpose-guided education prioritizes intrinsic motivation and helps students to become more engaged in learning experiences through connecting their beliefs and life goals to curricular requirements’.
Jerry Pattengale began the application of purpose guided education application at Indiana Wesleyan University in 1997. Here, considerable focus was placed on a student’s vocation (instead of career) and aligning life goals with curricular choices instead of following traditional majors without understanding one’s passions The graduation rates increased over 20% during the next ten years, and ensuing publications, collaborative research projects, and other scholarly activities gained national attention.
It is time we as a people begin to live life by design and not by default, to intentionally seek educational path that will enhance the purpose of God upon our lives. It is then that we can enjoy life and imprint our footprint in the sand of time.