“What do you think God specifically created you to do in life?” I asked.
My 9 and 11 year old pondered the question for a bit.
Sure my children could give an answer as to the general purpose of man. “To love and serve God,” one spurted out. “…and to love others and tell them about God,” the other added. However their blank expression with this particular question, confirmed my thoughts.
On a personal level, they didn’t recognize how God could use them to fulfill His purpose. They didn’t know (or had ever considered) how they fit into God’s great plan.
Helping My Children Find Their Purpose
Of course, this came as no surprise. After all, I had no idea what my calling was until much later in my life. As a matter of fact, I know many adults who are still struggling with this question. So had it not been for a previous conversation with my oldest daughter, I would have never thought to address the topic with my younger children.
Having been homeschooled all her life and now attending college, I asked my oldest daughter what she would have changed about her homeschooling experience. “I would have liked having more goals,” she answered.
Sometimes, I felt like I didn’t know where I was going or why the things I was doing was important. I think if I had a clearer picture of my target it would have helped me during the times I was unsure.”
I thought about her words and how I would apply this new insight in the homeschooling of my little ones. She was right. Knowing where you’re going and having check points along the way certainly makes a journey easier to navigate, especially in times of uncertainty.
But as I considered the situation, I began to wonder. If this was true in homeschooling, wouldn’t it also be true in their spiritual life?
Did my children have a spiritual goal? Could they see their target? Did they understand their own purpose?
How effective would my children would be if they recognized the plan God planted in their life before they reached adulthood! How much work could they accomplish!
Therefore, we began this series of discussions to help uncover God’s plan in their lives.
What’s in a Name
Discussion: Names are meaningful and can be a powerful tool to help guide children along their path. From Jacob the “supplanter,” to David “the beloved,” the Bible is filled with examples of people who lived out the meaning of their names.
Questions: Your name means”God is salvation.” What do you think living out “God is salvation” would look in someone’s life? Would it mean having extra special faith in God? Would it involve helping others come to know the Lord? How could you think you could encourage others to see that God is salvation?
Dreams and Goals
Discussion: Dreams are like special seeds God plants in our hearts when He creates us, just waiting to sprout and bear fruit. They are unique to individuals and an integral part of God’s plan in our lives.
Questions: What do you want to be when you grow up? Make a list of your dreams and think of ways God can use you in this field of work to further His kingdom?
Embracing strengths and weaknesses
Discussion: God made you unique. He knows exactly how He wants to use you and has equipped you with the skills necessary to accomplish this goal. Some skills come naturally (strengths) while some are not yet developed (weaknesses). Both can be hindrances or beneficial. Strengths can be perfected but if they are not balanced with certain character traits, they can hinder you from reaching your potential and accomplishing your goal. Likewise, while you are working on developing weaknesses, these underdeveloped talents can actually be beneficial by either balancing an opposing strength or bolstering a strength.
Questions: List your strengths and weaknesses. How can you use these God given skills to help you accomplish your dreams and goals? How can they become a hindrance?
Teachers and Tools
Discussion: Not only does God lay the foundation for us to have the skills we need to accomplish our task, He will provide teachers and experiences to instruct us along the way. The trick however, is to recognize them. It may come in the form of people who provide great living examples of skills or traits we are in need of learning. On the other hand, experiences can provide opportunities to test out newly learned skills.
Questions: Look at the list of your dreams, goals, strengths/weaknesses, name meaning. Look at the people who are in your life right now. Who has God placed in your life to be a successful example of living out a specific skill or character trait? Who works in the field that you’re interested in pursuing? Are there unsuccessful examples that God has allowed you to see to learn what not to do? What situations have taken place where God could have been testing your skills in an area?
As we went through the discussions, my children and I were amazed at our findings. Smiles lit their faces as each answer became another brush stroke in the painting of their path, each detail of their lives revealing the handiwork of God. Full of renewed faith, we marveled at manner in which God had orchestrated their lives.
Though the details may change along the way as God refines and further pinpoints their path and I may not know truly where they will end up, there is one thing I can rest in today. If you ask my children about their purpose in life, they can now see their target and have a quick and ready answer.