So many people are stressed, burned out, angry, discouraged, fearful, negative, and just generally unhappy with their life. Many people have heard or may even know that to overcome this overall life dissatisfaction, their life needs purpose and meaning. But their attempts to figure this out have fizzled in a heap of frustration and overwhelm or just never really got off the ground because they didn’t know where to even start.
Sometimes purpose, calling, and assignment can be confusing. Aren’t they the same things? What’s the difference? How do I figure it out?
I think there are many good frameworks to help you uncover your purpose, identify your calling, and choose an assignment. Here is a simple framework I’ve crafted to help you restart that journey of discovery and live a life worth living.
The first step is to discover PURPOSE. Rather than think about what you are here for, think who am I here for. Purpose is the overarching group or affected people you were put on earth to impact.
Once you sense the purpose, it’s time to identify your CALLING. What unique skills, gifts, talents, resources, and/or personality have you been given to use to impact your purpose.
Now that you’ve determined who and how, the final step is to decide where or your ASSIGNMENT. This is the role and place where the people of your purpose are and the practical role in which you will apply your calling.
I believe God has a purpose, calling, and assignment(s) for each of us. Sometimes they are revealed and discovered one at a time over time, sometimes all at once, but they are typically available after a season of spiritual growth.
Questions to Determine My Purpose, Calling, and Assignment
Purpose - Who do I strongly sense I should be impacting with my life? What group/circumstance of people am I deeply drawn to?
Calling - In what unique way and/or with what unique talents, gifts, resources, and/or skills can I use to impact the people that give my life purpose?
Assignment - In what role and place can I use my unique way/talent/skill/gifts/resources to impact the people that give my life purpose? (Note: you can and probably will have multiple assignments over your life)
We experience a life of satisfaction and fulfillment when we are operating in our purpose, calling, and assignment. When we slip out of those areas, we feel the stress, burn out, discouragement, and unhappiness creep back in.
If you identify with this post, I’d love for you to think through purpose, calling, and assignment using this framework. Glad to help in any way I can.
As a guide and example, I have included my PCA below. Note I did not discover this until I was 40 and I’ve clarified the calling and had many assignments the last 10 years. I think it can be discovered much earlier, but that is my story.
My P, C, A
Purpose (Who): Make a positive impact on the lives of young people
Calling (How): Personal mentor and encourager, change facilitator
Assignment (Where): High school volunteer, mental skills coach, HS golf coach, college character coach at UAH, mentoring tool creator at Season Builder Foundation