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Your Purpose Is Not a Destination. It’s This.

The number-one mindset shift you will ever have to make concerning your purpose is internalizing this:

Purpose is not a destination; it’s a lifestyle.

It is not a place you arrive to; it is a place you live from.

This seemingly simplistic explanation of purpose is often hard for many to embrace. Let’s clear up some language that we tend to use interchangeably to help us understand this further.

  • Purpose: how we function

The combination of our divinely given gifts, talents, temperament, and abilities that reflect the likeness of God.

  • Calling: why we function

An invitation from God, usually experienced as a strong, unwavering nudge to use our natural gifts, talents, temperament, and abilities in a way that serves God’s plans and not our own.

  • Assignment: when and where we function

A divine directive or divinely ordered opportunity to use our natural gifts, talents, temperament, and abilities in a way that serves God’s plans and not our own in order to be a solution to a specific place or group of people. It is intended to be executed within a set, discernable time frame. This may come with a set of specific deliverables.

Most of us have spent the better part of our lives searching for an understanding of what we are placed here on earth to do when the true pursuit is to experience revelation about who we are as God’s own treasured handiwork. When we make this shift in our thinking, the question What was I created to do? becomes Who was I created to be? and further on to How was I created to function? How you function is your purpose. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

courage and confidence book by nicole o. salmon

Purpose Principles Found in the Bible

Here are some biblical examples of this purpose principle:

Joseph the Dreamer

Joseph was given the name Dreamer by his envious brothers (Genesis 37:19), who meant to use it as an insult but in turn identified his divine gifting. At seventeen years of age Joseph had his first recorded prophetic dream, and since everyone around him didn’t want to believe it, they tried to bury it. Joseph was a leader, a good communicator, a natural problem solver, and a divinely gifted prophet. We don’t see the breadth of Joseph’s purpose until about a decade and a half later, when time and process meet calling and assignment and he becomes the second-in-command to Pharaoh over Egypt. For now, seventeen-year-old Joseph is a boy living at home who is babied by his father, hated and bullied by his brothers, and a bit of an immature antagonist of his brothers.

Joseph’s purpose was not attained when he became the governor of Egypt. That was one of his many assignments, the one that is typically elevated as the indicator that he had “found his purpose.”

Joseph’s calling was to use his divine natural abilities to help people gain an understanding of what God was doing in a particular time of His people. He yielded to that deep, unwavering nudge by living in his purpose, which was simply to function as the prophetic dreamer and leader that he already was. As we read about the life of Joseph from Genesis 37–47, we learn that he was constantly being chosen for leadership positions and growing in his prophetic gift as a dreamer-turned-dream-interpreter (and, additionally, as a wise strategist). From the time he was sold into slavery, to his short stint in prison, and then on to his appointment by Pharaoh to the palace as governor, no matter where life found him, life found him in his purpose.

PURPOSE POINT TO PONDER: Being in the right alignment will bring you to your right assignment.

Jesus the Savior

Right from Jesus’ divine conception, we are told in Matthew 1:21, His name would be Jesus (which means “Savior”) because He was going to “save his people from their sins.” Jesus’ calling was to point people back to the Father. As a result of His divine purpose and calling to save, help, rescue, deliver (the list goes on), we naturally find Him doing good everywhere He went, as we see throughout the New Testament. Specifically, we see Him functioning as Savior well before the Cross. Jesus Christ had a uniquely climactic assignment: to die for our sins, making provision for our salvation. Thank you, Jesus!

But even Jesus’ life story is filled with what I call “purpose pit stops.” These are day-to-day moments where we encounter minor and major problems requiring a particular kind of purpose to solve them. (You guessed it: They require our purpose.) Jesus encountered the sick, the possessed, and even the dead. Wherever life found Him, life found Him in His purpose, functioning in His natural ability to heal, deliver, and even raise the dead. Even His detours turned into divine occasions for deliverance. Note this. As He functions as Savior, we also experience Him as Healer, Provider, Protector, and so much more. Like Christ, as we respond to life firm in the knowledge of Whose we are, more and more is revealed about who we are.

PURPOSE POINT TO PONDER: Taking action will reveal your function.

In the same way that God is, you are.

When I was in my teens, the then-perceived office job as an inbound telemarketer was the coveted job. I traveled miles, took tests, and aced interviews to get it. When I did, it was such a beautiful letdown. This is no disrespect to anyone currently in that role. This was true about most of the people and things I idolized at that time. When they weren’t a beautiful letdown, once the mystery was gone, most things in life that I elevated started to look and feel like the Wizard of Oz, a little man with a megaphone.

Whether you are the CEO of Starbucks or a barista, you can show up as who you are, have impact, and still know you are walking in your purpose because it’s not a destination; it’s a lifestyle.

Taken from Courage and Confidence: A Bold Guide to Unboxing Who You Were Created to Be by Nicole O. Salmon © 2023. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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Nicole O. Salmon
Nicole O. Salmon
Nicole O. Salmon is an author, speaker, pastor, professional coach, mother, and wife. Nicole worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years with organizations serving communities experiencing marginalization. Nicole is a certified life skills and marriage coach and level three personality dimensions trainer holding a bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry with post certifications in adult learning and cognitive behavioral therapy. She is the founder and host of the Preach Sis Activation Summit. Nicole extends those passions in her role as associate pastor at EKM Toronto Ontario in Canada. Together with her husband, Evon, and their five children she lives a full and purpose-filled life in Brampton, Ontario Canada.