A friend of mine once told me about the two most important days in a person’s life: the day you were born and the day when you found out why. Pretty good, concise philosophy.

There was the day when you made your grand entrance into the world, kicking and screaming into a strange, cold world of doctors, nurses and cooing parents. And then, quite a long time after that, there was the day when something or someone convinced you that you had arrived on that first day for a reason.

I find myself wondering how many of us are living somewhere between those two days, like actors who have arrived on stage but who have not yet found out what part we are playing.

If that describes you, you are not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. While we all know people who seem to exude confidence – who just seem to know who they are and what they are doing – there are far more of us who are still waiting for someone to hand us the script. In the meantime we live improvisational lives, making it up as we go along. We go to work, unsure if we can call it a “vocation.”

We live the routine, all the while knowing that somewhere, deep down within us beats the heart of an adventurer. We make plans, but we are in search of a destiny.

Many people ask me, “How can I find my purpose?” So this is what I say to them. First, know that God has a purpose for you. Even if you don’t know what it is, it is there in the mind of God. Second, look at your life. Listen for the messages in what others are telling you – about your gifts, about those things that come naturally to you.

Third, as Joseph Campbell puts it, “Follow your bliss.” Ask yourself: What is it in life that gives me joy? What do I feel passionate about?

The last step is described by the writer Frederick Buechner, who said that true vocation can be found at that place “where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.”

If something truly gives you joy, and the world desperately needs you to do it, bingo! That’s a bona fide, genuine, unadulterated calling. Because the day you find it is the second greatest day of your life.


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