What should I do with my life?... and the power of questioning
What do you want… really, truly want for this brave, beautiful life you’ve been given? If you’re not exactly sure you’re headed in the right direction in life but want to take the next step forward, this article is for you. Think of it as a little encouragement from one seeker to another. And a promise that I don’t have the answers, and it’s okay that you don’t either. There’s power in the questioning.
It’s so much easier to move forward when you know where you’re trying to go. With a solid plan in place, excitement and ambition are at your fingertips, and the path in front of you seems clear. But, more often than not, the unexpected barges in and the barriers form before your journey really even begins. That’s when everything changes.
When you’re facing a dead end it’s hard to not lose steam and just throw your hands up in defeat and ask, “Now what?” This questioning, I’ve come to believe, is where true purpose and potential is born. If life currently feels full of more questions than answers, here are three things that almost always turn my questions into powerful lessons and bold moves forward and upward. I hope they’ll help you conquer your barriers and find your purpose.
There isn’t a better time to explore new, unknown paths than when you’re suddenly stopped in your tracks by a giant roadblock. Sometimes a different perspective and viewpoint is all it takes to know where your next step should be. You might decide that there’s a way around the barrier. Or maybe you’ll discover new routes and new destinations you’d never considered before. It doesn’t hurt to try on new possibilities, especially when stuck. Exploring with an open mind is helpful either way.
I’ve found the most effective exploring often involves searching for the right questions, just as much as the right direction. Here’s a collection of questions you could start with. And a few more here. With better questions comes better clarity.
For me, prayer is always a part of seeking answers. And listening is always a part of receiving them. The hardest part of listening is my tendency to rely on my eyes instead of my heart to catch the vision of my path ahead. Logic, reality, even my own desires and expectations can be a distraction from the answers I’m so desperately looking for. I can get so focused on what I think my destination should look like that I fail to recognize a new path opening up right at my feet.
My favorite way to listen is with a pen and a paper. List your questions at the top, then start writing. What should you write? Anything that comes to mind. Write down your thoughts, worries, and ideas. Write about why this matters right now and why it will matter a year from now. Write about the possibilities you’ve been exploring, who this questioning affects, and what made you question in the first place.
Answers don’t always come quick or easy. But they always come if I’m willing to listen for them. And the readiness to record gets me closer to clarity every time.
This is the hardest of the three for me and probably most important. It takes energy and commitment to move forward and it’s hard to give when I’m not sure it’s the right next step. The truth is simply that I’ll never get anywhere if I’m not willing to move my feet. Momentum grows with movement. Surprisingly enough, so does our purpose and capacity.
Even after all my exploring and listening, I’m not always sure what my destination looks like or even if I’m facing the right direction. It’s impossible to know exactly how this next step will get me closer to the brave, beautiful life I’m meant to live, but I hold onto the knowledge that we’re not only loved, but led. And it’s easier for a loving God to nudge me one way or another if I’m already moving.
Where true purpose is born
What do you want… really, truly want for this brave, beautiful life you’ve been given?
The answer to that - and questions like it - is a personal journey and the seeking never stops. And while the answer feels desperately important when you’re up against a dead end, the real power in that moment is the questioning itself. The courage to lift your eyes from your own map and take in your surroundings. To appreciate where you’ve been, where you are now, and the person you became along the way. The desire to live the very best life you have in you and the willingness to alter your course in order to get there.
I think our paths will always feel a little cluttered with roadblocks. But the more questioning I do, the more clarity I gain. And the more steps forward I take, the more I grow. And as I’m changing (for the better, I hope!) so are my questions. Now when I slow my steps to face yet another dead end, I realize the most important question to ask is the one that only I can answer.
Will I let myself be led?
Because the answer to that determines it all.