By Lionel Williams
CCSC Program Manager, Student Development & Outreach
Recently, I’ve had the awe-inspiring experience (compliments of Pastor Tim Griffin) of listening to an amazing woman of God by the name of Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe. She powerfully described her benevolent commitment to protecting and restoring the lives of over 400 Ugandan women who escaped the clutches of human sex trafficking.
As each powerful story was presented, I found every listener in the room (including myself) riveted to her every word. My eyes became moist as she declared, “I am helping to restore the image of God in them.” Intermittently glancing at the engrossed GCU faculty, staff and students, I remember thinking, “Here’s a person who is living out her purpose!”
Now that’s something to ponder for moment. What is my purpose?
Jesus Christ asserted His purpose in John 10:10 when he declared that He had come to give humanity an abundant life. Steve Jobs identified his audacious goal in life when he said that he wanted to “make a ding in the universe.” Through his successes with Apple, Inc., many people can argue that he did just that.
What about you and me? There’s a reason behind every breath we breathe. Wouldn’t it be great to discover that wave and ride it to your destiny? Once it is discovered, it becomes a compass for your daily behaviors, goals and decisions. Thankfully, there are institutions like Grand Canyon University that have a core business to help students (even employees) identify this gift called “purpose.”
How do you know you’re on the right track? Without a doubt, prayer is great starting point. Wouldn’t your Creator know why you were called into being? I’m not sure if you know this – but you’re no accident. Jerimiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.’” It’s this very vision that helps drive Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe’s ministry, even to the point of willfully facing the danger of Northern Ugandan rebels to see lives changed.
In addition to prayer and seeking God, I would like to leave a few practical ways to help you discover your purpose:
Identify Your Talents and Strengths
What are some things that you’re really good at doing? You may discover some strong correlations with your primary purpose meshed within your natural skills and abilities. As a believer, I like to call these things gifts, which are to be used in connection with your calling.
Call on Your Life Experiences
I’ll never forget the time I was in the final months of being an undergrad student. I had just completed student teaching and was experiencing senioritis big time. I was paired with a student for the final project.
As we got to know each other, he divulged that he was a practicing attorney who wanted to enter the teaching field. Trying to hide the shock I was feeling, I listed back to him that he had completed law school, passed the Bar Exam and practiced law – but now he sought to enter the classroom? He confirmed everything as true.
He went on to share that he had an indescribable joy when he worked with children. Life came to a sharp head, where he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was destined to work with students.
I share that story to say that life itself is a good coach. Sometimes we shouldn’t rush things and just allow ourselves to draw conclusions from our experiences.
Be Open to Adjusting Your Vision
As with the attorney I just talked about, be open to re-evaluating what motivates you. When I taught career exploration to ninth graders, it was always so interesting to hear what they wanted to become at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year. Several students thought they knew what they wanted, but as I presented them with valuable tools and information throughout the year, many of them displayed a shift in their career goals. Be careful to not get locked into one area, unless you know in the core of your being that you are going in the right direction. You don’t want to force a square peg into a round hole. Enjoy life’s journey!
Finding your purpose should be an exciting adventure. If you ever find that you’re experiencing frustration and disillusionment, it is a perfect time pause and pray. It never hurts to get our hearts back into the posture of knowing that God has everything under control.
If you’re a GCU student, I advise speaking with your student services counselor or visiting Career Services to research other fields that may match your heart and personal interests. Take advantage of all the space and opportunity that Grand Canyon University has to offer. If you are interested in becoming a GCU student, contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.
More About Lionel:
Lionel Williams joined SEA and the Student Development & Outreach Department as the CCSC program manager in September 2016. Prior to this role, he taught eight years in the Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) at both the middle school and high school level. He also has six years of regional marketing experience in the property and casualty insurance industry. Lionel’s wife, Felicia, is an elementary school principal at MUSD’s Saddleback Elementary School, where she has served for the last seven years. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at GCU. Lionel is very proud to say that he comes from a family of educators. His father is a retired school psychologist and his mother is a retired school principal for the Cincinnati Public School System. Lionel is an active church member at Maricopa Assembly of God in Maricopa, AZ. He currently serves as the church’s worship leader, and he also youth pastored there for several years.