What good is a gift if it is not going to be used for a purpose? What good is being able to express yourself easily, articulately and eloquently without no one listening to you? What good does cooking very well without anyone tasting your food? What good does being able to solve difficult mathematics equations if they cannot be applied anywhere? What good is it to be able to sing without someone being inspired by your music? The answer to all of this is that your gift is for a purpose.
Let us establish this first: Your purpose is bigger than you. You cannot navigate it, it navigates you and one of the ways it steers you is by providing you with a gift. From the diagram below, you can see that purpose is the overall dominator with a gift being a small central part that is inherent, which is needed for an overall purpose. This means that you are who you are for a purpose. Your character is shaped the way it is for a cause – the attributes you possess, your strengths and your weaknesses.
Another example: if you look at nature, you will see that all things fit together for a purpose. Nothing is out of place. Nothing was created just to live and die without playing a particular role or making a specific contribution. Looking at the picture below, you will see that every animal is a component of the ecosystem; each has a role to play that will ultimately satisfy the next animal in the system in some way.
It is thus easy to conclude that since you are part of the earth, you also have a purpose that fits together with a particular area or domain associated with your gift (that is specific and unique to you!).
Possibility is the prospect (the future) of a thing. I believe that God determines your steps (by giving you a gift), but it is you the individual that determines your stride (how far you take your gift and align it with your purpose).
The perfect example to use which will highlight purpose and possibility would be an apple seed. The purpose of an apple seed is to become an apple tree that produces apples. The possibility is: what can the apples become? How can they put “being an apple” to good use? The pictures below show a spectacle of possibilities of the apple. This illustration also highlights our diversity as people, showing that we might have the same gifts (apples) but our possibilities (apple caramel, apple cake, apple soup, etc.) will always be different.
26 years ago, Esther Mahlangu, a South African Ndebele artist, was the first woman to create artwork on a BMW 525i Sedan turning it into a unique and colourful BMW Art Car (Kit, 2017). My Proposition: Esther Mahlangu’s purpose was to showcase the work of a South African culture to the world, and to achieve this purpose her gift was in painting.
In 2016, Esther was once again commissioned by the BMW Group to refine a BMW 7 Series (Kit, 2017)
How to discover your purpose
At this moment in time in my life I can say that I purely know the ways of discovering one’s gift. Discovering purpose is a whole new bag of worms which I am trying to puzzle out, but for me (at least for now) the best way to identify your purpose is to look back at your life in retrospect. Everything you have been through has prepared you to:
Think a certain way
Feel things a certain way
Act and react a certain way
Approach problems a certain way
Handle and fix things a certain way
Have passion for things in a different way
Work a certain way
Manage your time a certain way
Imagine things a certain way
Look at the graph below which I will call a “key graph”. The x-axis shows the years of life. The y-axis shows the key shape. The highs and lows from the key shape parameter will affect the shape of the graph.
Every person has a key graph that is unique based on their experiences in life and the purpose they are set out to do. Do you see the pattern that the years create from the above graph on the key below? It created a key that has never been seen before which can open one specific door. I liken this door to a specific problem, mess, trouble, muddle, injustice, obstacle or challenge that we have in this generation. This is why you are on earth at this particular time.
In some way, shape or form your experiences will enable you to be the key that opens up something that is unique to the world. Basically; your gift is your life and if you want to know what gift you have to bring to the world – look at your life – the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, the deficits and the surplices and this will most likely tell you the doors that you have to open.
To prove this I can use a lot of examples (even myself) but I will use a famous key commentator in Christianity; the Apostle Paul. How did he become the key figure to Christianity? How was he so smart and so intellectual? How was he able to write most of the New Testament of the bible so eloquently and expressively? How did he earn the title “Father of the Gentiles”? From the bible these were his highs:
He wrote 14 epistles; Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews.
He was very intelligent and spoke several languages.
He was a Pharisee and his Jewish studies were under chief Jewish instructor Gamaliel
He was good thinker (theologian), a passable writer (wrote the epistles) and a capable leader (founded churches)
While having all these good traits that other people didn’t have, he also had a lot of suffering and his main lows were:
He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored
He had a lot of sleepless nights praying for the churches and very sorrowful as problems arose in the churches with errors creeping in
He had to fund his own ministry to the churches by building tents during the day
He was almost stoned to death due to his ministry
He was beaten three times with rods due to his ministry
He was bitten by a poisonous snake and survived
He was shipwrecked where he spends a night and a day in the open sea
The combination of the highs and lows made him the major key into unlocking true Christianity to us gentiles (non-Jewish people). His overall purpose was achieved by him using all the gifts he had at hand to fully proclaim his message.
If there is one thing that seems to be true among all people who decide to drop everything and be themselves it is this: once you start developing your gift, God HAS to oblige in making it a success (He will give you the power to achieve) because He is interested in your success more than you as it represents Him as your maker. Once I started really exploring and going after my gift, things opened up that would have never happened if I had stayed comfortably in my well-paying job. I will add more to this testimony in later articles.