More Important Than What You Do

Who You Are Quote small

Ohhhh, yes. Here we go.

Welcome to Chapter 8 of Limitless Life! We’re in the home stretch of Pastor Derwin Gray’s book, and really getting to the heart of it.

We’re talking about how to answer some of life’s all-time big questions: “Who am I? And for Heaven’s sake, why on earth am I here?”

If you’re like most people, you’ve pondered that for a very long time. And chances are fairly high you’re not exactly satisfied with life right now. Take a look at these findings from a recent Barna Group survey:

Barna Group survey More Meaningful Life

Barna Group’s new research shows that three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) say they are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life. Whether such meaning is found in family, career, church, side projects or elsewhere, these are all questions of vocation — that is, the way in which people feel “called” to certain types of work and life choices. And in 2014, these questions remain as strong as ever for millions of Americans.

Among Christians, there is an additional question: “What does God want me to do with my life?” According to Barna Group’s study, only 40% of practicing Christians say they have a clear sense of God’s calling on their lives.

Did you catch that?  Just 40% of practicing Christians have a clear sense of God’s calling. That’s not a lot.

The report goes on to discuss how women, particularly, are experiencing stress and aren’t feeling fulfilled:

Nearly six out of 10 all women (59%) say they are dissatisfied with their work and home balance. Women also describe themselves as stressed out (72%), tired (58%) and overcommitted (48%).

Hmmm. What do we make of that?

Cue Chapter 8 of Limitless Life, “From Purposeless to Purposeful.” As in … what if there’s more to life than our work?

As Pastor Derwin points out, who we are (and ultimately, whose we are) really IS more important than what we do!

Pastor Derwin has some great explanations contained within this little chapter. Mmmm, mmm, mmmmm. So, so impactful!

Getting back to those original big questions of life. Just what are the keys for discovering your life’s purpose?  Let’s sneak a peek at what Pastor Derwin has to say about this:

TruePurpose

Key 1 tells us people may honor us because of our accomplishments, but God the Father honors us because of Jesus’ accomplishments.

Key 2 reminds us our authority is inherited from the Father, so we can go about life in a humble posture.

Key 3 says it’s always been the kindness of God that brings people to a place of repentance and transformation (see Romans 2:4).

Finally, Key 4 ties into this week’s memory verse, Zephaniah 3:17b, where we see that the Lord passionately loves His people SO MUCH that He is singing over us. This verse was originally written as an encouragement to the remnant faithful in Israel under King Josiah (one of the few good kings in ancient Israel), as we discussed in Sunday’s video post.

As Pastor Derwin points out, “right now the God of the universe … sings and dances over you.”

Unreal. I can’t help but think of all the crazy mistakes, unkind thoughts, utter selfishness and poor choices I’ve made in life, and find that utterly AMAZING! I hope you will, too!

What to do:
Finish reading Chapter 8 of Limitless Life.

As Pastor Derwin writes, sometime in the next week, go on a prayer walk and simply ask God to give you the faith and courage to live in your purpose.

We want to hear from you:
As if the rest of Chapter 8 were not already incredible enough, Pastor Derwin breaks down the story of the Prodigal Son for us. What far country have you found yourself in?  In what things have you sought your purpose? What were the other highlights for you from this chapter?

Who’s up for going on a prayer walk? Where might you go? Write a prayer asking for God to help you gain clarity and purpose and share it with us in the comments below.


As we are in the final week of this book with Nicki Koziarz teaching some high-powered lessons next week (including details on how to craft a Life Vision) … let’s commit to running our race with endurance!  Have a fantastic weekend!

~Steph

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  1. I love that I am uniquely made for the purpose of bringing joy to God. I pray that He will motivate my heart to be proactive in my daily walk–to keep me aware of this important aspect. Lord take me to a deeper level of service and mold me to be the one who desires YOU!

  2. God loved me so much that even if I was to be the only individual on earth, He would have still sent His son to die.
    I have asked God this morning to give me the faith and courage to live in my purpose.

  3. vanessa stephens says:

    I have been forever transformed by God through this amazing study of truth. All my life I have tried to be good, I tried to do everything my daddy taught me so he would love me, I tried to do everything in the world to make my husband happy so he will love me, I have tried to do everything right so God will love me. This lesson has taught me that all these people in my life will love me anyway but most of all God will love me anyway regardless if I’m good enough. Praise God today that my purpose is to allow Him to love me and then let Him live that love out through me for His purpose. I have prayer walks every day and yesterday my prayer walk was different. God showed me amazing Grace!!! Jesus is Grace and that Grace is in my heart because of Jesus not because of my goodness!!!
    Love
    Vanessa

  4. I have tried flinging my purpose in men ,stuff like clothes jewelry ,activities ,volunteering ,my spouse ,my kids ,my friends n god always makes it know the more I try to find my worth n value in them the more. I’ll be disappointed he loves me n he is a jealous god n doesn’t want us looking to no on but him For our purpose our value our worth

  5. (Walking down a tree lined stoned covered path with a stream of water beyond the trees) – Dear Father open my heart and mind and soul today as I seek – no yearn to follow Your will! Guide and direct my footsteps in those of your son Jesus. Give me courage to speak the words that need to be spoken, and wisdom to know when to not say a word. Let your spirit speak words of Life into my existence – so that I may live a life that is limitless for you. Help me to realize what a joy it is to follow you, and what freedom lies ahead. Thank you
    Father for loving me with an everlasting love, not for what I have done, but for whose I am. Love you Papa!!
    Blessings,
    Teresa

    • What a beautiful prayer Teresa, it’s just perfect for my situation. If you don’t I’m going to copy and paste it in to my daily prayer reading. God bless.

    • Your prayer is absolute beautiful! So appreciate it.

  6. Not sure where I will do my prayer walk, likely by. The river near my home. I think this will be wonderful, or maybe drive yo the trail around a golf course.
    The prodigal son story hit home for me last year, I realized that my retun to Godin my life was that story, I had. Strayed for many years and God called me back, I answered his call and now I want to sing praises to him all the day long. Thank you God

  7. valerie says:

    I went for a mini prayer walk yesterday, but this weekend we, group 40, will go on one together in spirit and lift up our group requests. 🙂

  8. I am going to the lake with a group of ladies today. I am going to go on a prayer walk there. I always feel so close to Him when I am at the water. Father God, I know I am growing through this study and reading how you work in the lives of others. Thank you for all you’ve blessed me with and guide me to use the gifts you have provided me on my path and to your glory. Amen. I have a son who is in jail, the Judge had told us that after 150 days she would release him to go to a rehab to serve his final 30 days. That was supposed to be next Monday. We had everything in place and when the paperwork was given to the Judge she had his former P.O. Call the jail and get an update on his conduct at the jail. He was given some misinformation so when he reported this to her, she denied his release to rehab. Needless to say, this has been a valley for our family. However, God is still at work in my son, and his faith is growing. While he is so disappointed he is holding onto faith, Praise God. I spoke with him yesterday about the story of the Prodigal son, and the unconditional love of his dad and I, and the Father we serve. Today one of my devotions was about the Prodigal son. I believe God is speaking to the heart of my family. Praise to God to use my son, Arron to his glory and he will protect him as he goes through the days ahead.

    • That is a tough spot to be in, Becky, as the loved one of an addict. Praying for God to do a mighty work and for your son to find sobriety from his addiction, but also for the Holy Spirit to be present and for Arron to be of sober mind and sound judgement.

      1 Peter 5:8 comes to mind …
      “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

      Grateful you have a group of friends to walk with you and pray. It’s so key for you to stay close to the Father as you are loving on your earthly son. Know that God is with you in this! 🙂
      ~Steph

  9. I have yet to decide where to do my walk. I just need to get into my car and drive to it….my prayer…Papa I need to know your purpose for my life in you…..I need to truly know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it is you want and need me to do and give me the courage to do it!!!! Shiw me the way that I must go for you know the plans you have for me!!! Make your plan for me….my plan for me.

  10. Confession: I am still stuck back in chapter 7. It’s taken me all week just to unpack this chapter. I had to spend a few days on The Empty Self alone. God used that segment to hold a mirror up for me and well, I didn’t like what it showed me! This led to a couple of days of repentance and prayer. And then came the breakdown of the Lord’s Prayer. Whoa! Talk about seeing it from a whole new perspective!!
    I will do my prayer walk at the local park. There is a walking trail that winds along the creek and through the woods.
    Beckey
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenbsbusywork

    • Good for you Beckey for recognizing when God wants you to pause and reflect more apron his word for your life in that area rather. That part got to me too. 😉

    • Beckey, thanks for your honesty! No shame in being right where you are — after all, you’re much farther ahead than if you’d never started, right?? 🙂 Keep on keepin’ on!!
      ~Steph

  11. Beckey I’m still in Chapter 7 too! You are so right there is so much there….. Enjoy your walk and all of God’s glorious nature. Have a fabulous weekend! God bless! Susan, OBS 65

  12. Those statistics really hit home for me. I was just crying out to God yesterday telling Him I was sorry for seeing Him as a small God. I am small. I am all of those things overworked, tired, trying to heal, no sense of direction. It leaves me feeling as if I am walking aimlessly. When the rain stops today I will drive to our church which has a path and a pond and pray that God will show me His path for my life. There was so much in both chapters I will also sit and review them again. May I be courageous! What a great bible study! to think that so many of us from all over will be doing a prayer walk.

    • Yes, that’s a great picture to think about all of us walking all over. Sure wish we had a way to capture it in a visual map or something! How many states and countries we have represented … Hmmmm … maybe one day!! 🙂

  13. I am going to go on a prayer walk around our new home sometime in the next few days. I will be praying for a settling heart and mind and for the Lord to comfort any anxieties I have. I pray now that He would help us to settle in to our new life, and to help us find our purpose in Him as we look for work 🙂
    Chapter 7 and 8 have come at a perfect time – imagine that!!! 😉

  14. Melissa says:

    This has been and continues to be an amazing study. Thank you so much.

  15. I had never looked at the Prodigal Son story in the way Derwin breaks it down as I had always deciphered it more as a general morality tale on how not to live. It’s really meant for all of us though as we journey home to God no matter where we are on that walk. And the part about using his blessings for HIS purpose instead of wasting them for personal gain (or not using them at all as in my case) and that to do otherwise is like Jacob wasting away his inheritance really hit home. Ouch but in a good way.

  16. Tammy Haymon says:

    I graduated college over 20 years ago with a degree in accounting and management even though I felt a “call” to teach. I felt pressured into a business degree by my parents who were of course paying for my education. I worked in government accounting for 5 years before having my precious babies and staying home with them. I homeschooled them for nearly 4 years. Our financial situation has never been good, so I realized I had to go back to work. I put my boys in public school and began working as a substitute teacher while I worked on my elementary education degree finally hoping to achieve my dream. Now 8 years have passed since making that decision and believing God for the results. It has been 3 years since I got my degree in elementary ed. Not a lot of interviews and NO job. And I just got laid off from a job I’ve been working at “in the meantime” until I got a job teaching. This chapter from Mr. Gray’s book has been very meaningful to me. However, I am not really finding a lot of comfort in the fact that I am God’s child when I have no job and two boys about to enter college. Wondering how on earth I am going to pay for them? Someone please pray for me. I have lost all faith and hope after 3 years of nothing.

    • Omgosh, Tammy, I will certainly pray for you. Our financial situation has been shaky for awhile now, partly because I left my psychiatric nursing job over ten years ago, to come home to be with our sons – they were 8 and 14 at the time. I have faith in what God is asking me to do now (scroll down if you’re interested), but I do understand, as much as one could not being in your situation, re: wondering how you’re going to be financially, as we will be sending our younger son off to college in August, and I wonder the same thing. I will pray for provision for you and your family and that He will show you what to do.

      In His grace, Carol

    • Lord, we lift up Tammy. We pray you will provide her with a peace that completely surpasses any and all human understanding. We ask for your provision, Lord, for the financial puzzle pieces to all come together, with college tuition looming. Thank You for her heart to teach. Lord, we pray for a job that suits her talents and passions, and helps their family’s financial picture. Help her faith to grow and increase in measure. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

  17. Nancy Dye says:

    Ditto to what Melissa said. I have enjoyed many other Bible studies but this one is life changing. I always felt God had “big plans” for me but I didn’t know (and still don’t) know what they are. I thought it was to excel in my career but Derwin Gray shows us that THERE’S SO MUCH MORE and a different approach that Papa wants us to take. I feel so blessed that Proverbs 31 brought me to this study.

  18. What far country have you found yourself in? Actually, that’s the thing, I haven’t found myself in a far country. I’m more like the older brother Jude. I’ve lived a religious life always trying to do whats right so that I won’t make God mad. Luckily in my early 20’s I strayed away from being religious and started over with God to begin a new relationship with Him. It has been a struggle because I “want to be good” but I know that I just need to let Him love me and have a close relationship with Him. In what things have you sought your purpose? I have tried to find my purpose in being a mom, wife, friend, sister, volunteer, and in a job. Those are not who I am. I am Heather a beloved daughter of God and he loves me. Yes those are roles I play sometimes, but they don’t define who I am. I’m actually glad for that, even though I do take joy in those roles I’m glad they aren’t who I am.

    Heather

  19. I have found myself in a couple of far countries, which are just too personal to share here. I know God has forgiven me for both, and one I have pretty much reconciled. The other, though I confessed this sin to two Christian ladies, both of whom absolved me, I still carry around with me, too much. However, I am so aware of how God has drawn me ever more closer to Him over many years and I am learning to crave Him more than anything else (courtesy of the Made To Crave and Made To Crave Action Plan online Bible studies), and I find that if I focus more and more on Him, then everything else becomes easier. It’s like He’s clarifying my purpose and giving me courage and passion I didn’t have before.

    I have sought purpose in first my vocation — Psychiatric Nursing, then my husband and then my children, and then being active in my church. I used to tell people that Psychiatric Nursing was my passion and my identity. And then when God asked me to leave my last nursing job (my dream job) and come home to be with my family I also sought purpose in a direct selling company — home décor, and then the same company also began selling jewelry. With home décor, when the emphasis was on home and family and creating traditions and cooking, it jived with who I was. When the cookbooks went away and the jewelry entered the picture, I tried to embrace this, but I’m just not a big jewelry person.

    And then God showed me essential oils, and I knew He was giving me a different way to heal. But sharing the wisdom of essential oils with the world still isn’t my purpose — I know now that it’s the conduit through which people will see that I am a child of God, and the way they will see God’s light in me. Yes, God has given me gifts and talents in this area, but these gifts and talents are His. Every morning now, I ask God to open my heart to Him, and show me what he wants me to do today. I ask Him who I can bless today. I was at a networking event this morning, where new members of my local Chamber of Commerce were exhibiting their businesses. I purposefully went to every table where no on else was visiting first, and went with an open heart and mind to learn about what each particular business had to offer. After I was done with that, then I focused on businesses I wanted to visit to promote my own, or ask people to consider what I had to offer. It was a different approach for me, and I loved it. I ended up feeling like I had done the best job I ever had at such an event. It wasn’t about me; it was learning about them, and sharing nuggets with them only if they asked. It’s like God was with me the whole time, nudging me to speak with people in a way I hadn’t ever before. He gave me a courage and a clarity that was new for me.

    I am so glad and blessed that God loves me the way he does, and that my purpose is simply to love Him.

    Blessings, Carol

  20. I have experienced the closer I get to God the clearer the purpose for my life becomes clearer. Therefore according to the Barna Group I am no longer afraid of making the wrong career choice (I am 58 years old) but I don’t have “clear” goals for where God wants me to be in 5 years. However, I am trusting Him to show me the way.
    New Living Translation
    Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corthians 13:12

  21. I try to be like the son who stayed home but tried to earn his father’s love. I try to earn God’s favor or show my love for Him through what I do rather than on just having a heart of worship and sitting at His feet. I need to pray to move the idea of God’s unconditional love from my head to my heart. He does not want me to stress myself out, pressure myself to be perfect, He just wants me to rest in Him and do the work He has for me, not what I think I should be doing.

  22. Today’s message was just on time. Isn’t God amazing? I’ve been on a prayer walk for the last three days seeking clarity in the path I am supposed to take. Please pray with me, please pray over me.

  23. I think the most difficult and most freeing thing about all this is that none of it is in my control. Not one thing about my purpose or His love is anything I can accomplish in my own strength. (sigh of relief inserted here) I’m finally starting to know that with my heart. And the peace has been enormous. He doesn’t need me to “figure it out.” Its not an Easter egg hunt where God is snickering as he hides eggs containing my purpose, fulfillment and peace and waits for me to look and try to figure out where they are. I just need to constantly move my direction towards Him and allow Him to love and grace me to death. Oh, how freeing that feels to this perfection-seeking, people-pleasing child of God! I praise Him because I don’t need to be someone to everyone. I fit in because I’m HIS!

    • Kelly Wiggins OBS group 24 says:

      Amen! And I love the Easter Egg hunt analogy! Isn’t it so freeing to know that it’s not what we can do, it’s about what He has already do e for us on the cross! Amazing!

  24. Zeph. 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
    This verse, which I’ve been reading for a week without understanding just came alive today for me. He directed me to a “mind picture” of rocking my sweet, crying Madison Grace(my only grandchild) and singing Jesus loves me, quieting her with my love and His, rejoicing over her, delighting in her. Yes, He loves me, is with me and is mighty to save me. Now I get it, I am ready for my prayer walk.

  25. Lynn Fincher says:

    When I think of those words my purpose is to be loved by God. how beautiful is that? Holding on to it and walking with God and I look for my faith and courage in you Oh God!

  26. God, you know right where we are and you know all going on. I pray for clarity and purpose in all my husband and I do. I pray that You would specifically show him his purpose and why you created him. And I pray the same for myself. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

  27. Kelly Catlett OBS Group 18 says:

    This study has given me a lot to ponder and has opened up places in my heart I didn’t know existed. I wonder like many of the others about my purpose and when my turn will come. I’m glad for the patience and maturity while going through these trials, but it does get difficult at times. I pray we all finish strong together and feel God’s presence as we finish out Pastor Derwin’s book. It helps for me to keep using “Upward, inward, outward” as a mantra. May we all ahng in there and continue to be faithful.

  28. Latasha says:

    I pray to go from purposeless to purposeful. I ask God for him and him only that papa God. God is the reason the
    prodigal son exist. He shows great demonstration and practice of a meaningless purpose and meaningful purpose. His warm embrace is kisses. I pray that all will find their purpose and that’s with God. I worship and glorify my job, accomplishments of success, and job titles. And even good comments that people said gave me joy and purpose when it is God who started out with. My prayer is grace. Love to all obs !!!

  29. Jacinta says:

    I am 76 (to oold for you young girls), before I got married I thought my purpose was to teach (I am a teacher in Mexico) and serve God in small ways because I do not have many abilities, after I got married I did not have any purpose in life, I was very disappointed; after I had my children in whom the Lord gave a lot of joy, my purpose was to raise them (I did not raise them right), Now my husband has dementia is in a nursing home, I have a lot of difficulties, my purpose in life is get well of my anxiety and depression and cope with all the problems, and go see my husband, and be a convicted Christian and keep seeing my children and grandchildren as often as possible. I would like a reply Blessings to all of you

  30. Blessings to you Jacinta! You aren’t too old for me:) we all have spiritual gifts and abilities. Lucky for you, you discovered long ago your gift for teaching. My heart goes out to you with your husband with dementia. I’ve seen that first hand & it’s not easy. Just know God is beside you through it all. He loves you so much and I pray you feel His power and His peace. Sounds like your husband, children & grandchildren are very lucky to have you. Hugs to you Jacinta! Susan, OBS 65

  31. I am so thankful for this and my last OBS, I keep rereading the books Living So That and Limitless Life. They have been such an encouragement to me. And the community here is an encouragement as well. I miss it on the weekend. I was even thinking about purchasing the call series, even though I couldn’t participate in them directly due to time conflicts. Thank you to Prov 31 and to all the staff here.

    • Hi, Jan,
      Purchasing the Conference Call Series is worth it. You can listen to the recordings of the calls anytime that fits your schedule. That is what I do. There is a wonderful Conference Call Community led by Sarah Travis in addition to listening to the calls. Please join us. Janine

  32. Jennifer says:

    Who are you?
    In the past I would have answered this:
    I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a student. I am a microbiologist. I am a wife. I am a teacher.
    And in the past I was depressed, angry and confused.
    Today my answer is:
    I am a daughter of God.
    And now I feel peace and I feel loved.

  33. Melchorita Fahey says:

    I’m sorry Stephanie that I’m so late for my comment. I’m still in Chapter 7 reading over and over again. I know God loves me unconditionally and I thank Him for never giving up on me. And my purpose in life is to know and love Him with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength!

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