How Writing My Life Purpose & Life Goals Changed Everything

Jana Carlson

Jana Carlson

Knowing the purpose for our existence and God's will for our lives helps us to make wise choices about how we spend our time and energy. How do we do that?

Writing my Life Purpose and Life Goals has been life-changing for me. I’m absolutely convinced that, by God’s grace, I have:

  • accomplished more,
  • experienced greater peace and rest,
  • developed healthier and more meaningful relationships, and
  • become a better woman

…because of having a written Life Purpose and Life Goals.

My Life Before

Many years ago, my days were filled with productivity and accomplishment and people-pleasing. I desired to live a life that mattered, to make a difference in the lives of those around me.

I poured everything I had into my 3 little ones and managing our household and loving my husband and my extended family and my friends and my neighbors and serving my church and trying to find time for some hobbies and exercise and spending time studying by Bible and on and on and on.

It was rewarding at times. It was also exhausting. And completely unsustainable. Eventually, I realized there was no possible way I could continue that way because there simply are not enough hours in a day.

Good Things vs. God Things

We were not created to “do it all”.

Each of us was created for a purpose. God has a plan for my life and yours. His plan for my life looks different from His plan for your life.

There are countless good things we could spend our time doing. It would be easy to fill 24 hours every single day of the year doing things that are all good. But God did not create us to work 24/7, 365 days of the year. He ordained rest, too.

And not all good things are God’s plan for every one of us. What’s a God-planned activity for me to engage in this week might not be His plan for you this week. For you, it might be a good thing to do, but not necessarily a “God thing“. He might want you to spend your time and energy on a completely differentgood thing“.

So how do we figure out which good things we should be spending our time and energy on? Which “good things” are actually “God things” for us?

Knowing the purpose for our existence and God’s will for our lives helps us to discern the difference between a “good” thing to do and a “God” thing to do.

Purpose Keeps Me Focused

About 15 years ago, I took several weeks (maybe even months) to earnestly seek the Lord regarding His purpose for my existence and His goals for my life. I dug into His Word and I prayed. A lot.

After a few “false starts”, I managed to write down what I believe is God’s purpose for my life, as well as my life goals. Aside from a few minor adjustments here and there over the years, they’ve remained the same since the beginning.

I read over these and pray through them regularly. They:

  • keep me focused,
  • remind me why I’m here, and
  • help me to determine if a certain commitment or activity fits with where God wants me right now.

Differences Are God’s Design

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably really curious about what my Life Purpose and Life Goals are. I will share them with you.

But first… these are mine. They are not yours. If you feel led to spend some time seeking God for your own purpose and goals, please don’t get hung up on what mine look like. This is a comparison-free zone. It’s strictly between you and God. Yours might look completely different – longer, simpler, shorter, more poetic, more fun, more artistic, more or less specific, etc. That’s totally okay. This is not a game to win. It’s not a “better” or “worse” scenario. This exercise is not an attempt at achieving perfection – it’s to help you gain direction.

It’s not about perfection; it’s about direction.

Writing Your Life Purpose

A Life Purpose statement answers the question: Why do I exist? Why am I here? For what purpose was I created?

It’s not specific to your job or your family situation or your interests or your hobbies. It is more generalized, broad, and could be applicable to many people.

Spend time in prayer and studying God’s Word to determine what your Life Purpose statement should look like.

My Life Purpose:

Writing Your Life Goals

Life Goals are more specific. They are things that only you can do, specific to who you are, the plan God has for your life.

God’s Word is full of wisdom and clear instruction that can take a lot of the guesswork out of writing your life goals. Spend some time studying what God says about who you are. As a follower of Jesus, walking in obedience to His Word, what should your life look like? Where should your focus be? What are His priorities for your life? What are the primary roles you play?

Don’t rush this process. I literally spent weeks (quite possibly months) seeking the Lord for guidance in writing mine down. And I continue to seek Him. Occasionally, I have made slight alterations along the way.

Again, it’s not about perfection; it’s about direction.

My Life Goals

  • To know Jesus intimately – with a depth of relationship that is real and constant and that naturally overflows into every other relationship and aspect of my life. (John 15:5, John 10:3-5, John 10:14)
  • To be Lee’s helpmeet – serving him, loving him, supporting him unconditionally “till death do us part”. (Ephesians 5:22-23, Proverbs 31:10-12, 23, Genesis 2:18)
  • To lead our children to Christ and to disciple them – to train them up and equip them in the way they should go. (Deuteronomy 11:19, Proverbs 22:16)
  • To disciple women – teaching them to love the Lord and His Word, to “walk in the calling to which they’ve been called”. (Titus 2: 3-5, Ephesians 4:1)

My Life Changed

After I’d written down my Life Purpose and Life Goals, I found myself able to say “no” to opportunities and activities without guilt. I had more certainty about how to spend my time because some things I’d been busy with were for the wrong motives. (Doing things just because other people wanted me to or expected me to were not good enough reasons anymore.)

I started to find the more mundane aspects of motherhood more fulfilling, because I knew I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do in that moment.

Contentment was easier to choose because I knew I was where God wanted me. His Word tells us that His plans for us are for our good (Romans 8:28). By choosing to live my life in accordance with His plan and purpose, I can rest in contentment, knowing that He’ll ultimately work it out for my good (whatever that might look like).

Rest became something I enjoyed and made time for, rather than feeling guilty about “having” to take a break. Our schedule as a family included margins, allowing for spontaneity and more meaningful, unplanned moments.

Write Out Your Own Life Purpose & Life Goals

This isn’t a magic formula. It’s not a requirement for living a Godly life. It’s simply an exercise and a tool that I have found useful and helpful in my own life.

If you find yourself over-committed, exhausted, struggling with time management, feeling unfulfilled or uncertain about your role in this season of life, I encourage you to try writing a Life Purpose statement and Life Goals. Pray throughout the process, open your Bible and really seek the Lord. He does not withhold His will from us. He doesn’t want us to be “in the dark”. He promises that if we ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to us (James 1:5).

Once your Life Purpose & Life Goals are written down, read them regularly. Write them in your planner, stick them inside your Bible, or display them on your wall – whatever works best for you. Pray through them. Go over them when you need to make a decision about a new commitment. Use them as a tool to examine your heart and stay focused on what matters most.

Have you written a Life Purpose statement or Life Goals? I’d love to hear about how they’ve affected your life! Feel free to share your experience in the comments.

10 Responses

  1. I love this. Focusing on what God wants for us, as opposed to what the world says we should want for ourselves. Looking at opportunities through that lens definitely would help give direction as to which ones to say “yes” to and which to let go of.

    1. Thanks, Liz. My grandpa gave me a wall hanging decades ago that says, “A day hemmed in prayer seldom unravels.” That would be true of “life” as well. 🙂

  2. Visiting from Grace and Truth link up. Such wise advice. I need to work on these a bit more, this post has motivated me to do just that. The hard part for me is not getting pulled from my focus and start people-pleasing. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement I find here as I read about how you worked through this process. Blessings to you as you live out His purpose for your life!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Cheryl. I totally hear you on the challenge to keep your focus! I’m thankful my post could be an encouragement to you today. God bless you as you faithfully live out His purpose in your own life!

  3. Jana, hi! There’s something very clarifying, freeing, and empowering about writing out all that swirls with in.

    I’m so glad you went there. I wonder if we’re so busy writing online that we forget these basic keys to living life more on purpose.

    Super motivation! So good to meet you on this quiet Friday night …

    1. Linda, I definitely find that the more time I spend online, the more distracted I become. Reminding myself of my purpose and goals helps me to be more disciplined in that regard. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

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