Blog Post

The Power of Living Out Your Purpose

In my book Wholehearted Purpose,  I explore the ways we are uniquely designed in our purpose from God.

After years of working with women seeking to discover and live out their purpose, I have found that every single one of them truly wants her life to make a difference, to be on-purpose.

Serving and giving are natural outgrowths of being on-purpose. In fact, when we create personal purpose statements, they begin with the phrase I exist to serve by.

But as we give, many of us end up feeling overwhelmed, overworked, overspent, overused, and underappreciated. These are classic symptoms of giving in ways God never intended for us—and therefore off-purpose.

So how can we be more cheerful in our giving more of the time? I have found that when we are giving out of our God-created uniquely designed purpose, we are more joyful.

Julie’s story is just one example of the power of living your purpose. I also had the privilege and blessing to coach her husband through the On-Purpose Person Process. Boy, when you get a couple—both individually and together—on-purpose and excited about giving—watch out world! I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do.

Like most couples, my husband and I are very different. When it comes to engaging with others, I love being part of high impact projects and events, and he loves going deep with details and people. We married later in life so we came to marriage with a good sense of who we were and we both had giving practices and beliefs that were well established.  

It all started to change two years ago when my husband lost his job. He had just made a risky move to leave a stable corporate job to work with a smaller start-up firm. Having watched him struggle in his career to find satisfaction, I was sure this was the opportunity he needed. But God had other plans.  

I remember the day he came home, just four months after starting the new job, to say he had been let go. Fear and uncertainty gripped my heart and I struggled to see how this could be good. I happened to be working with Mary on a project when Gary lost his job and she offered to take him through the process in an accelerated way.  

For both of us, knowing our unique purposes has helped us navigate this very challenging two-year season. It has also helped us understand how we can both enjoy living and giving on-purpose even with our differences. My two-word purpose is Cultivating Change while Gary’s is Assuring Significance.  

We both love to be involved and give our LIFE (labor, influence, finances, and expertise) to things e feel passionate about. I especially like to be involved in projects and giving my time.  

During the same season Gary lost his job, I was feeling disconnected from our church community. Truthfully, I had never felt great about it, but I thought I should just be content where God had us. In the four years we had been members, I had been invited to help with many of what I would call “steady state” initiatives. I longed to engage, but our large church seemed to only need people willing to fill a spot—not cultivate change as I would enjoy. 

When an opportunity came up to start a new community engagement effort, we quickly realized this would both satisfy my need to cultivate change by starting something new and Gary’s desire to assure significance since the purpose of the project was to more meaningfully connect people in our congregation and help them go deeper. 

We have also found knowing our purpose statements helps refine our financial giving. Coming into marriage, we both had many things we supported with our giving. Because of the unemployment, we were forced to cut back our giving, and this has allowed us to refocus our giving to things we both get excited about. Giving is now something we do more intentionally together. Our purposes are not the only thing we consider when presented with an opportunity to give, but we definitely use them as a tool to discern what might be best.  

As a wife, I long to both live and give on-purpose with my family and to those God has put in my path. Knowing my unique purpose and understanding my husband’s unique purpose through this difficult season has brought a level of joy and satisfaction to our living and giving I didn’t know was possible. 

Mary Tomlinson

About Author

Mary Tomlinson

Mary Tomlinson is a high-energy motivator who is passionate about encouraging individuals and implementing change. With over 30 years of corporate and consulting experience, including 18 years at Disney, she has a real-world perspective on what is achievable in business and life. As president of On-Purpose Partners, Mary works with businesses, non- profits and government organizations and with individuals from many walks of life, helping each achieve greater purpose and focus. She lives in Wake Forest, N.C., with her husband and is a happy Grandma to two granddaughters. Her purpose statement is “inspiring hope.”

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