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About the Writer:
Sherrill Schlimpert

An ordinary suburban girl with an extraordinary passion for seeking the Lord’s will in her life, Sherrill is more than a poet. She is a retired elementary school teacher, mother of two grown children, and wife for over 31 years. One dreary morning's drive awakened her passion for writing prayer-poetry as God greeted her with a spectacular sunrise. Her flow of words and faith has filled two self-published books so far.


Ponderings on Purpose

By Sherrill Schlimpert

The word purpose keeps coming up in my life lately. I know it’s been a buzz word in Christian circles ever since Rick Warren came out with The Purpose Drive Life.

My new life purpose became evident when I started the training to become a life plan facilitator and purpose coach. I feel God has been preparing me my whole life to do this. It was something that called my name so loudly, I was compelled to respond. But I would have saved myself much fretting all along the way of my life if I would have understood that each job, task, season, and tear was my purpose at that time. It’s so much easier from this viewpoint to see that “He works all things for good to those who love the Lord.” Rom. 8:28 But we are also called to trust; and trust means having faith when you can’t see the whole way.

Recently I’ve watched how discovering a purpose can free people to discover the joy of being in God’s will. I’ve watched a 59 year old friend who just got diagnosed with Parkinson’s discover that the 5- 7 years that she can hope for the medicine to work is calling her to write a book about her very interesting life. This horrible malady is bringing to reality a thought that had passed her mind for years. It is giving purpose to each precious day for her. The despair and depression that accompanied the difficult symptoms and the diagnosis is being replaced with a God-given purpose. It is the purpose that keeps her going for the time that remains in this life and rejoicing in the life He has allowed her to lead.

I’ve seen a 19-year-old who flunked out of college twice, though she’d been an excellent student in high school; find the voice to tell her parents that social work is her calling. Her parents’ initial response had been discouraging. After discovering her purpose, she courageously told her parents who had cut her off financially until she could exhibit a passing semester, that she was not going to take the job that was available at a local restaurant. Although they were incredulous and infuriated, she quietly announced that she had to go on a mission trip first. She paid her own money out of the little savings that she had. She came home from the mission trip to Chicago validated that the qualities she was able to exercise were no longer providing just a vague interest in helping inner city children, but that she was truly called and equipped to work with them. Upon coming home, she found more than a summer job – she is tutoring children with AmeriCorps – and going back to school with that money. And I’ll be greatly surprised if this time she doesn’t succeed, having her purpose clearly in mind. By the way, her parents now understand and support her now clearly-stated passion.

I also have to mention a 30 year old woman who went into deep depression after

being fired, even though it was from a job she hated. But after taking time to discover her dreams and her real God-given qualities, she didn’t take the first job that came along. She waited until one seemed to fit. Now she considers losing her job a blessing because she feels called to the work she does 30 hours a week at a women’s crisis center, which is enabling her to fulfill her long-forgotten dream of returning to school as an art major. Tell me God, didn’t have this 30- hour- a- week job designed just for her.

What these three women all found was more than just motivation. They found their God-given purpose. These particular women all made their discovery during the days and months following a two-day intensive life plan facilitation. But I want to assure you, while I consider life-planning a God-given tool; many people arrive at their purpose without a formal facilitation. The facilitation helped me, and helping others through coaching and facilitation teaches me more about God’s plan for us to live purposefully. The key to discovery is closely walking with God to discern and discover your purpose in any of life’s seasons.

Personally, I taught for 24 years (!) in the same elementary school. While I found great joy at working with children, I had a vague sense of unrest, knowing I did not want to do that forever! But if I could have seen that unrest as purpose calling, I might have waited more patiently as God led me down the remarkable path of preparation. I received the unprecedented opportunity to take a year’s sabbatical to teach workshops for teachers out of the regional university, which led to teaching adjunct graduate classes, which grew into working at the state department of education, and eventually as a reading consultant. All of those presentation opportunities and experiences led me to this new purpose of becoming a life purpose coach. But it was each purpose along the way that readied me for it.

It wasn’t all success along the way. Years of chronic sinus infections and fibromyalgia with its accompanying brain fog have also had their purpose of creating empathy and insight into pain and the fearfulness of not performing well when not feeling up-to-par. I am convinced God will use this in my life to help someone else.

I would venture to say that everyone is on their own journey to purpose.” However, I would also guess that not all stories stay so successfully on the path as those I’ve shared. The trick? Walking closely enough to God that you see your uniqueness. Notice in each story the necessity for courage and for discovering their own special God-given qualities. Ephesians 2 :10 tells us that “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Beth Moore tells us in one of her studies that workmanship comes from the word “poema”. We are his beautiful poems – one’s that apparently aren’t written in one sitting! Though we often have to go through a period of refining and purifying by fire (Zech. 13:9) and the furnace of affliction (Is. 48:10), we are promised that He will make us jewels. (Mal. 3:17-18).

It is each stepping stone along our path that can be used to discover your unique talents and purpose. Sometimes – as in the 24 years I spent in an elementary classroom - your purpose is to just keep growing and blooming where you are planted. But you need to keep one ear listening not just for the day’s marching orders, you must continue to recognize those dreams and inclinations that just may be God whispering a new purpose into you heart.

Don’t ever give up your ponderings on your purpose. He is surely revealing it one step at a time.



Copyright © July 30,2007 - Sherrill Schlimpert. All rights reserved.

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