Today, let’s explore the difference between being purpose driven and purpose called.
Let’s start by defining our terms.
What does it mean to be driven?
Mules and horses are driven by the coachman or whip, as he’s called. For many of us it is too easy to get on a track at work and in life, lean into the yoke, and just keep pushing forward day after day trusting that in the end, it all works out for the best. Is this a healthy way to live?
One day we will reflect and look back over days, years, or decades of being a driven person. We’ve been pushed from behind, compelled to do something that may not be the right fit for us. Often we’re motivated by influences outside of ourselves. Such extrinsic motivation works for a while but it is hard to sustain.
To be called is to answer to a higher power.
It is ours to respond to the calling or ignore it. Most of us think of clergy as having a calling. In fact, every person has a calling, a purpose, a design and gifting that is uniquely fitted into a neat package called YOU!
We are not purpose driven. We are purpose called.
Instead of being driven, what if you were leaning into your calling? It may be the same load, but we’re choosing to accept the burden differently.
Here’s a secret about your calling.
You have to be still and listen. It is a calling, not a shout or a holler or a scream. It is subtle, gentle, a small still voice in the wilderness that is never demanding or pushy.
Implied in being called, is being called by name. In a manner of speaking, your 2-word purpose is your spiritual name. So when you hear or recognize it, you know you’re being called and you can answer it.
God calls us by name.
Purpose is one’s identity or name that God uses to call us. We then offer a response of yes or no. When we say yes to our purpose, we are being on-purpose or answering our call.
Here’s a great article on the difference between a job, career, and vocation from Fast Company magazine founder, Alan M. Webber. I remember reading this article in 1998 and nodding my head in agreement.
Watch today’s On-Purpose Minute. You may find it alarmingly disturbing to your “well-ordered life.” Perhaps you’ll find it amazingly comforting as you pursue a calling that seemingly defies logic and reason to everyone except you.
Have you heard about Type A Personalities? These men and women have traits in their personalities that thrive on stress, pressure, multitasking, and … (drum roll) premature death due to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other stress-induced diseases. Being a driven person and exhibiting Type A behaviors are related but it need not be a death sentence.
Are you ready to begin the cure from being purpose driven?
Here it is: it has nothing to do with your personality—Theory A, B, X, or Y. It has to do with your worldview. You’ve adopted or adapted to a driven personality style.
The cure is to recognize that you are called, not driven. Your purpose forms the words of your identity by which you are called and, once known, you are better capable of recognizing and appropriately responding to your call.
Please let me hear from you. Share your story in the comments section below and you’ll be putting voice to your thoughts and desires. More importantly, others will read your post and glean insights and better self-awareness. You can make a difference this way that can alter the course of another person for good.
Be On-Purpose (called, not driven)!
P.S. I’m often asked what I think about Pastor Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, which came out many years after the original release of The On-Purpose Person. First, no he didn’t “steal” my stuff. I get that question all the time. Second, we use purpose differently. He uses purpose to describe what are really the five missions of the church. He hasn’t asked me to re-title the book, but if asked, it would more properly be named “The Mission-Driven Life.”