Why am I here?

“Let’s name her Karen, but spell it, C-a-r-y-n! That sounds like a good idea!”

Thanks, Mom.

It must be the curse of the “C” and the “Y” in my name that gives me this uncontrollable urge to “see why” about everything.

Silly things like:

Why do people still say, “Bless you,” when you sneeze?

Why are there silent letters in the English language?

Why do drivers back IN to tight parking spots when it’s easier to back OUT of them?

To deeper things like:

Why do we humans do, say, and feel the things we do?

Why am I here?

Really, I think we all long to “see why,” no matter how our name is spelled. Why AM I here? What is my purpose? Why did God create me and put certain talents within me? What does He want me to do for Him on this earth? What does He want me to do for Him TODAY? Why am I here? 

It was this very “Why am I here?” question that drove me to bow to my Creator and recognize Him as Lord when I was sixteen. Before that, as I planned out my best-case-scenario yet Godless future according to what would make ME happy, I was pounded by the empty, “That’s all?” question and its “There must be more” answer left on continuous replay in my heart.

So I gave my heart and life to Jesus, graduated high school and went on one life-changing missions trip to Paraguay, then graduated college and went on an even greater life-changing missions trip to Chile, then spent the next two decades in several different staff pastor roles in churches, sure I was completing God’s purpose for me in life.

And now I find myself for the first time since age sixteen intensely asking the question, “Why am I here?” Some days the question excites me. Some days, it suffocates me. Some days I hear the condemning voice accuse me, “A mature Christian should know her specific purpose! If you prayed and fasted more, God would make it clear to you.”

Other days I simply wonder with less condemnation, “Was I being a busy Martha all those years in full-time church ministry, and finding my satisfaction and identity in my work more than in Christ?” It’s a possibility.

So why am I sharing these inner questions, anyway?

Because I don’t think I’m alone.

I have mature Christian friends who are afraid to admit they feel a bit lost at times. They’ve asked God about His “why” for them in this stage of their life, and have yet to hear a specific answer. The silence they hear brings doubt, and doubt brings guilt, and guilt seems to bring more silence.

I have other Christian friends who are so busy pleasing people that it’s been years since they’ve taken the time to really ask God what His specific purpose for them is.

I imagine I have other Christian friends who are afraid to ask God what His purpose is for them, because they fear He’ll ask them to go suffer in some third-world country, or they fear He’ll tell them they’re not good enough to serve Him.


I LOVE these two verses about God’s purpose for us, His beloved:

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (NIV)


We are chosen.

God is for us and not against us. His eyes are on us. We are dearly loved and never forgotten.

We are royal.

During my whole childhood, my dad was the manager of a bowling alley. With that came the privileges of bowling and drinking chocolate shakes almost whenever I wanted to. I often wondered if the kids of the U.S. president had comparable privileges. 🙂 As children of the Creator, we have access to spiritual privileges we haven’t even touched yet.

We are holy.

The Greek word for holy in this case is hagios, which means “set apart by (or for) God.” Simply remembering who (and Whose) we are puts us in a better place to hear and believe what our purpose is.


Declare the praises of Him!

Over the years, when I have found myself demanding of God answers to specific questions like:

What job should I take?

Should I volunteer in that ministry?

Where should we live? or,

Should we adopt?

I find comfort in these four words of great purpose: That. You. May. Declare.

To Him.

When I intentionally give my life to the purpose of wholeheartedly declaring God’s praises, I will never be bored or unfulfilled. As I declare His praises to Him, my chosen, royal, and holy heart is drawn closer to His, and He fills me.

To others.

As I declare His praises (in words, deeds, and attitude) to others, I find that this can be done anywhere, at any time, and once again, He fills me. The stress is lifted to figure out specifically where I’m supposed to declare, and His joy strengthens me. The pressure is off to become a famous preacher, and taking the time to graciously listen to others declares the praises of a patient and kind God in a way that doesn’t require a theology degree.

What if?

What if we dare to slow down for a moment ask Him why we’re here?

What if we dare to continue to ask Him why we’re here?

And what if we meditate on the answers has He given us already in His Word?

Loving Creator,

Thank You are choosing us, and setting us apart for You. It is hard to find the words to describe just how great You are. We want to find our joy in declaring Your praises. Help us to declare your greatness to everyone around us, starting with our own family members. And Precious Lord, help us to trust Your heart and hear and obey Your specific purpose for us. When we don’t hear any specific instructions in prayer, help us to obey the general instructions you’ve already given us in Your Word. Amen.

Psalm 40:1-10

1I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.

2He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

3He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.

4Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols.

5O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.

6You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand— you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

7Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures:

8I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”

9I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know.

10I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. (NLT)

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