How to Find Your Place in the World
The year before I turned twenty-five, I experienced a “quarter-life crisis.” I had almost reached the ripe old age of a quarter of a century, and what had I done with my life? Nothing of significance I could recall. This can’t be right, I thought. I’ve wasted my life up until this point. Feeling absolutely lost in my twenties with little direction and sense of meaning, I began a search for my place in the world. Where did I belong? Why could I not find it? Why had everyone else found theirs?
I decided that I needed to finally “live life to the fullest” and stop pretending that my life was just in transition. My life was happening now, and I needed to find where I belonged. Then I could finally sit back and know I had achieved something.
In an effort to find my place in the world, a friend told me that the things that bring me the most joy, make me the most excited, and bring me passion were a clue to the path that I should pursue.
I took note of this and began to pay attention to the things that gave me a vision of joy, passion and excitement.
I started a blog as a way to chronicle the things I did each day and the joy that I experienced from them. I wanted to cultivate an appreciation for the little things in life; to pay attention to every blessing I was surrounded with. Throughout the year, I began to see how the most seemingly insignificant things brought me a sense of joy, and that happiness came from seeking life, not having it served on a silver platter.
“Happiness came from seeking life, not having it served on a silver platter.”
I found that what I was most attracted to was the connection I had formed with people in my life, the world we shared together, and the joy of experiencing life with a grateful heart.
Since then I continue to pay attention to what brings me joy, making the effort to understand my passions and how I am called to use those in the world.
If you want to find your place in the world, first ask yourself these four questions:
1. What brings you the most joy?
2. What inspires and makes you the most passionate?
3. What brings your heart closer to God?
4. And lastly, how can you use all those things together in your journey through life?
Your answers will be vastly different from everyone else. You may be called to live your life through a variety of ways. And don’t forget, your path will also change along the way too. Never be so set in life that you can’t see what new things lie awaiting just around the corner.
Here is the simple truth. Finding your place in the world is simply finding the path God is calling you to. But, understand that you will walk that path blindly. None of us ever really knows what our final place will be until we reach the end of that path. Until then, walking that path with faith and courage is what we are called to do. And long as we continue to say “yes” to God’s calling in our hearts, we will arrive in God’s timing. Perfect timing.
Perhaps this is not the answer that you seek. You might, like me, be impatient. You want to know your place now; you want to feel you have finally arrived. But life is never meant to be stagnant. We are capable of doing more than we ever imagine. Living life is about continually striving to be better than the day before, to grow in strength, courage, and learn to love like God loves. God gave us gifts so that we could use them, improve them, and learn new ones. God made us people with imaginations, a desire for exploration, and a thirst for adventure.
One of my most favorite prayers comes from Thomas Merton. I like it because it’s simple, honest, and shows our vulnerable side. But it also reminds us of how our faith and courage can take us far through life.
Thomas Merton’s Prayer:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
If you haven’t found your place in the world yet, don’t fret. God intended it to be so. We are all of us searching deeper to find belonging and fulfillment, and one day we will, in Him.
a girl who dreams