Regarding purpose–here are a couple of cues to discerning yours:
What skills, gifts, are knowledge do you have that would be beneficial to others? Think about it. When God made you, God gave you a tool box. That tool box wasn’t given to you just so you could feel good about the amazing things you could do. The gifts you have been given are given so you can bless the body. By body, I am talking about the body of Christ. Beyond that body, you are intended and equipped to touch the world.
Ask other people what they think you are gifted at. I am not saying that so that you can pick up a few good strokes from others. Often times a person’s true gift is something he or she doesn’t even recognize. The skill or knowledge comes so easily, it’s just assumed everyone can do it. Often times it takes others saying, “No, not everyone can do that. You are gifted.”, for that person to recognize how extraordinary he is at somthing. I can’t tell you how many pastors I know who were gifted for ministry but it took multiple people nudging them repeatedly for them to recognize the call in their life. That was definitely the case for me.
Lastly, where is the fruit in your life? I was in a church where a woman thought she was a gifted teacher yet she could eliminate a Sunday School class quicker than anyone I knew. She was completely deluded about her “gift.” Looking for fruit though isn’t always a sure fire litmus test. Sometimes you are in a context where your gift can’t be utilized to it’s best ability. Jesus left a town once because he was unable to miracles there because of the lack of belief of the people. I hardly doubt we would want to conclude from that experience that Jesus wasn’t gifted at healing.
Okay one more lastly, don’t forget to pray about what your purpose is. In fact, do prayer first. Ask God to reveal purpose. Ask for people to voice it to you. Ask for doors and opportunities to open. Ask God to speak to you in a way that will give you clarity. As you do that spend time in the Word and journal. The discernment process may take awhile and you may need to experiment a bit, but over time you can clarify your purpose. When you do, knowing your purpose can be very freeing.
Blessings from the Practical Disciple