Our church, Nags Head Church, is studying the book by Rick Warren, "A Purpose Driven Life". We study the book in our various small group meetings, and our pastor, Rick Lawrence, teaches about it on Sunday. For those who aren't familiar with the book, its basic premise is that as Christians we should not just live our lives in survival mode - existing day to day waiting for Christ's return or our demise. We were put in this earth for a purpose; we should live for that purpose and seek to accomplish that purpose. Of course the difficult part is, discovering that purpose.
The purpose is not found "within", nor can anyone else tell us what it is. It comes only from God our Father. Just as all of creation has its purposes, each of us has a purpose. In my experience, you can sort of see the people who are living in a purpose driven life. It's not about them, it's about what they are doing. It's not about happiness or success. It's about obedience to God's leading.
I remember earlier in my life there were people who used the term "living in the center of God's will". Now as I look back, I believe they were trying to live a purpose driven life, but called it something else. This is not to say that they actually achieved this goal of living in the center of God's will, but they felt as if they were. I was sort of jealous of them. However some of them were fluent speakers of Christianese. You know, they're the ones that use that special set of vocabulary that only "mature" Christians could understand. Sometimes if you sat and listened to them you wanted to just say, speak English! They were so much impressed with themselves and they wanted to impress each other. These were the ones who tended to use the "center of God's will" conversations.
So finding our purpose, is it a journey or is it a goal? I guess a little of both. Once you find your purpose, it simplifies your life because you can drop all the other unimportant things in your life and you can concentrate on living that life. It helps you say "no" to other things that just clutter up and make you busy but not productive. It doesn't guarantee success in life. At least not in the world's definition of "success". But if you know that you are being obedient, you don't look for success, you just look to obey... That is what God is looking for from us.