I don’t know what season of life you are currently in. Perhaps you are a young mother trying to figure out this parenting thing. Maybe you are middle-aged like me facing a new season of life in being an empty nester. Or you may be having to care for aging parents. Or you could be in an advanced season of life wondering what you should do next.
No matter what season or stage of life you’re in, you could be experiencing feelings of life passing you by or of thinking it’s too late to find your purpose and live out your priorities, goals, and dreams.
I just started back to weekly Bible study this past Tuesday with ladies at my church. We are going through Tony Evans’ study titled, It’s Not Too Late. The study focuses on the lives of six people in the Bible who had lives that normally would have disqualified them from doing big things for God, yet God used them in powerful ways.
The point of the study is that no matter how much we feel we’ve messed up, it’s not too late for God to turn our lives around and use us to further His kingdom and glorify His name.
When I think about the phrase, it’s not too late, I tend to picture thinking that it’s too late to either start over or to figure out my purpose so I can pursue my goals and dreams.
I think that often we do believe it is too late because life is hard and daunting at times. And our current culture often suggests that if you don’t succeed while you’re young, it’s too late.
I would like to suggest, though, that it’s not too late. Sure you may have to adjust your goals and dreams based on what season of life you are in, your current abilities or inabilities, and what you feel should be a priority in your life.
Today I’d like to give you some proof that it’s not too late to find your purpose and live out your goals and dreams. And I will give you some tips to help you figure out what that purpose could be.
Successful people who did not achieve their goals and dreams and become successful until later in life.
Julia Child was 49 years old when her 1st cookbook was published. At 51 years old she gained television fame with a cooking show. At the age of 69, she became co-founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food. By the end of 1965, The French Chef was carried by 96 PBS stations. In 1966, she won an Emmy. Also, Time magazine put her on the cover in a feature article on American food.
Martha Stewart worked on Wall Street and owned a Connecticut catering firm. However, her real success came after age 41 with the publication of her first book and the launch of Martha Stewart Living seven years later.
Harlan Sanders was “a failure who got fired from a dozen jobs before starting his restaurant, and then failed at that when he went out of business and found himself broke at the age of 65,” according to one story about him. His success began when he sold the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1952.
Although he’d owned a small chain of discount stores, Sam Walton opened the first true Wal-Mart when he was 44.
So I think we can see from the lives of these people that you can find success late in life. And I’d like to propose that you can achieve your goals and dreams at any time in your life.
I know many people under the age of 40 that have set goals and achieved them because they’re driven and motivated. They’ve figured out what they want out of life and they go for it. I don’t think we can let our age hold us back in fear of trying to do something new.
So how do we know what goals and dreams we should pursue?
Determine your purpose for this season of your life
I am a firm believer that we all have specific purposes that can change over time. So it’s important to get into God’s Word and pray. Ask Him to reveal what He wants you to focus on in this season in your life. This is especially true if you are transitioning from one season to another.
I’m currently in transition to becoming an empty nester with my husband. By this time next year, both of our kids will be in college. So I will be spending a lot of time over the coming months asking God to show me what He wants me to focus on in this next stage of life. I already know that most likely I’ll be having to give more attention and help to my mother. However, I know that there will be some other things God will bring into my life that will become part of my new focus.
I could talk about finding your purpose all day. For the sake of time, though, I’m going to suggest that you go back and listen to episode 6 where I went into depth about how to figure out your purpose in life.
Set goals and dreams around your purpose
Let me give you a few examples. Say for instance that you are becoming an empty nester. Through the search for your purpose now, you’ve realized that you have put yourself on the back burner for years while raising your children. One of your goals could be to establish a fitness plan so you can enjoy your new freedom.
Or maybe you’ve always dreamed about starting your own business. And at age 45-50 you think you have lost out on your chance. This could be the goal you need to embrace. Don’t forget about all the other people I mentioned earlier that got a late start in life on their careers.
Possibly it’s time to go back to school and finish the degree you started. Or, maybe you want to go back to school and try something new.
Maybe, though, you are a mom of small children and you wonder if you’ll ever get to pursue your goals and dreams. While God may have taking care of your home and family your primary purpose in this season of life, you could be doing some things so that you’re ready when the time is right to pursue other goals.
Read books on the topics that would relate to your dreams. You could invest in some online conferences to get more training. When the time is right, you’ll already have laid a foundation of knowledge that should help you achieve your goals more quickly.
What if you can’t come up with goals related to your purpose? Don’t let fear hold you back. What is something you’ve always wanted to do? What is your passion? If you’re not sure you’re going in the right direction, pray and ask God to confirm your thoughts. I think He’ll be faithful to close the doors that you are not supposed to walk through. You need to be in communication with Him so you’ll it is Him acting and not just coincidence or circumstance.
Make a plan to live it out
Let’s take an earlier example of going back to school to either complete your degree or to study something new. For that to happen, you need to have a plan.
First, you need to determine what the requirements are for the degree and where you will try to pursue it. Because schools have so many different requirements, costs, and ways to earn degrees, you’ll need to spend some time trying to find the best fit for you.
Once you decide where you will study and what you need to study, you’ll need to figure out how going back to school will work in your schedule. Do you have the time to be a full-time student? Or will you need to take just one to two classes a semester until you finish your degree?
The one thing you don’t want to do here, though, is to get stuck in the planning mode and not move forward to the first step in achieving your goal.
I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s not too late to try to achieve your goals and dreams.