A Life Purpose Statement: Your Spiritual Touchstone

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you have a life purpose statement? What good does it do to have one?

A life purpose statement is simply a summary of your life purposes and how you will fulfill them. Writing it down and visiting it regularly is critical to the fulfillment of your life purposes.

Read more to learn how to craft your own life purpose statement.

Your Life Purpose Statement

Because your purposes are a lifetime project, you may occasionally put them on the back burner or get distracted by other plans, goals, or temptations. A life purpose statement is a summary of the purposes of your life—a spiritual touchstone that you can return to regularly to realign your priorities and ensure that you’re living a purpose-driven life. 

Create your life purpose statement by writing down your commitments to your five purposes and your ideas for how you’ll best fulfill them and commit to them: 

  • Worship: You know God should be at the center of your life, but it’s possible something will take his place. Think about your personal indicators that God has shifted down your priority list, and how you can realign your priorities. For example, when you’re driven by work instead of your purposes, you start to feel anxious or restless. You can realign by committing to talking to God during your morning routine. 
  • Fellowship: Describe your church, your commitment as a member, and your relationships with other members. Think about how you plan to maintain your relationships and unity in the church. For example, you might make a list of things to try when you meet a “difficult” person: be as patient as possible, learn about them, and try to connect with them. 
  • Character: Think about the characteristics you want to develop over your lifetime, and write them down. You might include examples of situations that would develop these characteristics, as a reminder that everything has meaning. 
  • Ministry: Write down what you know about your SHAPE and how you can use it to serve others. Then, think about who would be best served by your ministry.
  • Mission: Write down your personal testimony of finding God and starting a purpose driven life, and reflect on the life lessons you think would be most helpful to others. During your lifetime, you might find that you have a specific group of people God wants you to focus on and connect with. Add this detail into your life purpose statement. 

In addition to your full life purpose statement, think of a short slogan that is worded in a way that you can easily remember—memorize it and reflect on it often. For example, “My purpose in this life is to thank God and talk to him as much as I can, bring my most authentic and loving self to my church, always choose to do what Jesus would do, serve others in a way that feels right to me, and share what I know about God with everyone.”

A Life Purpose Statement: Your Spiritual Touchstone

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Purpose Driven Life summary:

  • The meaning of life from a Christian perspective
  • The five purposes that you were created by God to fulfill
  • How to find the unique service you were made for

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She has always appreciated nonfiction, especially about history, politics, and ideas. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. As a former intelligence analyst and a teacher of critical thinking skills, Elizabeth enjoys analyzing arguments on all sides of an issue. Her nonfiction preferences include theology, science, and philosophy. She studies the intersection of these three in pursuit of the highest truths. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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