Living a Purpose Driven Life
by Joanne Ellison


So much has been written in recent years about living a purpose-filled life. Rick Warren wrote an excellent book on this subject. But the best book ever written on purpose is Paul’s letter written to the Christians in Rome.  Renowned theologian, N.T. Wright calls it his masterpiece because it covers so many different topics but the foremost is our call to receive His power and grace offering our lives to be used for His purposes. He calls us into something for something and that for something is our destiny. We all are wired for purpose, and as believers in Jesus Christ, our call is to follow Him in thought, word, and deed. Exciting to think of our lives in the Master’s hands working with Him to impact our families and world. His ways are higher.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8)

So the key is getting in touch with His thoughts and His ways so we know our purpose.

And that is the best news ever because He sent His Holy Spirit to help guide us just that way.

Over a year ago, my Daddy became ill and subsequently went to be with Jesus in April. His passing coupled with the loss of a significant relationship and other key losses put me into a downward spiral.

But God…

A friend offered to meet with me and after we talked and prayed the mountain of loss in my heart began to move and little by little restoration was complete. I share this with you because during that time I lost vision for the future. I lacked motivation and zeal that I normally have and as I dealt with the loss, my purposeful vision was restored.

Friends, the enemy does not play fair. On his worst day he throws us some curveballs. On his best day when we are worn down, he throws one straight at us. Why? If he can get us to leave our post, forget our call and purpose, mission accomplished. Now listen my friends…

We must never give up; never surrender the hope within, the call within and the vision that God has given each of us as we serve Him on earth.

So let’s get practical. How can we avoid losing our way? We can’t. There are things we can do to stay on track such as staying in God’s Word, listening to the Shepherd’s voice, and worshipping Him daily. But there are seasons when the three deadly “D’s” take their toll: Disappointment, discouragement, and doubt. And when all three of these hit at once it’s difficult to stand. What to do?

  1. Don’t isolate. Talk to close friends about what is going on. (Jesus had his three close friends).
  2. Get prayer- get to the root of your situation
  3. Worship the Lord anyway. In the midst of a storm, sing praises reminding yourself of the Lord’s faithfulness in the past.


Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that all things work out for those who love God are called according to His purposes. Keep in mind that though the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, He has no claws. He just makes a lot of noise to disrupt God’s plans. But God always wins. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Come join me in my Drawing Near to God community class.  I will be teaching Romans and I can assure you that even in the midst of loss and confusion,  just as the Roman Christians found courage and purpose you will do the same.  And by the way, if you bring a friend with you, let us know and we will give you my devotional Sitting at His Feet. I wrote it when my son was going through a dark, purposeless time. He has found his purpose and you will too!




  1. Sally Castengera

    Thank you Joanne. Your Post was timely, as I too have been struggling since my daughter, Nicole’s death, not really caring whether I lived or died at times. I had rather be with her. I have less patience with the mundane and self centered individuals. I have always liked Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” and need to revisit it. Thank you again, and I look forward to the fall bible study! Love and hugs to everyone!

    • joanneellison

      Dear Sally- I am glad that the post spoke to you. Your loss is huge and I completely understand how life’s lenses significantly change with such pain. I truly believe as you offer hope to the broken you will find new found purpose. Looking forward to seeing you in the fall.

  2. Sherri

    Thanks Joanne for your transparency! Dealing with illness and death can leave us discouraged at times but God. Looking forward to you unpacking Romans for us. Praying for you as you prepare this fall’s study. Blessings Sherri

    • joanneellison

      I am so looking forward to our fall study too! Hugs!

    • joanneellison

      Thanks sweet Sherri! You are dear to my heart:)

  3. meg

    Joanne-looking forward to fall bible study. I am feeling very heavy as a good friend has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer yet a second time. I, too, lost my mom to cancer when i was 26 yo. This time of year evokes a great deal of a “heavy heart” in me. I pray for the spirit to guide my thoughts and actions, and that I am where I need to be at this point in time. Praying for peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you for your service.

    • joanneellison

      Dear Meg- I am so sorry to hear about your good friend. Life can be so stressful and yet the Lord gives us such hope. Delighted that you are coming to the Bible study. It’s good to have fellowship with other believers. Be sure to say hello when you are there. God bless- Joanne


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