I love the story of a stubborn landowner at a highway intersection. The busy traffic near his land made it a sought-after real estate location for companies from gas stations to hotels. But no matter who offered to buy the property, no price was steep enough. The owner felt the land had a “higher and better purpose,” one beyond a highway stop or tourist trap, so he didn’t sell for almost 25 years.
Then one day, leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met the owner with a proposal to buy and beautify the land with the first Latter-day Saint temple in Pennsylvania, USA. That’s when it hit him: this was his land’s purpose.1
Like the landowner, we can each seek a “higher and better purpose” of our lives. This pursuit is a divine goal because we’re on earth for a reason. We “shouted for joy when given the privilege of coming to this earth to receive a body and to follow God’s plan.”2
The role we play in this mortal life is infinitely more valuable than we know now. We’ve been blessed with opportunities to make a difference—and that should be our lifelong goal.
That higher purpose can be referred to as “fill[ing] the measure of [our] creation” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:19). This could mean looking for why we were sent to this earth at this time and doing everything in our power to fulfill and embrace that reason.
Here are four ways to achieve the measure of our creation.
Make Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ the Center of Your Life
In our efforts to achieve a higher purpose, we must first look to Heavenly Father and His perfect plan for us. As part of that plan, He sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who “suffer[ed] pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” (Alma 7:11) to make it possible for us to fulfill the divine measure of creation in a fallen world. He gave commandments to show a higher and holier way toward our purpose.
Making His teachings the core of our being allows us to live a more meaningful life. For example, the Savior shows us to put God’s will above our own desires (see Luke 22:42), seek heavenly and not earthly treasure (see Mark 10:17–22), and use our talents to bless others (see Matthew 25:14–30). Personal meaning awaits those who work to emulate Christ in all they do.
You were created for a great purpose, and nobody knows that better than your Heavenly Father and Redeemer. Let Him be part of your journey to find the measure—and meaning—of your creation.
Seek After Good
My family owns an adorable Australian Shepherd. But one of the less-than-adorable things she does is dig through the garbage can when we aren’t looking. “Don’t you know that’s just trash?” I ask her in frustration. “Don’t you know there’s so much better food in your food bowl?”
After saying my monologue, I realize that God could say the same thing to us when we sin. “Don’t you know that worldly pleasures are only temporary?” He might ask. “Don’t you know there’s so much happiness I’ve given you elsewhere?”
God has planned eternal joy for us—but we must do our part to pursue it. If we seek after the things of the world, our desire to be more will never be satisfied. On the other hand, if we try every day to keep God’s commandments and welcome His Spirit into our lives, He will lead us every step of the way toward our purpose.
Our Savior promises, “If you keep my commandments you shall receive of [the Father’s] fulness” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:20). We fill the measure of our creation by letting God be part of our journey and trusting that His commandments really are what’s best for us. It is illogical to be unhappy by seeking after worldly things and then blame God for lack of purpose.
Treat Yourself as a Being with Divine Potential
I’m fascinated with the idea of a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” This is when our expectations come true because our mindset leads us to subconscious action. For example, if you firmly tell yourself you’ll have a good day, then you probably will. But if you tell yourself you’ll have a bad day, then you probably will.
The same is true with our individual worth. If we treat ourselves as insignificant beings with no larger purpose, then we will be far from achieving the measure of our creation. But if we recognize our identity as “a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents” who “has a divine nature and destiny,”3 then lifelong purpose will follow.
Treating ourselves as beings with godly potential may mean treating ourselves with more kindness. Thoughts that tell us we’re not good enough or that we’re not worthy of a meaningful life will weaken our motivation to follow God-given directions or use our God-given strengths. Even if we feel ashamed of who we used to be, we can still reach out for our divine worth because “when the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves.”4
“Our identity determines in large measure our destiny,”5 so a meaning-filled future begins with faith that we mean everything to God. He sent His Son to die for us because He loves us infinitely (see John 3:16) and sees who we can become. If we struggle to find purpose, we can start accepting the fact that we are divine beings with infinite potential.
Be Willing to Accept Guidance
Christian author C. S. Lewis compared each of us to a living house that God comes to rebuild. At first, He makes repairs we knew we needed, like fixing leaks in the roof. But then, He starts knocking the house around in a confusing and uncomfortable way.
“The explanation,” wrote C. S. Lewis, “is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”6
Like the house in this analogy, we can develop in ways we never knew were possible. We may be content with where we are now or not see much need to seek out more purpose, but God isn’t done working with us yet.
Our Father in Heaven sees a wealth of potential still to come. The only limitation is our willingness to accept God’s invitation to change. In the Old Testament, we read: “Despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11–12). Spiritual impressions leading us to make improvements in our lives are not punishments; they are opportunities to become more like our Savior.
Our Greatest Goal
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Our goal should be to fill the measure of our creation as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father—that is, to reach exaltation and eternal life.”7 Why are exaltation and eternal life our goal? Because we have a divine identity that extends far beyond our earth life.
In all we do, let us center our lives on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and seek after righteousness. Let us see ourselves as beings with everlasting potential and be prepared to let God show us how to reach it.
We are among the “noble and great ones” (Abraham 3:22) sent to this earth, and our potential is without end; embrace that fact with a smile and a firm step forward.
1.nullDean M. Davies, “God Will Use You, God Will Bless You” (Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 3, 2015), 2, speeches.byu.edu.
2.nullThe Plan of Salvation (2008), 5.
3.null“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
4.nullDieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Liahona, May 2012, 75.
5.nullTad R. Callister, “Our Identity and Our Destiny” (Brigham Young University devotional, Aug. 14, 2012), 1, speeches.byu.edu.
6.nullC. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan Co. (1960), 160.
7.nullJoseph B. Wirthlin, “Never Give Up,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 8.