Written by Allysin Van Ysseldyk

Growing up I had a really hard time deciding what I wanted to be when I was older. It seemed like every week I would tell my mom something new. One week it was a chef because I had cooked one half decent meal and thought it was fun. Another week I wanted to be a lawyer because I watched Legally Blonde, and if she could do it, so could I!

Once it was a doctor.
A musical theatre performer.
A stay at home mom.

I was all over the place because I couldn’t figure out what I was really passionate about, in order to narrow it down to just one thing. I bounced back and forth, but eventually I found myself in Bible College studying to be a youth pastor. Looking back, I’m not really sure what led me to that decision. Perhaps it was my youth pastor that inspired me. He always said that being a youth pastor was the best job anyone could have.

To be honest, I found myself consumed with the question of what my purpose in life was. All through university I kept saying I wasn’t going to be a pastor. (Spoiler Alert: I’m currently a youth pastor!). I was determined that it wasn’t for me. It seemed like a fine job, but planning youth programs? Is that really all that God had for me? Is that really what my purpose in life is? I laugh now at how naive I was, to think that my purpose in life could be summed up in a career choice (or to think that a youth pastor’s sole job is to plan programs).

My goal and my purpose in life isn’t to run youth programs. It isn’t to preach sermons. Plan really awesome events, or even bring a bunch of youth to Overflow each year. I mean, that’s all part of the career I chose, but that is not my purpose. My purpose is so much bigger than that! It’s bigger than any career, job or task I perform. It isn’t limited to my talents, or abilities, or even my physical location.

My purpose is to love.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, what type of hippie is writing this? I promise I am actually super logical. It’s just the more time I spent with God, the more I discovered who He is. The more I realized how much He loves people, and He has invited each of us to be a part of what He’s doing here on Earth.

I know it seems too simple. It seems too easy. But here is what I believe: God gave me interests and passions and with those I can choose whichever career I want. However, the important thing is that I love God with everything in me, and that I love people with all the grace and love that I have received from Him.

The closer I get to God, the more I am transformed into His likeness. The more I look like Him, the more love and grace I give away to people. I know it can seem simple. But you try loving some of the people God loves: it can be a tough job! Love isn’t afraid to go through the tough, dark parts of life with others. Love accepts people as they are, without needing them to change.

The only way for me to ever fulfill my purpose is to recognize all the grace and love that God gives me, so that I can turn around and give those exact things away to those around me. The truly amazing thing about recognizing this as my purpose, is that now my career doesn’t really matter. I can live out my purpose anywhere, doing anything, following my interests, talents and abilities. I wish I had realized that when I was younger, so that I could have spent less time stressing about what career I would choose and spent more time actually living out my real purpose!

Overflow Youth