What is my purpose? The word purpose means; “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.” The older I get, the more that I think about this word. I know that I am not alone because Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 20 million copies.
I devoured this book along with many others and agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Warren that considering one’s life apart from the Creator God is fruitless. Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply read an excellent book about purpose, and by the end of the book you would have it all figured out? I believe that God gave us freedom to make choices, and the fact that we can make choices is the very thing that many of us struggle with.
Should I buy the Chevy or should I buy the Nissan? Should I read the Bible this morning, or should I go running? Should I give this extra $100 to the church or should I pay off some debt? Should I stay in this high paying job that doesn’t have much meaning to me, or should I take a job that would be much more enjoyable but pays much less?
I also believe that God gives us relationships for a reason. My relationship with God is my primary relationship, but in the words of a past co-worker “I know that God is always there for me, but sometimes I just need someone to wrap their arms around me.” I have thought about her statement many times, and it has shaped the way that I have approached my faith.
Common sense is another gift that God has bestowed on most of us. In my experience, the common sense answer is usually the one that comes to mind immediately when faced with a making a decision. Unfortunately, I don’t always follow this immediate guidance. Instead, I mull over the issue for hours, days, or even years. Don’t get me wrong, taking some time to pray and mull over an important decision is wise. But sometimes praying and mulling has just been an excuse for me to not make a decision.
I wonder if the reason that I struggle with making decisions sometimes is because I am subconsciously trying to figure out how this choice fits in with my purpose. If I am honest with myself, I know that there is a purpose that I want for my life, and then there is the actual purpose that is meant for my life. When I procrastinate in making a decision, I have found that it is usually because I know that the action that I should take does not lead me along the path that I want for my life.
So what is really valuable in life? We spend a lot of time working very hard to make money and friends that can help us achieve our desired purpose. So if we are working so hard to achieve this purpose why are so many of us still not at peace with ourselves? I wonder if it is because we are working for the wrong kind of payment. Money is nice, and it certainly can help us pay our bills, take wonderful vacations, it can be used to help others, and it brings a level of security to one’s life. On the other hand, it has been my experience that you can never have enough money to be truly satisfied.
Prestige is another thing that many of us work very hard to earn. Prestige is defined as “reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other favorable attributes.” There is certainly nothing wrong with working hard to earn a good reputation, and prestige can be leveraged to do a lot of good in the world. The problem with prestige is that it usually makes us look more at ourselves than at those around us.
So what is left to work for? Recently I was talking with my mother-in-law about this topic, and a wonderful thought came to my mind. This thought is related to the comment that my co-worker made about God some time ago. What if we lived in such a way that the only payment that we were looking for was to be hugged, kissed or to be treated to a Chai Tea Latte? It seems to me that the best purpose in life is to help those whom God has placed around us. Who doesn’t like to be hugged or kissed in appreciation? Who doesn’t like to be called out of the blue and asked to meet, and then be treated to a lunch or a coffee?
Maybe this is too simplistic for you, but Lord knows that working for money or prestige is sure hard work. What is the payment for this effort? Isn’t it stress, worry and exhaustion? So I propose a better, simpler way to find, and live out our God given purpose. What if we took some of our effort and invested it in actions that only lead to hugs, kisses and the occasional Chai Tea Latte? It sure couldn’t hurt, could it?