Living A Purposeful Life
Living on purpose is to become aware that we were all created to serve some specific function in life. Some of these purposes might be highly ambitious, attracting the praises of those around us or may even earn us national or global attention. Some of these purposes may be common everyday occurrences like raising a child, teaching or nursing a loved one back to health. Although these are things that we see and do daily in many cases it is still significant and important. It’s a wonderful feeling to come into the knowledge that your work, your tasks, your gift is your purpose in life. And EVERYONE has a purpose. To not understand or acknowledge your purpose is a missed opportunity. The problem for most people is discovering what their purpose is. I’ve found that many people discount their talents and gifts or fail to recognize them as their purpose. Another problem is that there are many distractions in life that keep us from living our lives on purpose and with purpose. These distractions may even be what we see as good distractions, but nevertheless, they are distractions. Here are a few “distractions” or “mistakes” that misdirect our steps from walking in our purpose: 1. The "But I Love It" Mistake In my junior year of high school, I joined the Forensic Team, because my dream was to become an attorney and I felt like this would be good training for me. The Forensic team had several areas, debate (which is what I wanted to participate in), extemporaneous speech, poetry and prose recitation, and dramatic interpretation.
The team coach started everyone on poetry and prose to get them used to public speaking. After one week of practice I competed in my first competition – a state competition and came in 3rd Place. That clinched it, I was then cast in that role and went from poetry and prose to dramatic interpretation and later acting. I was very good at all three and won nearly every competition that I was in. So I switched my career goal to acting. I loved it, it came naturally to me, but it was not where I was to be. It did however, lead me to a minor in Communications in college, which led me to journalism…which as it turned out was also a training ground and gave me a broad perspective and knowledge of various subjects.
2. The "But That Drives Me Crazy" Mistake Usually, when things drive us crazy, we're taught to walk away or ignore them. But sometimes it can help to take a closer look. For example, if somebody does something incorrectly, and their error drives us crazy, we shouldn't get stuck in criticizing the person and trying to understand why they can’t do it our way—we should look at what our inability to tolerate their error can show us. What you cannot stand to see done badly is exactly where you ought to work. If you can't stand it when meeting agendas are done incorrectly or when the invitations are not sent out in time—if you want things in order—maybe you should consider working in an area of administration. Other people might not even be bothered by these things, but your inability to put up with anything less than excellence means that you have an interest there. You need to recognize, "this is an area I have a passion for." 3. The "But My Mom Told Me to..." Mistake Sometimes your purpose may be totally opposite to the preparation of your life. It may be that you got a degree in one thing, but it's not fulfilling to you because it's not the thing that you were really created to do. It may be that your family and friends have misdirected you to where they have a need. So your education, your background, your circumstances, your job ends up restricting you from finding your fulfillment. This happens all the time. Someone goes into the family business. They are miserable doing it and they may even fail at it because it was not their destiny. Every day at work, you might be like Jonah in the story in Bible, right when the ship hits a storm. Jonah probably thought, "I'm really going in the wrong direction. I'm going into the mouth of a big fish." You have to have the courage to swim against the tide and follow your instincts.
4. The "Do Something—Anything" Mistake The lives we lead do not always lend time for inner reflection. We're so busy that we don't make space for prayer, for mediation, or quiet time. We don't really examine. We throw ourselves into this busy-ness so deeply that we don't take the time to pause. During meetings or family time we find ourselves thinking about all of the other things we have to do that day to prepare for the next day. We all need one day of the week to rest. Everything in creation has a season. For example, Winter is a time for rest…a season of not being fruitful. This is a time for healing, preparation, and restoration. But, many times we're so busy spitting out project after project that we don't give ourselves a chance to heal, prepare and restore. We also need time to reflect and really find our passion, the thing that is waiting to be birthed or delivered from our bellies. To recognize it, you need to get in a quiet place to settle you mind and your body. It may take some time to learn how to be still, but don’t give up. Remember, we all have a purpose. Look diligently for it and you will find it.