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Purpose - how to get it right, change the world, and live fulfilled

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It's no secret that having purpose in life is a key component to our physical health. I have heard countless stories of people who live very long lives. Those same people had a “to do” list to wake up for each day. A sense of purpose, action, and being needed or counted on. I have also heard many stories of how people quickly decline in health after retirement or loss of a significant other. We were designed for purpose. To be needed and productive. To use our life in service, in action, in availability to others, to be of help in some way, whatever our gifts and expertise determine. I believe this wholeheartedly. I know ultimately and simply, each of our divinely created purposes is to love God and to love others. I also believe in our ultra fast modern world, we have steered away from some of these ideas around purpose, and have gotten it wrong. Chasing too much, too far in the future, and putting all our hope into one future accomplishment that we think will bring life satisfaction.

I am very guilty of this. As far back as I can remember existing I have been a dreamer. Since childhood I have lived in thoughts of the future, imagining the most wonderful and exciting things for my life. I am a visionary and have a very active imagination, coupled with a very hopeful heart and a deep belief that anything is possible if you want to make it happen. I do not think anything is wrong with this. I honestly see it as a great gift God has given me in the way he designed me and it is needed for the things he designed me for. But sometimes, even the best of things gone unchecked can take you in the wrong direction or get you off course in life. Anything unbalanced will always lead to frustration and disappointment, leading you to failure on what you set out to do.

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For me personally, one of my biggest dreams in life was actually centered around family. Being a wife and mom were at the core of all I ever wanted. I had a big vision of what I hoped that would look like. I have a very clear memory of how I saw my future kids walking down the stairs of a home that looked straight out of a movie, coming down for school, receiving a big hug and prayer from their very calm, composed, and well dressed mother. Handing them their perfectly packed healthy lunch and they were smiling, happy, respectful, and thought I hung the moon. I imagined my husband there, the kind man that every girl dreams of, also lovingly sending our kids off for the day and adoring the heck out of me with kind words and affection. It was like Hollywood meets a perfect church family. I also had a big vision of simultaneously being a very successful business woman and having all of the nice things we all desire. Beautiful house, best cars, cutest clothes, fun vacations, and ability to provide any opportunity my kids could wish for.

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I don’t believe there was anything wrong with having a beautiful vision of what I hoped for in life. And many times the vision was the thing that kept me going. The problem is that it was often at the expense of the actual moment I was living in. My expectation of what could be or how I thought a lot of moments should look, robbed me of enjoying them for what they actually were right then and there. Trying so hard to accomplish two big visions at once, with good intention no doubt, also left me very overwhelmed and depleted at times. So that calm lady at the bottom of the stairs I had hoped I would be, was often very hurried, frazzled, stressed, and even angry or explosive at times because I simply couldn't do it. But I kept going. Admitting that felt like failure and laziness to me, but continuing to live so contrary to what I had truly desired also left me feeling frustrated and sad. My biggest dream of family did not look the way I had hoped. I had one failed marriage and one at times hanging by a thread. I had many elements of the nice things I had hoped for, but I didn't have peace in just being satisfied with those things. I always wanted more and to have what others around me had. Yet another place where I felt like not enough. I would live and die for my kids, and no doubt I was giving it my all for them. But that also did not look as peaceful and sweet as I had hoped for. I was constantly trading precious moments with them at a hurried pace, trying to do too much, so I could have all the things and please all the people. I was falling short in so many ways, not because I wasn't capable but because I was stretched thin. I was off course and looking too far ahead and clinging to visions of expectation that constantly left me disappointed.

There are a million reasons I know and understand now, as to why I chose to show up in life in ways that were contrary to what my heart and soul truly longed for. I have done a lot of deep work to get to the root of it and to understand and heal myself. To be honest, living like this is rarely about just one thing. That said, I think one core reason I was getting it wrong was my mindset on purpose. I so badly wanted big things, big purpose, future success, and in that I often missed the small moments. I thought living out a big purpose meant changing the world somehow. But really it's just doing well in the world closest to you. The purpose that was right in front of me. Right then and there. If you know me very well you may know I have a reputation for being slow to respond to messages, return phone calls, etc. This isn't because I don't want to talk or that I don't care. It's just that the very core of me doesn't like interruption. I strongly desire to be very present in the moment and fully engaged in what's in front of me. It's just for so long, I didn't know how to communicate this or stand up for myself in this way and really have boundaries. Consequently, my availability to everyone had me saying no to the greatest people and greatest purpose in my life. My family. As I said, it didn't sit well with me, but I also didn't know how to change it.

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The new version of me, the healed version of me, can absolutely say no. It's not always easy, but the pain of my past mistakes has been enough to help me set the boundaries. To help me have a healthy vision of the future while not compromising the present. I now understand my purpose is just to be fully in the present moment that I have been given. Whatever that looks like and whatever person is in front of me. My purpose is to love others, period. My purpose is to be of service to those around me, not just in some big glorious future moment of recognition, but in both the fun and mundane moments of life with the people God has entrusted me to do life with. The thing I have learned about purpose is that it's not that glamorous really. It's actually quite the opposite. But, my hope is that by changing the way I view and live out purpose, a daily choice my dreaming mind has to make, is that all the small moments I choose to be present and really take in life and people the way I was intended to, that these small moments will create big things. I recently heard from a Pastor, someone who speaks in front of thousands weekly, that lives are not usually changed in big rooms like that. Lives are impacted and changed when we are in small spaces, eye to eye and heart to heart, investing into the people right in front of us.

What I am starting to see is that saying yes to this kind of purpose can require you to surrender other things in life. Maybe status or stuff, maybe business or hurriedness. Being present takes effort and practice. It takes selflessness and self care. It takes having the big vision of what you want, but also knowing what's most important in each small moment that helps you create the beautiful future self and future relationships you are hoping for.

My challenge this week would be to just evaluate and reflect on your life in this area of purpose. Are you compromising what is most important to you because the world is screaming at you to want other things? Are you missing out on precious moments of the right now because you're looking so far ahead in expectation of the future? Are you placing priority on accomplishment and stuff over people? We have all done this to some degree I am sure, but we don't have to keep doing it. I believe we can all make a personal choice to be more intentional in our purpose to live well in the moment, that will make a collective difference in how society as a whole looks. When we each work to heal our own lives, and walk in ways that positively affect the people and places right in front of us, then both the small world around us and the big world we all live in become a better place for all.

“A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, in small moments missed.”

Ann Voskamp from the foreword in "Notes from a Blue Bike" by Tsh Oxenreider

For me I am claiming that my purpose is to be present in in the current moment I have been given and I trust fully that all the bright things of my future and the whole sum of my life's purpose will be fulfilled as I live fully in each and every moment and love well those right in front of me, not wasting a single moment along the way.

Purpose is a key component to a healthy life. True fulfillment is key to a well lived life. I hope you will be inspired and challenged to dream big dreams and simultaneously cling to and cherish every small moment of your life and that every purpose you were made for will come to pass.




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