Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is your purpose?

Such a small sentence, yet so loaded with responsibility, accountability, and self-worth. One’s purpose in life is an idea we can’t escape. We innately seek purpose in all things… whether talking about the origins of life and the universe or in the motivation behind our actions. What is the purpose? What was the reason for the cause which produced the effect? What effect do I hope to produce? What is my purpose?

There are countless books, articles, and opinions on how to discover your ultimate purpose in life. Answers are given to the ageless question of “why am I here?” Most of these writings are geared toward careers or self-fulfillment. Is my purpose to be successful in a career? Is my purpose to find self-fulfillment? I don’t think so. Neither does God apparently.

He plainly states that our purpose is to serve Him. Simple enough on the surface, right? But what does that exactly entail? Serving God means to follows His rules and the common denominator behind all His rules is this: LOVE. We’ve all heard the saying “God is love.” Well, He is. And our purpose is to love, to love Him back by obeying the law, but also to love others. So there is an inward application of self-discipline and an outward application of loving others. Once again, how do we do love others exactly? It isn’t always so cut and dry and what may seem like the most obvious way to love isn’t always the way we personally were called to love.

Let me expound on that. It’s no surprise to anyone that we are all individuals with unique qualities and personalities, unique down to our very DNA. Why should it be any different when it comes to how we love? We were all called to love in different ways. There is a great book called “The Five Love Languages” that most people seem to be familiar with. The content makes it quite easy to clearly identify the mode in which you love. It is obviously categorized and therefore generalized. But the gist is good; you will learn basically how you see, feel, and give love. And this coincidentally, is how God purposefully made us. We are each of us purposefully made! I didn’t really grasp that concept until a few years ago. Part of me believed I was cranked out on an assembly line and that somehow I wasn’t constructed quite right. I didn’t seem to fit the mold of what seemed to be the right way to love.

Society likes to say that love is obvious. Actions speak love, they say. Feed a homeless person, give a gift basket to the sick dude, or invite people into your home. But a great deal of us, I believe, love on a much more subtle level. A love that is not lesser by any means, but perhaps a love that is quieter and harder to put a finger on. Some love by listening. That’s it! Just listening to a tortured soul or a lonely invalid. Some love by being behind the scenes of greater things, rarely acknowledged, loving in the shadows. No matter how we are built to love, we can be sure that who we innately are, what we are instinctively drawn to do in love, is exactly how God purposefully created us.

What is your purpose? To love. To love as God uniquely designed you to love. To love no matter where you are, whether working or resting. To learn love as though it were a skill to hone. To love as though God himself were always watching, because He is! Remember His will and remember His love and then live with those thoughts always with you. And loving will be a joy. Loving will be an honor. Loving will be the purpose that fulfills you and gives you the greatest success that you can hope for in this life.

One more thing: love yourself. Accept who you uniquely are and appreciate that God put intimate thought into making you. Love you the way God loves you. Don’t forget your own value. Know that to love properly means to view everything and everyone through God’s eyes. This is the beginning of a life of peace (no fear), joy (through all emotions), and unending wonder (as the beauty of God’s will becomes clearer).

Peace and love,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Start: Maryland

I never expected to fall in love with this place. I'm still not sure that I am. All I know is that I rather enjoy nap drives here. Everyday around 1pm I throw the boys in the car (but only if they won't get in themselves) and just start driving. No destination, no specific route and I find myself for one, not getting lost like I expect to, and two, overwhelmed by the beauty of the scenery. Not just the rolling hills salted with farms and country houses, fields, and trees... Even the art of the road is a thing of beauty. The road respects the land, does not plow right through it with its own interest, but even seems to compliment and honor the graceful flow of the geography. I'm surprised by my instant adoration of this place. I have yet to meet a local (give me a break I've been sick since I got here) and downtown left much to be desired. Yet the character is unmistakable, the unique quality unavoidable. I can only imagine how my affections will grow once spring comes.

In other matters, I find myself rather lonely. This was expected however. How many times can I say to my distant friends, "I miss you so much!" before realizing that I have nothing else to say. No "let's hang out today" or "do you wanna come over tomorrow?" I don't know what to do with that. It's like breaking up with your friends... Sorry I can't see you anymore. I really didn't think it would end so soon... And the inevitable heartbreak. So I'm in a new kind of limbo now: friend limbo. Caught between leaving the old friends behind (so to speak) and meeting new friends here. It's an uncomfortable space to live in.

Through all this God has been good to me. The 38 hour or so drive from Phoenix couldn't have gone more smoothly - even the bad book was enjoyable when shared with my sis! My kids were astonishingly well-behaved. We encountered no detours or traffics issues. No inclement weather or vehichle problems. Where is my darn shirt! lol. It's a God thing. And call me crazy, but I count my eternal monster head cold as a blessing. It's like God saying, "OK you are home now. Just rest for a week. Just rest and don't stress." Man, I love our God!

Life is crazy where I left it. For whatever reason, I've always been submersed in a calm place flittering in and out of other people's stressful situations. Surely I'm blessed. And naturally I've had difficulties in my life, but God has always lifted me out of it unscathed. In fact, only improved I'd say, and what's better, with a deeper sense of gratitude and awe at our Almighty Father.

My prayer for you is that you fall in love with the beauty of God around you. That you easily identify those moments in which you can say "It's a God thing!" That God lift you out of your troubles with a sense of awe at His plan for your life. For all you LOST fans out there.... "Don't tell me what GOD can't do!"

peace and love