The last month has been full of talk about resolutions and goals so I am not going to add much to that. I am sure you have your goals set if you are one of those who wait for January or you already had them set if you are one of those who do them before the end of the year or you fly by the seat of your pants.
If you ask people who know me well they will tell you I always have a plan A to Z till the end of day with little or no room for failure. As an ardent planner I would always have every t crossed and every i dotted. Recently, something has repeatedly come to my attention and in the last few months it has changed me. 2014 changed many of the thoughts and patterns for good because I came to understand a few things differently.
I have always been driven in life and in some instances these dreams of grandeur were misplaced and were driving me insane. Ok, maybe to say insane would be pushing it a bit too far. In 2001 things weren’t going as planned and I was going out of my mind because I couldn’t wrap my head around how to get out of that place. Help finally came when a group of us did a joint focus with forty days of purpose and very simple questions to answer:
- Lord who did You create me to be?
- Lord how do You deal with me?
- Lord how do You desire for to live my life out from here on out?
In a past post I have talked a lot about the question of how God deals with me and you can read it in greater depth here. The question that has been on my mind again recently is “Lord who did You create me to be?” This I had come to understand related directly to purpose and reason I am alive. We all talk about purpose and why we are here but it is such a technical discussion that many of us aren’t even sure what it means. We are looking for a deep explanation or great well written statement yet it is often something very simple with a deep outworking.
Here is an example. A good friend had her purpose simplified to “Nurture and give strength”. Before you think that is too vague let me explain a bit. Her core gift is to encourage and support others. This is lived out in many different ways depending on the person, situation and instruction. For some it is a listening ear, for others a hug, for others a word, for others working alongside and for others it is a slap on the face. It can even translate to a profession like an administrator, HR manager, teacher, pastor, etc. Can your purpose statement be so simple? Yup! Can it be lived out daily? Most certainly! Does it need interpretation? Totally! Purpose has to be the thing that gets us out of bed every day and gives us the energy to go on even when things aren’t going as well as we would like.
Recently my daddy reminded me that when I walk into purpose and consistently stay there everything is good even when the surrounding circumstances look different. So using my friend as an example again, if she has to care authentically she has to feel and understand the needs around her. This has meant that she has faced significant struggle and pain in life. Sometimes it has seemed that God has deserted her and her life is off the rails but at the end of each season she has come out stronger and deeper in her relationship with Him. Each time it has brought her closer to the realities of her purpose and made her more relevant.
The other day someone struggling with meeting their daily needs sat with her and she was able to share real life, heartfelt options that ministered to them. She didn’t have money in her pocket to give but she had ideas about who this person could talk to who could open a door. She had a challenge to their current perspective that helped re-align them to God. She had compassion and love to respond with the right words, in the right tone and at the right time. Most of all she had the heart to pray the right prayer and be the right contact for this person in need.
It has been amazing watching her walking in her path even when it didn’t make sense to her family and those of us who are her friends. However, every day I find that she is clearer in the things that matter to her questions about how to walk. Did she want the big car, the nice home and the recognition? Sure. Is it the centre of her life anymore? No. Her understanding of who she is in Christ is now the bigger issue. This really got me thinking and in many ways I am still thinking about it. Suddenly, something I saw by Joel Osteen made sense. He said, “Don’t stay focused on what somebody else can do better. You’re not running their race. You don’t need what they have.”
As we live out our daily lives, it is absolutely essential that we find this place and operate in this kind of balance always. Ps 139 resonates in my heart because I know that if He knew why He created me and I connect to that purpose then my life on this earth will definitely be worth something bigger and longer lasting than my years here on earth.