Ya’ll, I have to tell you. This post has intimidated me more than any other. I knew something was brewing about purpose. We’ve covered perfection, promise, and perspective, but purpose was whispering to me like an elusive ghost. Honestly. Is there anything more haunting than purpose? We want to know. We need to know. What was the purpose? What is my purpose? Is there any purpose?
We spend our lives either embracing purpose or pushing it away. Typically, it’s a mixture of the two. Some days, our purpose is so clearly defined. On the days where we feel like we’re blundering through life, we push the haunting of purpose away.
On July 21, 2016, Micah’s father had a massive heart attack, followed by a stroke. The entire story is long and miraculous and we’re really still in the middle of it. From 11 days in the ICU, 10 days on life support, over a year of various forms of rehab and the ongoing return of a father and husband who the Doctors said would never be capable of doing more than a light movement of his fingers and toes, God has been faithful as we continue to trust and pray for complete restoration.
There is something about crisis that has the ability to bring purpose into focus. During those two weeks in Roanoke, Va., traveling to the hospital everyday, walking the halls of the intensive care unit, praying for a miracle, and watching God answer very specific and strategic prayers, purpose took a corporeal form and we took hold of it.
When we returned home to Florida and stepped out of the physical battle zone, we felt a little lost and misplaced. It took us some time to process but what we both acknowledged was that we had just gone from 14 days of intensely focused purpose and jumped from that right back in to life as usual. House to clean, bills to pay, meals to cook.
Purpose doesn’t only take form in crisis. There are things in this life that anchor us to eternity. I like to think of it like a rope, made up of so many fibrous strands and hope being the very center. Wrapped around hope are all of the gifts and passions that make your heart come to life. Can’t you feel it? When you’re doing something you love? Whether it is singing or teaching or serving others. If it’s farming or riding a horse or cooking. If it’s counseling or painting or photography.
Try to think about the joy of swinging, as a child. Holding tight to the ropes as you lift higher and higher, pointing your feet towards the clouds, tilting your head to the sky and imagining that your are really flying. And all the while, being held in the comfort of the swing and secured by the ropes. That’s what it’s like – purpose wrapped around hope.
Sometimes Micah and I will get to the end of a long day. The kids are in bed and we plop down on the couch, exhausted and just stare at the ceiling. And, I’ll tell him – “I just need some time to process this day.” I feel like an overloaded computer, doing my best to keep up but I’ve just frozen. Micah laughs, because that’s not the way his processor works. I joke, that he has a faster processor than me. He can file things to their proper places a lot quicker than me.
But however you sort through the meaning of your days, it’s important that you don’t push “meaning” away and it is even more important that you are looking at your life through the proper lens.
So how do we process purpose practically? Get ready, because this is my soap box: READ YOUR BIBLE and PRAY EVERYDAY. God’s word is LIFE. It isn’t just another book to read for perspective. It is living and relative to every aspect of your life.
You will never be able to interpret your life clearly or hold on to purpose if you aren’t spending time in His word and praying that it will be worked out in you. This is a treasure. It is THE treasure.
SO – getting back to purpose. There is a question I started asking the Lord a couple of years ago and it was inspired by John 17, when Jesus is praying over His disciples. Jesus says, “I have lost none of those you gave me.” I started asking the Lord, “Who have you given me?”
I do not mean to say that there are people of whom I have been made solely responsible for their walk with God. We each must take responsibility for our own salvation.
BUT – on this journey- we do have those with whom God has given us to walk closely.
We each have a realm of influence. I began to examine my life and think about the people who I know God has given me. There were faces that immediately became clear. There were hearts that I knew I was tied to in a godly way. And, as new people have come and gone in our lives, a prayer that Micah and I often pray, is to inquire who we are meant to journey with in an intimate way.
Who has God given you? Take some time to pray and ask Him that question. We were meant for deep and honest fellowship. There are so many connections available these days that are surface level and numbing to the pursuit of purpose.
Maybe you have opened your heart and been hurt one too many times by those you thought were friends. Let me encourage you. Take those hurts to God and not to anyone else. Let Him heal your heart and hide it in Him so that you can reach out again with no fear of betrayal or rejection.
The purpose in an intimate fellowship of believers to walk with is this:
Hebrews 10:23-24 “Let us hold resolutely to the hope we confess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds.”
I am not setting out to offer the ultimate answer to one of the quintessential questions of life. I am – once again – simply offering some perspective.
The pursuit and processing of purpose is part of the adventure. And these are two things that have helped me along the way:
What makes my heart come to life? Because my heart now belongs to Him, I can be sure He placed that passion for a purpose.
Who has He given me? To walk and talk with? To worship and war with? To discover and dream with? My husband and children are at the top of that list. There aren’t a huge number of names and some names come and go with the seasons of life.
As I rose in the quiet morning hours and all of the house was silent, I made my way to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee. Purpose was already calling and I knew I was headed to the computer to see if I could capture something worthwhile.
I have a few favorite mugs, but this one particular mug stood out to me. I don’t know if I have ever even used it before today. It’s a BIG mug and I am notorious for not being capable of finishing a cup without needing to reheat it once or twice….life often pulls me away from my precious potion.
But purpose prodded me towards that mug. I have seen it many times with the words “Let Go, Let God.” It has set in my cabinet for years. So when I sat down at the computer and stared at the page then glanced over at my mug to see these words, I really had a good laugh. There, on the opposite side of the mug, never beheld by my eyes is the inscription: Love Powerfully, Live PURPOSEFULLY, and Leave the rest to God. What more needs to be said?
One more thing. That “leaving the rest to God” bit? That is where the haunting of purpose is put to rest. Think again of the child in the swing, with not a care in the world. Hold on to hope, Love from a heart that is protected and hidden in Him, Live purposefully by pursuing the passions He has placed in you, and Leave the rest to Him. Let your heart lift with passion and possibility, anchored to eternity. When the force of life pulls you back to this earth, hold on. You will rise again. God is faithful, and purpose is a process.