When I think of purpose, as I am sure is the case with many others, I think of accomplishments. As in, I am supposed to accomplish a particular goal in my life and live in that “purpose” joyfully and intentionally throughout my life. I looked it up, and “purpose” is: “the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.” It appears that I was on track with my initial line of thinking. So, what exactly does this look like in the Christian life?
Does living purposefully for Christ mean martyrdom? What about the likes of George Whitfield, or Billy Graham? Does it mean one has to be an evangelist? Does it mean being involved in something bigger than yourself, like William Wilberforce (abolitionist), or James Dobson (Focus on the Family)? How about artists like Steve Green and Rich Mullins whose lyrics and impact still resound in the culture?
What exactly does living a life with purpose mean?
Do I need to find an artistic outlet? If so, I’m out of luck. I have no “talent,” unless of course they are handing out awards for consistently admonishing my children to “Wake up!” “Clean-up!” “Eat it or Starve;” or for being an “Uber Mom” and/or “Doing School in Your Jammies.” Let the record show that I would not even be nominated for any of these which brought me to the place of questioning my purpose in the first place. It could be my midlife crisis or menopause or both. I will need to have a long talk with Jesus when I arrive, how could he schedule my children coming into puberty at the same time I am getting rid of my hormones? Seriously Lord!! If that hasn’t tested my character I don’t know what will; another blog for another day! I’m not very good at what I “have” to do, let alone actually finding a purpose.
In the course of my grassroots activities, I’ve had the opportunity of sharing my personal testimony in intimate settings on a few occasions; and I’ve been told that I should share it more often. I am so uncomfortable with that idea that I (literally) get nauseated thinking about it. I much more prefer the intimacy of connecting with another human one-on-one, than connecting with a podium. I am so keenly aware of what God saved me from and what He brought me to, that I don’t want to continuously relive it – let alone do so in public. I have come to conclude that I am doing exactly what God wants and needs me to do at this very moment, at home…in The Shire, knowing that at any given moment Gandalf the Grey may make an appearance and tell me that I must go on an adventure.
Return to mediocre
Speaking of the Shire, in our home the children sometimes call me Mrs. Bilbo. If you’ve ever read The Hobbit, you will know that Bilbo Baggins was (short and) happy with his “mediocre life.” He was not interested in any adventures; and even when he reluctantly went on his adventure, he was eager to return to The Shire to his mediocre life. I can relate. I, like Bilbo, love my so-called mediocre life, but there are days that the accomplishments of others get to me. Not in the sense of I want to do what they are doing, rather in the “I wonder if I should be doing something more important with my life.” Define important, say the voices in my head… The Lord always has a way of quieting those voices and reminding me that I am being used right where I am.
Recently we were given the opportunity to serve grandma, who came to stay with us in the aftermath of hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico. When it was time for her to return home, I not only cried, I “ugly-cried.” I was so thankful for our time together. Our family was at the right place, at the right time. We were humbled, He was glorified, as it should be.
As I think back, some really great adventures have taken place in our home – we’ve experienced several foreign cultures by hosting exchange students from around the world; we’ve helped other family and friends transition through periods of their lives; we have had friends vacation to the Nation’s Capital and stay with us. Great conversations into the early morning hours were had, and we’ve cried and laughed at life with friends, all from the comfort of our couch.
So, the bigger question becomes, are we leaving ourselves available for the adventure He wants to take us on? His purpose in our lives looks uniquely different in each of us, and we may not need to go far to find it…we may not even have to leave our living room.
Whatever we purpose ourselves to do, even (or especially) the so-called mediocre and boring, if not done to bring Glory to God, then it’s all in vain. Which may very well mean that throngs of people will not know your name; nor will people clamor to take selfies with you when you’re in public. But those acts of recognition are meaningless compared to the recognition you can have when you stand before The Throne and Christ the King recognizes you as His own.
Remember, it’s not about YOU, it’s about HIM! And…not all adventure requires a passport.