Hey friends! I have been doing lots of thinking about what it means to live out my “purpose.” I can recall many years ago that I was told to read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and I literally thought that this was the key to learning why I was placed here on earth. I grappled with the idea that a book could tell me what meaning I was to make of my life and how to feel purposeful. I mean the thought of someone I do not know and that does not know me helping me to find my purpose was unsettling and seemingly odd. Funny thing was, I learned that this actually wasn’t the purpose of the book. Ha!
I took the time to revisit what the dictionary definition of purpose is; “something set up as an object or end to be attained.” I then decided to get a little fancy with this discovery and searched for synonyms. I came across words like “intention, design, aim, end, and goal.” When I arrived at the word “goal” there was further elaboration, which stated, “Something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship.” This articulation resonated with me most and while synonymous, sounded different than the definition of purpose. I stopped to wonder why and here is what I came up with.
There are days that I wake up with a full plan for my day and often times a plan for the next seven to fifteen days. Each page of my planner and week in my Outlook calendar has the most well thought-out calendar blocks that are color-coded and tells me exactly how I am allocating my time. However, even when taking these calculated approaches, I have come to realize that the only purpose I have in life is to live it and what I do and accomplish along the way is in fact be living out my purpose. Purpose is not an end-goal. I do not believe that 40 years from now I will be able to check a box and say, “Purpose fulfilled!” I also do not know that I will be able to live each day in pursuit of a tangible end game. I believe that my purpose is being fulfilled on my least productive days as much as it is being fulfilled on my most productive days. I believe that my purpose ends when my life ends and that if I spend each day chasing it I am actually missing out on living. The concept of “prolonged” activity affirms for me that purpose is a process that takes time and we should never feel bad because we are unclear about the elusive stages of this process.
Given these reflections, I have had to make a commitment to myself to live each day as best as I know how and what I achieve along the way is walking in my purpose. No longer will I allow myself to think less of my contributions to the world rather I will work in pursuit of fulfillment, joy, and completion