Discovery is exciting! Columbus, Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur. But move over guys, I’m going to talk about how to rediscover purpose in life. That’s even more exciting because it can happen anytime!
I think it was Andy Stanley who said something like, “Everyone goes somewhere in life. Few go there on purpose.” It’s true. Most of us go with the flow, take it as it comes, ride the wave… you know the clichés.
It’s just easier to fasten your seat belt and be knocked around by life, than to stare it in the face and say, “You belong to me! Now let me lead, you follow or get out of the way!”
Your purpose in life
A shout out to all you Presbyterians out there. Your Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us, “A man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” I’m OK with that, but I’ve found that getting to that end means taking steps that lead there. Here are five steps to rediscovering your life’s purpose…
Rediscover who you are
My first English high school teacher handed out these little blue books and had us write the words, “Who am I?” She set aside time at the end of every class and told us to open it and just write.
I had recently become a Christian and this was the door that I used to enter a new life. I studied the Bible, reflected on its words and I wrote. A lot. That introspection – so rare these days in our Xbox 360 culture – forced me to think about the person I was becoming in Christ.
Thank you, Mrs. Wright.
Rediscover what you love
When I meet someone for the first time, I ask the typical questions (where do you live?, what do you do for work?…). But the second time I try to go deeper with the question, “What’s your passion?”
If they look at me funny I follow up with, “What do you love to do when you’re not doing what you have to do?” They usually get it and start talking. If no one asks you that question, make sure you ask yourself every once in a while. Your answers will keep you grounded and help you to live your life passionately.
Circumstances: Where you are
Have you ever seen a bug in a bath tub? It writhes, flails and eventually dies. Before its fateful fall into water, it lived a bug’s life – crawling around your bathroom floor, inside cracks, along baseboards and up walls.
But that all ended with one decision.
We humans are better than that… sometimes. Other times we are bug-like, unprepared for the life-altering or life-ending circumstance. Knowing where you are in life and what you are facing is key to moving forward.
Maybe it’s time to say the serenity prayer again, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Just substitute the word, “circumstances” for the word, “things.”
People: Who you know
In the world of work, they say, “It’s who you know.” They mean that if you know people who are well connected they might connect you. In life it really is who you know. Despite the avalanche of technology that now “connects” us, the best technology is the human connection (I stole that phrase from a friend of mind and tweet it out endlessly).
Take stock of the people in your life and treat them the way you would if you were cleaning out your cupboards. Remove the outdated, possibly toxic products, keep those that are fresh and go shopping for what you need but don’t have.
Plan: What you will do
Talk really is cheap. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s observation, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.”
When’s the last time you started a sentence with the words, “I really ought to….” or “I’ve been meaning to…?” When one of those good intentions becomes a plan and that plan is executed – BAM! Life happens and you’re the reason why.
“MoviPrep” is a product used to prepare your body for a colonoscopy. I have a problem with the name. They make you think they’re preparing you for a night out on the town. But you’re not going anywhere. You’re staying home.
Motivation in life doesn’t have to be that unpleasant. And you shouldn’t have to stay home. Look, it’s your life. You might have all you can do to get out of bed in the morning and get through the day. Life will let you do that, day after day, until there are no more days.
So Carpe Diem!