Living life on purpose

Recently I read this quote and it brightened my day.  “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

Have you ever been thinking of nothing in particular and are suddenly pinged with the thought “What am I doing here?” Of course not! Sometimes I think I must be the only person who wonders how they got from back there, to right here.  One of my friends was recently lamenting the residual cost of education; residual being a euphemistic term for student loans that seem to reach on into infinity.

Funny how that conversation came up at the same time that I was wondering how my life would have been different had I actually gone to college and could see the evidence in a framed certificate of achievement on my wall. Instead I have variegated years of experiential education with splashes of classroom learning tossed in.  Would my life have turned out differently had I chosen the academic path? Probably.  Would it have turned out better? I don’t think so. Here’s why.  Wherever I go, there I am.  Right? I would still be me, with the same good parts and bad parts. If I had chosen college I would have been paying off student loans in 1973 instead of paying for our first house.  But all that is so yesterday. It’s the great what-if; the mystery of the past. You know what we can do with the past?  Learn from it.  Move on. It’s over.

Getting back to what we can do something about though is today – because today is what matters.  Tomorrow is the accumulation of all the todays, so the key is {ta-da} being where we are today, fully engaged, so our tomorrow becomes what we want it to be. There is no silver bullet, no pixie dust, no magic wand, no crystal ball.  There is this.  Way back in Exodus people wondered about their purpose.  Look what it says in Exodus 9:16 “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Thousands of years ago, God told his people he had a purpose for them and through his power they could live it out. There is truth there.  Notice civilization is still progressing.

Many of us struggle with finding our purpose. In fact, everyone at some point has asked the same question.  I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes and it took me awhile to realize one of my major characteristics is being a helper.  Regardless of how the professional world views it, I have come to appreciate that burning desire to come to the assist of someone who needs and accepts help. Some of us are eager to advance to the executive level of an organization. My passion is to be the elf who helps the shoemaker advance. Is there something wrong with that picture?  I don’t think so. I’m sure I could get almost enough credit toward a degree in ‘Certified Helper’.  Think about what this could mean based on 1 Corinthians 3:8 “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.” Someone has to plant and someone has to water.

We each have a purpose.  In fact we have more than one purpose.  I think we all have one common purpose though and that’s to encourage each other along this path of life. Ephesians 6:22 and Colossians 4:8 say just about the same thing … “ I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.”  See? I believe we are all here for different purposes, but one is common – that we encourage each other.  Where do we get the energy and the ability to carry out that encouragement?  Philippians 2:13 “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” And here’s the promise Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


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