Saturday, January 06, 2007

Living life on purpose...choices

Living our lives on purpose is all about a couple of important matters, the first being the choices we make. The second depends if you are a person of faith or fate...people of faith find their God given direction, people of fate must at least spend enough time thinking through their lives that they find their God given passion...even if they do not believe God gave it.

When I was working in human resources and organization development, there was a saying I'd see quite often. It stated, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity". That's where the truth of living life on purpose is found!

We make a thousand decisions each day of our lives....what we are going to eat, how much sleep we get, how little we exercise (okay, how little I exercise), where we will spend our money, what we allow ourselves to read or watch in the media, music we listen to, whose advise we listen to, how we spend time with our children and mates and friends, if we are continuing to learn throughout our life, etc. The list of choices are probably endless if you think about it.

I love what Edith Schaeffer says about spending time and money. She says in many of her books that for every choice we make in spending our time or money, there is an infinite amount of choices not being made for the same. It's rather deep to ponder at times but she is correct. Obviously we most often recognize bad choices. However sometimes there is not much of a difference between the good choices and the better choices we could make.

Here is an example of a person who is living life on purpose. This is perfection, I do not live in perfection but here is what a perfect person of faith would do. They have spent time in the Word and prayer, at least making an attempt to see the direction God would have them go in the near future as well as possible long term goals. They spend time with their mate (if married) discussing the kind of life they would like to lead. If not married, they seek the counsel of good friends, a pastor, Mom, Dad, siblings, etc.

They think through and research what skills they would need to do the best possible job to which they have been called. Whether the job is teacher, doctor, homemaker, pastor, etc., any job we do has skills that take a lifetime of learning. They ask the Lord to lead them to the people who would help them become better at their chosen profession (not necessarily professionals in that area but people highly skilled). If they have been in their chosen "profession" for years, they are continuing to think through areas where they can improve their current skills or learn new ones. They think through if there are things they are doing now that must be dropped or added to have time to do something more in line with the path they want their life to take.

They think through if the choices they are now making are leading them to living that life...or away from the life...they want to live. Should they change the media they watch? Should they adjust their reading? Should they attend a church or Bible Study or get more (or less) involved where they are currently attending? Should they start working, stop working outside the home, find a new job, change career paths, move to a new neighborhood or city, move to the country, move from the country into town, homeschool, stop homeschooling, change the direction of their own schooling, eat more fiber, eat less fiber...just a little humor there because the list really is almost infinite. Okay, very little humor. :)

A person I've already written about who definitely lived her life on purpose is Tasha Tudor. I mention her again only because her decision is so obvious. She does not care much for the twentieth century (much less the twenty-first century) so she made the choice to live without many modern day options. As a whole, the Amish are an extreme example of people who live their lives on purpose. Living life on purpose always means going against the natural flow of society. If you do not make any life choices, you will end up going with the flow of today's world.

I was again thinking of how I can better communicate the idea of living life on purpose. I don't want to even give the appearance of making short term, medium, and long term life goals as one would do for a corporation or the government (I assume it is done in the government...). Then the thought came to my mind about planning our trip to New England, nearly two years ago. I had been quite ill and in intensive care but recovered (thank God!). So my daughter and the worlds-best-son-in-law paid for our family to visit them in New England.

The planning for a simple visit was time consuming, there were flight arrangements to make (what city we were flying out of...what airport they were flying us into); rental car arrangements; cash to send us for the trip; thought given to where we would visit while in New England; arrangements made so my daughter would be singing at their church for Mother's Day so I could hear my favorite singer; a house to completely redo and paint before we arrived (no kidding, my daughter does these huge projects with each pregnancy...sheesh); arrangements made with our neighbors to take in our mail and newspaper, feed the cats, etc.

Our general destination was the East Coast but it took multiple daily decisions to get us to the specific destination and to fully enjoy our visit. While there, there was not the time to do everything possible so we prioritized (including my daughter and I spending the morning at a famous flea market going on in another town, going to a local tea room with my granddaughter, my husband and son visiting a famous museum, visiting favorite restaurants, being part of Mother's Day festivities, seeing historical sites with my grandson and granddaughter, etc). As much as we planned specifics, there was refining of choices made along the way.

That's the way life is when it is lived on purpose. We think about where we are going, what we are here for (because all of us have a God given purpose in our life), how we want to live our life that pleases God and fulfills His plan for us, what our life will look like when we reach the day we will go to live with Him and look back...did we drift or were we on the chosen road. It may look rocky, there may be mountains and valleys, we may have been under water for awhile, there were times we were running out of breath and other times we were beside the still waters having a lovely picnic...but we were going in the right direction.

There is a lot in our life that is out of our control. We would never choose to be hit with illness, financial reverses, prodigal children, broken relationships, difficult marriages, job losses, loneliness, etc. We live in a fallen world so they are all the realities of life. However, the more we are living life on purpose and keeping close to the Creator of that life, the better chance we have of looking back at the end of our life and smiling. Hearing what we so long to hear, "Well done good and faithful servant".

Painting: Victorian Painting (no given artist);


alisa in CT said...

WOW Brenda, I have been reading your blog for quite a while now, and I really enjoy it. But hit me on the head. I turned 40 in Dec and I had been throwing things around in my head-and living a life on purpose is exactly what I was trying to make sense of. I really was convicted by your writing today. Thank you so much!!!

Brenda said...

Turning 40 can be very interesting. Isn't it amazing how much older it sounds than 39?

Thank you for your kind words. These ponderings have been going through my mind, I guess because it is a new year.

Linda said...

Well said. We live with so many choices before us; it's a challenge to choose prayerfully.

May we all strive to live purposefully--for God's glory.

Enjoying your blog!

Stephanie said...

C'mon, doesn't everyone paint their basement stairs when they're six months pregnant for their fourth child??? Tomorrow I'm staining a bookcase... :)

La Tea Dah said...

Lovely post --- one I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing from your heart, Brenda.

Susan P. said...

Excellent post, Brenda. This really spoke to my heart. Thank you.

Daughter of the King said...

I know this is an older post Brenda but need more direction at the moment and encouragement, I am browsing your blog...
thank you for your insight, which I believe is from the Lord.