I want to share a few ways I have lived life on purpose over the years as well as what I want to do this year. However, you need to know I am far from where I want to be in this area. I'm will be God's Project as long as breath remains.
Two areas where I have tried to live a purposeful life are creating a peaceful home atmosphere and living a life filled with great books and the lifelong quest of learning.
I can't tell you how many times I walk in the entry way of my rather small house in the country and get a smile on my face. My desire is to create a place in this world that is truly a sanctuary for us and I've spent a lot of time and given attention to doing so. Because this brings me great joy, I have never considered it work. (Although the process of keeping it all clean and clutter free involves work.)
I have written about the scrapbook journal. It contains pictures of rooms, buildings, and gardens from favorite magazines. It differs from keeping decorating articles in files because it also has pictures of scenery, tea parties, people, animals, etc. that create an atmosphere I find relaxing or inspiring.
It also has some favorite quotes and various scrapbooking stickers. This scrapbook very much keeps me pondering what I want my life to look like and to feel like. I enjoy looking through it to take away stress or just to peruse images of what I view as Beauty.
Added: My scrapbook journal now contains small amounts of written journaling as well as pictures and such... as well as my garden journal each year.
I also keep a list of certain items for the house that will give me the look and feel I want. An idea learned from one of my favorite books... Frugal Luxuries. My list is small these days so it doesn't have to be written. I can run into Goodwill or a garage sale and quickly scan what is available to see if there is a something I need... or an inexpensive Godly desire.
Of course, I also look for... books. Books are a passion of mine and I have always had a lot of them. However, when we started homeschooling Christopher, I seriously started building a home library. I cannot afford to pay full price for books very often so I must look for them second hand. I depend on library sales, garage sales, Goodwill, thrift shops, Amazon third party used books, etc.
I started researching good books for homeschoolers first so I knew what to look for when scanning book tables. Then I began building a more personal library by reading "books about books" and later by searching the Internet to find more information and reviews by people I could trust.
By spending a little time in some fun research, I save a lot of money by being able to quickly scan book tables for titles and/or authors. (Believe me, we bibliophiles are basically nice people but it can get pretty competitive on the Friend's Night at the library sales, hehehe.) My husband knows our annual $10.00 fee to the Friends of the Library reaps benefits far above that amount.
In our major life decisions, my husband and I put a lot of thought (and more prayer) into how we want our children to be raised, what values are to be encouraged, their walk with God, etc. I thank God often for the way they have turned out. I like them as well as love them.
Leaving the corporate world behind for me was all about that goal. I enjoyed my work and I was quite good at what I did. However, it wasn't leading me to the kind of family life I desired and I knew what had to go...work. That's not the case for every family but it was for ours and as I look back, I can see many reasons why it was better to "come home" at that time.
We lived life on purpose by choosing to carefully monitor the TV programs watched. This has become much more difficult lately with little children in the home, so people I respect now have no media other than Netflix or DVDs.
When our kids were very young, we were careful about the type of books read, TV shows watched, etc. We knew their friends when possible and chose carefully their out-of-the-home activities, etc. No, we were not "helicopter parents" as we gave our kids freedom within boundaries. Although I suspect by default some would put homeschooling... as we did with Christopher... in the whole helicopter genre but I wouldn't.
As they grew older, we prayed for wisdom often... when to keep them close as well as when to give them wings. For both our children, my husband and I wanted their increased freedom to come when they were living in our house.
Because of less than perfect circumstances in our home, we also have had to make an effort to live a joyful life in the midst of adverse circumstances. I plan to write more about that part of living life on purpose soon.
It is not all that bad as we have to be very Christ centered...that is always a good thing.
Living life on purpose takes thought but I have found it enjoyable. I learned basic cooking and baking skills which made spending time in the kitchen very enjoyable, I wrote and taught Bible studies, became proficient on the computer, and worked in politics for Christian politicians and issues. Not all at once but in their own season of the journey.
I will continue to write out what specific things I need to do to and choose one or two to work on for awhile. I want to look back someday with the least amount of regrets possible, having at least made an attempt to live the life He intended me to live.
It is far better to fail while attempting to live life on purpose than never try at all.
Photo: The Warmth of Autumn by Susan Rios; allposters.com