Living My Purpose, On Purpose
Raise your hand if you feel like you have a strong handle on how to address all of the challenges we're facing right now? If you're like me, you're processing a lot of thoughts and feeling a lot of feelings about how we're moving ahead. All the while, taking notice of the way others are processing the decisions that have been made and those that are being made, as well. We're in a place where all of us, I repeat, all of us, are longing for genuine change and hope. Regardless of our varying takes on the "how" it seems to me that we are each fighting for something that matters to us (and probably others).
I woke up this morning feeling exhausted. It has become my regular experience over the past few months. Many personal realities and decisions have been weighing on me. I've been working with limited margin in my schedule since September and I have made choices that have led me here.
Looking at it all again recently, I took fresh responsibility for where I am at. No one made choices for me. I made them myself. I've found myself owning my story again more strongly these past few weeks because the truth is, it's mine to own. In the midst of the exhaustion, I feel deep peace about my "why" for each part of my life right now because my decisions are leading me somewhere. And, I think it's really good—though certainly not easy every day.
And perhaps this is where I'm heading as I write... Each of us is alive today and therefore, we have purpose in this moment. Your purpose is not my purpose. Thank God for that. Can you imagine all 7 billion of us running around the planet doing the same exact thing? What a disaster that would be... No, we are uniquely created. We have the privilege to offer ourselves to one another by living into our purpose. As we do, it's likely that others will join us in what we're doing and contribute their unique perspective and gifts to the work because, at some point, our purpose will align with the purpose of others. We're not meant to go it alone, you know?
What a beautiful picture. Not every problem is mine to solve. Not every need is mine to meet. Not every challenge is mine to face. There are so many of us at the table and all must contribute. But, in order to do it well, we have to own our purpose. We have to see what it is that brings us joy, what causes us pain, who we're drawn to and figure out why... In the midst of this seeing, I think we also need to note what it means to live into our purpose in a way that brings life instead of death.
- Are we loving well?
- Do we listen and choose to empathize with all people?
- What solutions are we bringing to bear?
It's really easy to point out what's wrong. It's really easy to point the finger of blame without taking a good, hard look in the mirror each day. It's really easy to stop loving because we stand strongly opposed to a person, an ideology or way forward. It's really easy to speak death instead of life.
I'm saying all of this to myself and perhaps to you, too. I keep coming back to it, actually. Am I any better than what I oppose if I do not live a life of love, hope, peace and joy? Am I any better than what I oppose if I only speak out against and don't take action on behalf of what I am for? Am I any better than what I oppose if I am unwilling to put myself in the shoes of those with whom I vehemently disagree when it comes to ideologies and actions, seeking to empathize and understand them as a human and their personal viewpoint?
There are sure, tried and true measures for understanding how I'm doing in this process. I can look at the fruit I'm bearing through my thoughts, feelings and actions (including my words). My calendar and my finances are also good measures of the fruit I'm bearing and what I find important and valuable in my life. The way people reflect back to me what they see and experience when they engage with me is another good measure.
At the end of the day, I am accountable for myself. If I don't think, feel, say and do the things I expect from others, I am part of the problem. It's hard to look at this, really. If I have uttered one word from a motive that isn't connected back to love today, I am part of the problem. And, I'm not living well into my purpose.
This might sound overly self-aware, but it is the truth. I can only measure how well I'm doing at being who I want to be and living into my purpose by comparing me to me. I don't get to compare myself to other people and think better of myself based on what they do versus what I do. I get to look at what is true of who I am, right here, right now. Every day I have work to do to be better and do better. It's on me, not you. You? You're responsible for you...
My life is meant to bring life. I pray I have the grace, wisdom and steadfastness to stay the course in the midst of trying times and challenging days. I want to be the best me I can be. Today, and every day, that looks like making intentional choices to employ all that I am and all that I have to live my purpose. In so doing, it is impossible that my life will not be a blessing to others. This, to me, is motivating and wonderful all wrapped into one...