Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: Purpose In Each Detail of Life

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Well, another year is coming to an end. As I reminisce over the past 12 months, I think about the ways in which my word for 2017 (PURPOSE) has helped me look at my life from a new perspective.
So much of my circumstances have been beyond my control, yet I found myself being emotionally controlled by them. 
I have learned a lot about other people and have tried to understand why they may do what they do or say what they say. I have learned to stand strong when I have had to make an extremely difficult decision, not being influenced by unwarranted guilt,  sympathy, or a desire for a closer relationship, but to do what is best for me.
I have learned that, as I look into the past and the future, both have a purpose and hopefully each continues to shape and grow me in a more positive way. Life definitely isn't all peaches and cream. Much of the time, I don't even understand why things happen the way they do. But, because God is in control, I must just do the best I can and leave the rest to Him.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou

A few things I have learned about purpose and God's purpose for me...


When facing mid-life issues, it’s time to ask, “What is God doing in my life? What gives us meaning and satisfaction? From whence do we derive our purpose for living?" The challenge of locating new sources of fulfillment and joy when jobs, careers and our children no longer dictate how our time is spent and give shape to our identity. Our early and middle adult years do not adequately prepare us for the new role of being an older adult. Shifting out of the role we are groomed for and into the unfamiliar role of retiree and then elderly person may make us question our purpose.


In the past we were younger and, in some ways, more vibrant. We had more energy and required less sleep. We didn't worry about what we were eating or how we felt. But now our bodies are talking back and forcing us to be concerned about our health.


We may ask ourselves, what is the meaning of all the seemingly irrelevant details in the cosmic (much larger) scheme of things? Suddenly, we begin to question what we have been doing all this time. We cannot find purpose in the mundane routine of life anymore because we’ve gotten a taste of what is beyond it. We may have deeply held concerns about the worth and value of our life and whether we did all that we might have with the life now slipping away.

It seems that we can all find ourselves on something of that merry-go-round in life. Same thing day after day, after day punctuated by the odd happy event and the odd crisis. Whatever that may look like in the life that we’re living, we may be asking ourselves, ‘What’s it all for? Why am I doing this? What’s the point of it all? Sometimes we don't feel purposeful because  we don't feel we're living our calling because our calling comes so easy to us that it doesn't feel noteworthy.

Yet the simple little ways we go about life, blessing others, helping others, pleasing God, getting errands done, doing chores, and using our skills, are all part of fulfilling our life purpose

Real purpose—the kind that enables a parent to persevere through different stages of parenting—is birthed in everyday decisions. In those quiet moments where the choice to persevere overrides the desire to run. 

With each difficult encounter, we have a choice: to seek out the the easy, safe, self-protecting path wrought with temporary pleasures, or to stand firm in faith and character, regardless of what God allows to come our way. 

Our role is not to question the when, where, and how(we will never find a definite answer anyway) and to start living in—making the most of—the now (Ephesians 5:16). In other words, God has a purpose in every encounter and every stage of our journey, whether we’re standing in line at the grocery or folding towels at home. His purpose, and our calling, is quite simple: to know Him and make Him known. Only Christ can satisfy us to our core, can bring purpose out of even the most frustrating situations, and can lift us from our petty lives to freedom and adventure.    

Everyday life presents opportunities for our growth in holiness. God can use the ordinary moments in our life to glorify Himself by conforming us into the image of his Son. 

As I attempt to joyfully and humbly give my time and energy to cook dinner for my husband or help my mom with dementia accomplish a task, I lose nothing and gain everything. Living in the reality of this gospel and the future promise of glory motivates me to love others as Jesus loves. I have received mercy in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 2:10). I must be confident that what he promises for me in the future will come to pass. That’s faith.

To seize life is not an easy task but it is probably one of the most important ones I can do for myself! To seize life requires focus, preservation, determination, and inspiration. But most importantly, it requires being still long enough — in this busy world — to hear God’s voice. It requires dropping what I have been doing and following a nudge in my heart! Also, it may require not listening to what other’s have to say about what I should be doing with my life. He will seize life — my life — and guide it but I have to be willing to listen, drop life, and follow. 

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

God made everything with a place and purpose;
    even the wicked are included—but for judgment.

Proverbs 16:4

This vision-message is a witness

    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
Habakkuk 2:3

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I'm praying your year has been a blessing and a deep learning experience, as well...

As I anticipate another year ahead of me, I am thinking about a new word to embrace. Watch for my first post of 2018 to see what that word will be!


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