Saturday, January 27, 2007

Having purpose: an overwhelming demand?

At our Living Room group yesterday I introduced the journey we would take, discovering what we're here for - or, our purpose. An interesting discussion ensued with much stuff to think about.

One person raised the concern that the book we'll read, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, would be putting too much pressure on us. It sounds to her like the book is going to tell us how to accomplish big and wonderful things. How can we who live with severe mood problems, possibly do that when it's hard enough just getting out of bed to look after our children? Maybe the book will end up making us feel worse about ourselves than we already do.

She has a valid point. Our challenge will be to read this book and get something out of it for the individuals we are at this point of our life. Does life's purpose have to be something grand for everyone? Doesn't the mother looking after her child in the best ways she is able, fulfill a purpose that is as valid as the missionary working in Africa with aids infected mothers and children? We each do what God made us capable of doing. God needs workers in every little corner of the world - in the home as well as in exotic places.

One conclusion we came up with was that one of the things that gives us most fulfillment is to give to others - whatever we can. In an e-discussion I had with my pastor, Don, he said

"While I think there are things we are gifted for and called to do, I try to live every day on purpose from the sense that wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I simply want to be in some way the presence of Jesus. That may mean being friendly in the restaurant when the waitress is having a bad day and is a bit snarly. Or it may mean holding the door open for a mother with a baby stroller, or helping someone put the 20 kilo bag of flour in their grocery cart. And then sometimes there are bigger things, too.

"I think our purpose is summarized in the Great Commandment - love God completely, love others compassionately, love ourselves correctly."

I think Pastor Don's last line pretty well sums it up.


jumpinginpuddles said...

great saying if only we could love ourselves as Jesus so does

marja said...

Jumpinginpuddles: Don't you think that if we can accept God's love for us and thank him for it, that we would end up loving ourselves as well? Don't know for sure, but that seems the way it should work.

Knowing that God loves us - fully fathoming that - means that we are lovable.

But I know - people have issues that need to be worked through. Things are not so simple.