First I want to share with you how I came up with this topic. When I figured out that I had two talks to give in a row here, I came up with one immediate topic, but that’s the one for next week. The talk today came about because I was stumped. And when I’m stumped, I go to the bowl where I keep my angel cards, I take a deep breath, reach in & choose a card. When the card read “purpose,” I thought aha! Perfect! Then came the time to write the talk & I was stumped once again. I couldn’t say for certain I’ve lived my life “on purpose” for about ¾ of it. But here I am & here we are, so here we go…
Let me ask the $64,000 question first: just what is your purpose for being alive on this planet today? Do you have an idea? Any ideas? If you had to finish the sentence: “The purpose of MY life is…” what would your next words be? It’s an easy question with a difficult answer.
The next source I checked for help was the dictionary. Purpose is both a noun & a verb. This doesn’t amaze me, my NAME is also a noun & a verb, after all.
“the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. (As in the purpose of a hammer is to nail.)
The verb Purpose tells me:
“To have as one’s intention or objective.”
(As in “I purpose to tell you about this word this morning.”) Boy, that sounds awkward, doesn’t it? I think we use this word as a noun because of that. But what if you turned it into a verb? What would you purpose to do with the rest of your day? Take it out a little farther: what would you purpose to do with your very life?
Let’s look at what this means to you. When you woke this morning, what was your first purpose? I mean after the usual routine of putting yourself together to enjoy the day. I’m glad you purposed to come to Unity of Rehoboth Beach! But what else?
We all need an “overall purpose” for living. Hopefully, we get to take that beyond making enough money to care for our basic needs. Hopefully we can extend our purpose to include God. And since we all have that God-spark within us, it will become important at one moment to search for that spark, interview (inner-view) its PURPOSE and express that outwardly with & in our lives.
Living “on purpose” isn’t easy. It means not being reactive to a lot of what is going on out there and in here. It means not deceiving yourself about your motives & this kind of honesty might be like taking an emery board to file you’re your conscience.
Having a purpose would seem to make it a lot easier to live. We have probably all been rootless at times in life, sitting on our hands, driven neither to improvement OR failure in the same moment! At these times I say to myself, “I really want to do this, but I don’t feel like doing anything.” There was a time when, if the question came up of what to do when I didn’t feel like doing, I just turned on the TV to avoid it. Things got strange for me when my ex took the TV we had & I figured that was the last thing I wanted to spend money on. I will say that was when I started really paying attention to my life. Up until then I hadn’t realized how much the programs were programming ME.
I’ve sat more than once & asked God to take these hands & put them in service, Without sounding holier-than-thou, what worked for me was to ask how I could best serve God. I figured it was safe to do that. Who’d know better what I was to do with them?
When we make a conscious decision to serve, Life can go many ways. We serve ourselves with lively consumerism, filling in time with various pursuits and hobbies. We serve our families and friends with good cheer in very many ways, directly with support and advice, or indirectly through just being in their energy field. If you’re like me, you have many people you’ve touched or who have touched you with whom you no longer are in touch. But the experience of sharing time & laughter has not been forgotten. It can rise in the mind like a smell of the beach thru an open window, evocative and holy. We experience again the richness of those moments with friends & family.
Whether you ask or not, God gives us a purpose. God gives us the curiosity to go looking for it. God also gives us the will, heart and mind to discover it, pursue it, make a success of it, reveal it to the many, practice it, and exist in joy while accomplishing it. When we listen to our soul (which is that God-spark I mentioned earlier), we can find out how to accomplish all of the above with grace. Rick Warren, in The Purpose-Driven Life, reminds us that “Even if your parents didn’t plan on you, God did.”
My former minister, Cherie, at First Church Unity in Nashville opened many a talk with this quote from Jeremiah:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.”
I really like that verse: I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. While I was sometimes lost, this implied a meta-knowingness; God knew my name before I got here. It implies I was spoken into being, like the logos of the world, the light, the planets, the creatures and all the materials of this universe. I presume the same knowingness back, except for me, it’s in the possessive tense: I use the name of God to cover a lot of situations. So what does God want of me? And which me? The massage therapist, the mother, the friend? In Isaiah 44:2, we find more or less the same phrasing: “I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.”
I think God wants me to live in divinity. I think God wants me to live out divinity. I think God wants me to express that beautiful sparkle of my soul for all to see. God has spent time tuning me in, like a radio dial by directing me from a job to a career to a calling. My purpose for living changed with each relationship, each job, each growth opportunity, if I lingered long enough in the moment to recognize it.
Living in divinity is not hard work, it’s heart work. If time is the illusion Einstein & some others say it is, then I’m living in a no-time scenario and it’s taking me one long time to live it out!
Step aside from time for a moment. Step into that place where time ceases to exist. If you do it right, you’ll find you’re standing in your heart-space. What’s in there? When I studied Chinese medicine, I learned the heart is the place of long-term memory storage. Once in a guided meditation, I was asked to take a walk to my heart. When I arrived, I was looking at a small building with a Dutch door. Only the top half was open. When I peered in, there was a window facing east overlooking the ocean. And there was a cardboard cutout of my mother sitting in a rocker. In my life, she never sat in a rocking chair. It was in that moment I understood how much work I needed to do to heal my relationships. And since Mom was passed, the only way I could do that was to go into my heart to find her, bring her back into life, forgive her, and, most significantly, ask her to forgive me. It always works both ways.
How will you discover your purpose? In an inspired moment, I once wrote, “My ship may not have come in, but there’s a whole lotta rowboats bobbing at the pier.”
How many chances for change have you been offered in your life? What have you accomplished with them? What will you accomplish with the next offering? This is a good time to think about being on purpose, when so much of the world seems to be random, haphazard and frenetic as it unfolds. Again, I urge you to take some moments to look into your heart. What is it telling you to do?
You may have to dial down some other organs to hear it – like a hungry stomach, or a restless brain wanting to check for new text message…I’m here to tell you it will be worth it.
Discovering your purpose serves all you do. Trusting the power you find in following that uplevels your life enormously. That “do what you love, the money will follow” really works. What is it you love? What gives you energy instead of taking it?
Start where you are. Really, where else is there? There’s always going to be something speaking up in a whine that simply translates down to you can’t get there from here. Yes, you can. You can’t fail if you’re moving forward. You can get lost in discovering what you want most to find, and live there happily ever after. Real life is where the learning is. When you infuse your life with what you believe to be God’s purpose for you, you’ve blended all the right ingredients for satisfaction.
Tama Kieves, author of This Time I Dance and Inspired And Unstoppable says: “We are not ridiculous or fragile for believing in love, strength and exhilarating possibilities. It’s not crazy to dedicate ourselves to a life that feels true, empowering, and exciting. It’s just plain crazy not to.”
Look deep within for your purpose. Search out the places where it might be hiding. Maybe leave some food near where it lives to coax it into the light. Ask for God’s help. Ask for God’s plan to be made plain to you. And then stay open to the thought that this is just how easy it can be accomplished. Sometimes the tried and true holds nothing new. What you need is that which lights the God-spark up and makes you glow with anticipation, what moves you from the inside, even in a small way because, think about it, just one match can light the fireworks display.
When you ask the questions, life will give you the answers. I want to leave now you with a poem by Mark Nepo called “The Appointment”
What if, on the first sunny day, / On your way to work, a colorful bird / Sweeps in front of you down a / Street you’ve never heard of.
You might pause and smile, / A sweet beginning to your day.
Or you might step into that street / And realize there are many ways to work.
You might sense the bird knows some / Thing you don’t and wander after.
You might hesitate when the bird turns down an alley. / For now there is a tension: is what the bird knows worth being late?
You might go another block or two / thinking you can have it both ways. / But soon you arrive at the edge/ of all your plans.
The bird circles back for you / and you must decide which / appointment you were / born to keep.