This morning a friend quoted Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Although Twain was no friend to the Christian faith, his words are wise and to be contemplated.
We often ask small children what they want to be when they grow up, but seldom do we explore with them the deeper meaning and importance of purpose. And I wonder how this question would stop, or divert, conversation in a small group: “What have you decided is your purpose in life?”!
A respected mental health group adds these thoughts: Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life—the reasons you get up in the morning. Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning.
Tomorrow (March 8) we celebrate International Women’s Day and as I’ve spent time doing a cursory search of women—religious and secular—who have made their mark on the world, one common thread surfaces. They were all women of purpose. What do you know about these women: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Kate Bushnell, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Shi Meiju (English name Mary Stone)? Some names are more familiar than others, but all had something burning inside that drove them to purposeful action. (Take time to look them up on the internet.)
We’re all familiar with the line, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” but I’m afraid we Christians have sometimes latched on to those words as a reason (excuse?) for not searching for another—or additional—purpose that God is waiting to burn into our souls. While we know Susannah Wesley as the mother of 19 children (records disagree but it seems only ten or eleven survived infancy or childhood), do we know that she wrote extended commentaries on the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments? The Jewish and Christian worlds celebrate the life of heroic Esther and I’ve been haunted through the years by the question asked of her, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” A purpose that rescued a people.
I’m not encouraging every woman to look for some “larger” purpose, to move from the daily life as mother, teacher, corporate leader, but to spend time in thoughtful, discerning prayer, asking God to affirm—or maybe disclose?—his purpose for your life. You may discover that the nursery, the classroom, the business world is exactly where he wants you. But you may also make a discovery that will surprise you and perhaps be the beginning of something you never dared believe.
(I apologize for my long absence from this site, but a combination of computer issues and “life” have kept me away. Maybe this is a new start??)