As this year winds down, and we quickly embark on the next, I am often inspired to reflect on the flow of the year, and lessons I have learned along the way. I cannot say these thoughts are yet complete, but I feel a stirring to share them, nonetheless.
One such concept that tends to be a recurring theme, but has been especially highlighted for me in this year, has been the price of purpose.
If you allow me to be philosophical for a moment, what is purpose?
From the textbook definition, Oxford dictionary defines purpose as: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. Often times, in our pursuits of our God-given goals, dreams, and visions, we deeply desire to have our pursuits align with our purpose. It is not always easy to do, and oftentimes comes with ebbs and flows along the way.
Furthermore, within a societal sense, we often loosely throw around the word purpose, as if, if we can be honest, it doesn’t actually have much value or purpose. Sometimes, we can think purpose is boiled down to usefulness, but that concept of usefulness can change in different life seasons, circumstances, and challenges, and it can be easy to overlook and even embrace the deeper meaning and value purpose really holds, which also includes the very value of our life.
And it's not to say the definition of purpose does not encompass use, but purpose, when we think about it from a deep, human and divine sense, often embodies truly living a life that shows the full glory of who God destined us to be, not just the circumstances we find ourselves in in that moment, nor just what we do for a living.
For the sustainability of ourselves and our God-given vision, we often have to realize that how we live out our purpose can evolve or shift with different seasons, but in its essence, purpose itself gives our identity, our true, God-given identity, movement and weight. And, although our purpose can play out in so many ways and roles throughout our entire life, we have to recognize that our life ALWAYS has purpose... NO MATTER WHAT!
Simply put, your purpose is the secret sauce -- its the essence behind you.
Simply put, your purpose is the secret sauce -- its the essence behind you. Purpose often drives every relationship, every job or career decision, every health move we make. Truly understanding our purpose, in my opinion, drives whether we move forward or feel stagnate in this life.
For example, those who are mothers or mother-figures, even in the hard seasons of mothering, your purpose in mothering doesn't stop just when kids grow older. You may find yourself mothering those without mothers. Your purpose may be to nurture, care for, and love those that are undervalued or dejected, and extending the gift of helping them understand true hope and purpose -- all of which may far surpass raising your own children, if you have them (which takes great strength in itself!). Understanding this level of purpose also helps you to hold onto purpose when you may not receive the same reciprocation of love from those in your own household.
That is just one example, and I am sure you may have many others -- as a nurse, educator, entrepreneur, philanthropist, whatever. But, even in the understanding of purpose, the pursuit of purpose, and the seeming glamor behind “walking in your purpose,” we, as a society of thought-provokers and thought- leaders often leave out the price that comes with purpose. The price that is required to fully live in purpose.
This price is costly, and many, when we really get to the heart of it, don’t entirely want to pay that price.
This price is costly, and many, when we really get to the heart of it, don’t entirely want to pay that price. Sometimes, in the middle of our visionary pursuits, we may not even recognize the high price that comes with living a life of purpose. That price can come with, first, being ridiculed, being misunderstood, being without, feeling alone, being isolated from your peers, and much more. Purpose, before you can fully understand your life purpose, can some times feel like confusion. It can feel like your world has been flipped upside, never to make sense, and sometimes only in the last minute before your give up, does it finally take shape into something beautiful. I am not saying it is always like this, but, from one visionary to another, the stakes can get pretty high.
Purpose can feel like being stretched way outside of anything you know, and goes very far outside of any resemblance of a comfort zone. This feeling of being stretched, where things may look very different than what you thought, can even involve a literal stripping away of everything you knew and understood in a previous season of life.
Maybe you saw yourself as a teacher all your life, but didn't know it would turn into leading an organization for troubled teens who didn't have a mentor or parent in their life, versus a teacher in a kindergarten classroom. Maybe you saw yourself as a person who loves caring for others, but didn't realize it would turn into being a nurse in the emergency room. Maybe you saw yourself as a sports-team coach and motivator, but didn't realize it would turn into public speaking, and training future generations to live their best lives. The real question is, were you... are you... willing to say yes to the shift?
Yes, purpose often requires a yes, when all you want to say is no, no, and no. Purpose will often lead you to not run and hide from a calling (even if you really want to) that many others may see on your life. If you are really honest with yourself, the purpose and calling on your heart often will not let you rest, and many search to walk in purpose throughout every seaon of life. In my opinion, purpose, and the price to fully know, understand, and embrace it, gives meaning to every area of our lives, and truly marks the path of those who are daring to be influenitally visionary.
So, as I continue these thoughts in the New Year, I encourage you to undertake your own soul-searching, and truly delve into the purpose behind your vision, goals, and dreams, and most importantly, the cost it takes to walk in it. I am confident as you let yourself unpack this concept, you will find foundation and even joy when the road gets rocky. But more importantly, you'll be able to fully appreciate and enjoy the blossoming of your vision and the impact it can have on others.
May you dare to be influentially visionary in all you do!