Dick Richards over at Come Gather Round has an interesting series of posts about Purpose.
For some strange reason, my life of the past three years or so have been heavily focused in many ways around the themes of Meaning and Purpose.
Not of my own doing though. This focus has been from external sources.
It "began" in 2004 when our local church decided to participate in a study series entitled "The Purpose Driven Life" by Pastor Rick Warren of California USA.
I didn't like this book! Which probably makes me a heretic as far as evangelical christianity goes! It IS very popular and it did have some useful stuff in it, but there was something about it I couldn't quite define that irked me immensely. I have since put it down to my extremely fundamental core credo as a "Lutheran" that this book was too heavily oriented toward "us" doing the work of our salvation and God not doing much at all really! Don't know! Maybe I missed the point! I did get a strong sense of that whole "Our purpose is for God's pleasure" thing as being somewhat distasteful as if He was some weirdo who wanted to merely entertain Himself by making us do stuff for Him!
I have a tough time with the christian ethos of "obedience" anyway. I'm selfish and wilful that way! We all try too hard sometimes, us christians, and we forget constantly that no amount of extra effort on our part will ever get us on any train to any heaven anywhere! Obedience doesn't come from ourselves - it comes from God Himself abiding by the Spirit within us! We are obedient only when we are in tune and in alignment with The Spirit!
So guess what? I'm a heretic huh? I don't buy into the "rules" of engagement when it comes to being a christian! I just BELIEVE and that is all that is necessary in my credo.
But I digress! :) I WAS talking about Purpose wasn't I? :)
The second year, 2005, our church followed the second book in the series by Rick Warren. It was called "The Purpose Driven Church". This one resonated better as it was about collective purpose as a congregation. It made sense to me that we got together and discussed issues such as social justice, worship life, prayer, etc. We do precious little of that (especially social justice) and it was a refreshing change to see members of my congregation actually connecting for a change on this stuff!
Around the same time, I "discovered" by accident on my travels around the internet, Getting Things Done by David Allen. This led me to finding a new "purpose" in getting even more organised and purposeful about where I wanted to go in life.
Some months back I also did an experiment suggested by Steve Pavlina called "How to discover your life purpose in 20 minutes" and I enthusiastically blogged about my results on that, feeling very emotional that I had indeed discovered my true reason for existing here in this world! :)
That little thing I wrote out still makes me go weak at the knees but is it REALLY my true Purpose? It maybe that it is just one of many, many purposes and "reasons" for my being here!
This in turn led me via a slightly convoluted route to Dick Richards and his "Is Your Genius at Work" book and website.
And here I find myself yet again confronted with this "thing" called Purpose!
The fact that I even exist means I have a Purpose! We all have one whether we can identify it or not! It comes from OUTSIDE of us and is gifted to us and can take us completely by surprise just as Dick mentions in a comment he made on Part Two of this subject.
It's slightly "wierd" this thematic construct of my years post 40, as if God Himself is shouting at me to wake up and identify that which I need to be fulfilling in the world!
I'm not sure how to listen to what that is though!
Writing is my greatest love but is it really my Purpose in life? Maybe I have essentially fulfilled my given Purpose and I don't yet know it? Maybe it is still yet to be realised?
But I KNOW I have one! And you do too. The thing is to not get too caught up in the "me" part about this and just LISTEN for that still small voice that leads in the direction I need to travel.