Utility vs. Futility
So what’s critical about having a purpose statement? Here are some ways to use it:
- Better decisions – If I know what my purpose is, it’s easier for me to see what isn’t aligned with my purpose. I have more bandwidth for things I care about and I’m good at. Conversely, I’m better prepared to say ‘no’ to things that connect with someone else’s purpose but not to mine. I can say ‘no’ and feel no guilt.
- More meaning – When I get involved in things that connect with my purpose, my life has more meaning. My time is valuable. It matters what I do with it. I’m more proud of my contributions because they have purpose beyond myself. I have a lot more than memories….I matter.
- Less wasteful – When I know my purpose, less is wasted. Less time. Less money. Less effort. If it’s all about motive and the “why” I do things, nothing I do is wasted. I offer myself up, do the best I can, and trust God with the outcome.
- Feel better about myself – We feel good about ourselves when we do the right thing. When I engage in things that are “on purpose” for me--things that leverage what I’m good at and what I was put here to do-- my confidence soars, my performance improves, and my heart overflows with gratitude that God let me be involved.
Remember that finding your purpose isn’t a problem you’re trying to solve. There’s no "final answer" like a math problem. There’s a tension around purpose that will always be there. There’s a tension between being "on purpose" and being practical.There’s a tension between long-term vision and short-term practicality. A tension between your personality (i.e., who you are) and what you do.
God made you unique. He doesn’t want to lose you in what you do. He’ll tug at your heart from time to time to remind you there are people in your life who matter…people who have different purposes from you. People he wants you to love and serve. These people include your spouse, your kids, your parents, your siblings, and your close friends. God doesn’t need you to do anything. He invites you to find your purpose and join him in what He’s doing. But He will do what He’s going to do with or without you. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Leverage your purpose, but don’t let it leverage you. Only He can do that.
Aside from the unique intimacy of walking with my Heavenly Father and the unique intimacy of marriage, being on purpose with others on a Kingdom mission is unrivaled. It brings incomparable joy. John Eldredge began his ministry with his best friend, Brent. Brent died in an accident shortly after they started Ransomed Hearts.
In describing his friend who shared his purpose, he says….
“Brent’s heart saw what mine saw. Our friendship was a shared journey, a mutual quest for the secret to our souls…into the desperate battle raging all around for the hearts of others as well.”
There’s nothing quite like being on a mission with others in a close-knit group, united by shared purpose and Godly calling. But never forget that God is the author of the story. We play our roles.
Just because the Author writes a character out of the story doesn’t mean the story is over. It means God has other plans. Other characters.Other plot lines.Eldredge’s ministry (www.ransomedheart. com) has gone on to change the hearts of thousands of men. Brent didn’t get to play a role, but God has done amazing things through the ministry he visualized through Brent’s pursuit of his God-given purpose.
From the ebook: Finding Your Purpose.
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