A New Purpose

It’s the beginning of a new year: a fresh start, and a reminder to keep our eyes focused forward. The past cannot be changed. That’s okay with me. As I recently reflected on my hopes, dreams, and desires for 2017, I knew there was only one ‘Word of the Year’ that would work: Purpose.

Identifying our purpose is not easy, but one place to start is considering the definition. According to http://www.dictionary.com/ the primary noun/subject definition is, “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.” Easy to understand, difficult to comprehend. Finding answers to “What’s my purpose?” or  “Why am I here?” is an age-old problem. Is my purpose preordained? Do I have a choice? I believe the answer is yes to both questions. One of the verb/action definitions is, “to set as an intention, aim, or goal for oneself.” In other words, we determine our purpose in an intentional manner. However, a second action definition is, “to resolve (to do something).” Sounds like a resolution, right? We must take action or our purpose, whether self-defined or from a higher power, has no meaning.

A couple of years ago, I established a purpose statement for my writing projects and ministry: “Encouragement for Life in a Complicated World.” This year, I want to move past the words and answer the call to action that is implicit in the statement. Offering encouragement to others does not happen without taking steps to do so.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28, Holy Bible: New Living Translation)

A New Plan

Our purpose, our specific goals, drive our plan of action. For example, if we want to begin the new year by losing weight, we’d better have lots of fruits and veggies in the fridge. But, we need to prepare to adjust our plans as needed. If we have the right food in our pantry but munch on candy throughout the day, and sit down with a big bowl of ice cream before bed, we’re not going to make much progress.

One of my plans for offering more encouragement to others is by continuing to write blogs related to living with mental illness. I’ve already shared my story http://www.ingodscorner.org/roller-coaster-life/. This year I will be posting stories from others who have expressed a desire to share their challenges, pain, transformation, and victory. Real people with real experiences. The blog series will be called, “Memoirs of Mental Illness” and I plan to post the first story next week (January 5, 2017).

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11, Holy Bible: New Living Translation)

A New Pursuit

It’s exciting to think about this new year and all we hope to accomplish. But, are we fulfilled only when we succeed? Is achieving our purpose the ultimate reward? Not for me. If it were, life would be very disappointing. I believe we find meaning in our day-to-day pursuit of purpose. Our perseverance in striving to reach our goal is the greatest blessing. We can be content and confident in knowing we have tried our best.

It’s time to consider our purpose, formulate a plan, and pursue it with all we’ve got. I’m ready, are you?

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14, Holy Bible: New Living Translation)

Caroline

 

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