WThe most popular book in the world is The Holy Bible. It has had more copies produced than any other book. The second most published book is not even close to the Bible. The second one, however, is fairly recent. It is The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren.
Knowing one’s purpose is essential to living a fully productive life. If you do not understand why you exist, then you will have difficulty making good decisions about your future and even your present. You will be taken with the current of popular opinion and may end up in a place you do not want to be in.
Earlier in the year, we talked about what you want written on your tombstone. How do you want to be remembered? This really gets you thinking about your character and your influence. I think this is a good starting point (the end of your life) on understanding your purpose.
Everyone and everything has a purpose. Even if you do not believe in a Creator, honest people will come to the conclusion that everything has a purpose. If you really believe we evolved from some primordial mist, then the only thing that makes sense is that we evolve to a specific end or purpose. We cannot evolve, and it not serve a purpose or benefit. Everyone and everything is designed for some purpose or use. We may not understand it with our limited sight or knowledge today, but there are no accidents.
I believe we are uniquely created by a loving God and that we all have purpose or reason for existence. I believe God has created each of us to fulfill roles only we can. The roles may be similar to others, but they will be unique to each of us.
Our purpose for life may be experienced differently as we go through different stages of life or life events; but at the core, our purpose or reason for breathing stays the same throughout our life spans.
We are never too old (or too young, for that matter) not to have a purpose. Many of my geriatric patients struggle with why they are still alive. They often feel like they have completed their purpose for living. There are many reasons for this, but at its core is the belief that they are no longer contributing.
Our sense of worth often comes from our sense of how we contribute to society, especially our families. If we feel we are not contributing, then often we will feel worthless. Eventually, we feel worthless.
I was at both of my grandfathers’ deaths. I watched as they took their last breaths and watched the monitors flatline. To this day, I am still learning from them. I will compare myself to them when I am close to the end. They showed me how men end well. They never quit leading me. You are never too old or too sick not to have a purpose. You will always have a purpose as long as you have air in your lungs.
You must know what your unique purpose in life is! I want to challenge you to think about your purpose, your reason for breathing. And I want you to write it down. It does not need to be elegant or even elaborate. I think the simpler it is, the easier it is to understand and to follow.
I recently reviewed my purpose and wrote down thoughts as they came to my mind.
“I exist to glorify God in all I say and do. I do this mainly through helping others to improve their health and lives. I experience God most when I am serving His children and enjoying the outdoors. Learning is another common way I enjoy God. Therefore, I will be a lifelong learner who loves God and helps others on their journey.”
This statement is basically a filter for me when it comes to decisions about how I am to spend “my” (it is all His anyway) money and time. It is a fairly broad statement and leaves me lots of leeway, but it is still one of my first filters. The things I do and spend my time on need to fit with this in some way or fashion.
We all have a purpose and a unique design. What is yours? Don’t be shy: tell me in the comments.
Wishing You an Amazing Life,
Dr. Curtis Brown