This has been one of those weeks (or two or three...) that have really had me focused on the concept of "purpose."
I have been fortunate, in that, I have always felt that I have a purpose, and have always had a clear idea of what that is. Like everyone, I have had my moments, days, weeks, and even months when I've thought, "Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Am I doing the right things? Is my life moving in the direction it should be?" But I have always come back to a sense of peace about my choices, my life, and my reason for being.
I believe everyone has a purpose. I don't believe there is a single person who's been put on this earth by accident. Not for a second. I do believe, though, that there are a lot of people who have never paused to reflect and figure out what it is. I also think, based on my experiences with different people, that there are people out there who think we're all ordained for the same purpose. My opinion is, we're not.
I can't define anyone else's purpose, and nobody else can define mine. I don't think I can even fully define my own with words. But I do think that at the heart of every life's purpose should be humanity and love for others, and making the world a better place.
True purpose, in my opinion, isn't just self-serving. Sure, we all love notoriety - that pat on the back when we win an award, or graduate college with honors, or earn a promotion - but if all we ever do and achieve in life is for ourselves, then I believe the true purpose has been missed. Purpose has to be about making a difference.
I also believe that our purpose doesn't have to be outwardly grandiose. I would love to do something outwardly grandiose, such as ministry and humanitarian aid in a war-torn, Muslim nation. (Call me crazy, but I really, really would like to do that!) But for me and my life, in there here and now, being a mother to 3 young kids, that's just not practical. That's not the path that has been laid out for me (or at least not right now). For me, in my life, right here and right now, I believe my purpose lies in raising kids that are kind-hearted, loving, caring individuals who will impact their world in a positive way, taking care of people in my own community, and being the most supportive mother, wife, sister, friend, and neighbor I can possibly be. There's nothing about that, that is flashy or showy. Nothing that makes me look good on paper. No monetary gain, and usually nothing given in return. Nothing that says, "Congratulations, Megan, you accomplished something great."
But you know what? It fulfills me. I wake up every morning happy to have the life I have, and happy to make the small differences I can. I believe a smile to a stranger in a grocery store can be a powerful thing. I believe giving a kid at the elementary school something to laugh about is important. I believe raising my kids to unconditionally love and respect other people is the biggest gift I can give the world. And so those are the things I do.
That is me, though. I recognize that some people don't have kids, or don't enjoy being with them. I understand that some people (including my better half) are painfully shy, and to them talking to and smiling at random strangers feels just plain weird and creepy. And I know some people truly are destined to do the "big things"; to be the leaders, activists, lobbyists, missionaries, politicians.... So do it! Whatever your calling in life is - whatever you feel you were put on this earth to do to make life better for others, be it grandiose or not - go do it!
When you start living with a sense of true, selfless purpose, you will feel more fulfilled yourself. I know it sounds simple...or cliche...or...whatever....but I do believe that. Perhaps the most "fulfilled" individuals I know aren't the ones with huge houses, the latest iPhones and whatnot, fancy cars, and lucrative jobs. They are, instead, just regular, "average Joe" people who love life and love others and know passionately what they were put on this earth to do. And some of the most "miserable" people I know are people who have lots of friends, money, and toys, but just float by day to day going through the motions.
I'm not saying we should blow off working, paying bills, and being responsible, or that we should sell off our "toys," move somewhere else, or...anything else. We have to be realistic. But within any life, underneath all the day-to-days, is something we are truly meant to do to make this world better. And we don't always have to do it "right" - we just have to do it. Because if we don't, then we sell ourselves and our world short of what only we can offer. I can't do what you are meant to do, and you can't do what I am meant to do. Only you have your specific talents, gifts, and unique personality traits that make you the perfect person to live out your specific purpose.
I'm not claiming to have all the answers to life's existential questions. But I do know that being in touch with your true purpose and pursuing is passionately is the key thing to living a life that fulfills you (and others). I work every day to strengthen my own sense of purpose and live for it. Its not always fun, its not always easy, and it definitely can be monotonous (another episode of Blue's Clues, anyone?), but its worth it.
How about you? Do you know what your true purpose is? Are you living it? What changes do you need to make to take it to the next level?