What is your mission in life?
I’m almost 50 and I still think about my mission in life just as much as I did when I was in my teens thinking about my college years. Today, I have a lot more experiences to draw from, more hurts, more disappointments, more experiencing the joy of life, and especially more experience getting to know God and people. I also know more than I did many years ago.
Several years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. Things were difficult, but only because I made them that way. I didn’t see that at the time, but experience has taught me that we create our own reality and then live in it. As the saying goes “you make the bed you lie in.”
I am not saying that we literally bringing forth a physical reality, but we do create our own perspective. We can’t always control the outcomes or the environment that we’re in, nor the outcome of decisions that we make, but we can always control our perspective. It’s perspective that drives the outcomes of our lives and this is what becomes real to us.
It is perspective, that when applied the right way induces certain outcomes. Certain perspectives make us wealthy. Some perspectives will make us better communicators. Some perspectives will result in doing great good for others. Still other perspectives will fill our lives with regret, disaster, pain, debt or suffering.
If we choose to fill our perspective with the negative, regret, complaints, and to focus on what we can get out of life rather than what we put into it, then we harvest a crop of those things. The same is true for the positive or good things.
I was reading a blog of a young woman who asked to pray for her readers. (My Dear Yellow World) I really enjoy her perspective and the heart she has for people. Her act was a truly selfless being willing to go before God and take time from her life to petition for the concerns of people she barely knows.
Would you go to the most powerful person you know and ask them to feed a person you saw on the street that was starving? Would you ask them to give them a warm bed to sleep in, or to pay for their medical treatment? Or, would you ask your most powerful friend to give you something to better your own life?
What would that powerful friend think of you if you didn’t first try to help that person yourself? What if they’d already given you a surplus of things in your life that you didn’t really need, and then instead of meeting the needs yourself, you went to him and asked for more? What if this person had given you these things so that you would use them to help others and then you asked for more?
Just to be clear, I’m not judging my newly discovered online friend, Corola Ber (Author of My Dear Yellow World). It’s very apparent that she walks the talk and is reaching out into a hurting world and making a difference. But, we should judge ourselves and our own actions. It was my own introspection that led me to write this blog.
It’s easy to say a prayer for someone and ask God to step in and help, but are we really telling God that we’re not concerned enough about others to get our hands dirty and help with the real work about changing lives? Do we really believe in what we say as demonstrated by our actions?
Four years ago, my dear friend, Joey Potter who heads the Southeast Missions for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to go on a mission. I never thought when he asked me that I would find myself 4 years later still involved in that ministry. At the time I was thinking this was a one and done deal, but God had other plans for me.
This was a turning point in my life. It was when I realized what it meant to fully commit my life to God. Up until this point, I’d held a part of my life to myself and over the years, that part of me grew. It became a bigger and bigger part of me until I realized I had no real commitment to God left. There were things in my life I wanted to accomplish on my own. I wanted all the praise and glory for my accomplishments. I wanted to own my own life. I wanted my own mission and to dictate it to the world.
My perspective on things was not much different than many people in the world because it’s what we’re all taught. We care about others, but only so long as we don’t have to sacrifice too much for them. My mission was to please myself and my actions reflected my perspective.
Last year I felt a calling to give of myself, my time, my money, my energy, everything I am to God’s purpose and set out on a mission to do that. It was one of the most challenging experiences in my life because it required me to trust that God would provide in ways I’d never trusted in him before. God delivered and he delivered in some big ways, but not how or where I expected. I grew and I’m still growing from these experience in ways I would never have grown.
My new perspective is different. It involves thinking about how I can add value to the lives of others rather than find ways to capture the value in others for myself. It involves focusing on positive things, filling my life with thoughts, influences, people and things that produce good in others and yield an eternal harvest.
The truth is, I still pray for a lot, but I find myself praying more about things that are beyond my control, things that only God can do. I want God to find me a faithful steward of the gifts he’s given me and the life that I’m accountable for living well.
The outcome is far more satisfying and instead of asking just “what’s my mission in life?” I find myself asking “where are we going today God and who will we help?” I’m a work in progress and I’m far from perfect, but I do have a joy that I can’t explain and my life has taken on a new meaning that I lacked before.
What’s your mission in life?
(Seriously! Feel free to share in the comments.)