Purpose Full7:30 AM
I've been thinking about that lately...every second for the past few months. When I was little, purpose seemed so simple: Some day I was going to do great things for God (i.e. set up a veterinary clinic from a creation perspective - hey, you gotta give me credit for creativity). This day I played Breyer horses and My Little Ponies and sketched diagrams for my pet store.
I'll admit, fitting in the ferret cages among all the mice and rats was rather a tricky business. As far as difficulty goes, that was it.
Then I turned fourteen and things got complicated. For instance, the minute I dropped interest in Littlest Pet Shop and American Girl, I had to find other ways to fill my time. It would have worked out well (books, books and more books) if my mother hadn't been wise enough to push me off the couch, off the computer and into the real world of womanhood...and housecleaning.
But overall, I didn't worry too much about my purpose. I was only fourteen, you know. And then I was fifteen. But I had life figured out: the famousest youngest writer of all time, married at eighteen, soon-to-be mother of thousands and ten thousands. I would keep a house, write in my spare time and when I died, I would look back on my life and sigh happily. Fifteen wasn't all roses and peaches, mind, but I still felt purpose.
Then I hit sixteen, and after sixteen years of perfectionism and a teenagehood filled with questions and curiosity, I suddenly realized, "Houston, we have a problem."
I didn't have a purpose.
All the books I started failed and I'd rather not discuss the possibility of wading back through fifty different Word documents and piecing them back together. I began to see that maybe love wasn't always happily ever after. I still vacuumed and cooked macaroni and cheese for lunch...but those times when I wasn't doing something for someone else - discussing problems with a friend, helping my mother out, volunteering with the cutest kindergartners in the county - I felt like a failure.
What was my purpose? I did things and people willingly (rather overwillingly) praised my high-minded ideals, my mature outlook on life, my eagerness to serve. They were happy with me.
I wasn't happy. I wanted something more. Something big. But nothing seemed big enough. I wrote, and people responded. I got my first fan mail from Oregon a few years ago. People tracked down my phone number to personally thank me for my essays. I won contests and was a teensy bit of a celebrity in my own right. I saw God working through it - but it wasn't enough.
I served. I babysat and worked with younger grades in church and the community. I hugged and praised and big sistered a bunch of cute kids. I tried to help out my mother with the home and developed a keen dislike of the upstairs vacuum cleaner and an absolute adoration of my youngest siblings in the process. God has blessed others - and me - through my service. It still wasn't enough.
And you know, though I sound heretical, my goals of being a wife and a mother and a homemaker...they weren't enough either. They still left something wanting in my soul.
Service - minstry - homemaking: they're huge, but I never felt complete in doing them. They didn't encompass everything that I was, everything that I wanted to be, everything that I was hoping for - whatever that was. They didn't cover the times I sat down and enjoyed a good Shakespeare play. They didn't include the rambles through the sunset and tall grass, hair flying, startling yellow butterflies.
What intrinsic value were they? A waste of precious minutes that I could be using towards other people?
What is the chief end of man? What is my purpose? My chief end...it's to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Back in Eden, they didn't have poverty to allieve, illnesses to cure, sins to confront. They worked, yes; but when I read Genesis, I don't primarily see a life of ministry to others. I see a relationship with the Creator.
He didn't make us to evangelize. Our chief end wasn't to further the comfort or enlightenment of mankind. Our chief end wasn't for ourselves - it wasn't for man - it was for God.
Service was not an end in itself, which was what I missed: it was a means to an end, chiefly, a life dedicated to walking with the Lord. I was made for His enjoyment and pleasure: and I was made to enjoy Him back.
I could run through the fields and walk through the woods and laugh at the baby and melt over beauty because I was made to enjoy the good things He gave.
This was big enough to live for. This encompassed every single area of my being - my work, my desire, my passion, my reason and my emotion. I don't know if I'll end up single and published; if I'll teach Sunday school till my dying days; if I marry the man I love and raise an army of children. I don't know, in that sense, what my purpose is in life. The details are fuzzy and change rapidly. But overall, I know: to glorify God...to serve Him...and to enjoy Him.