Laying on my bed listening to the melancholy warbling of the Cranberries, I struggled with questions of purpose.
At 15, I lived a flat faith with a small, but increasing, curiosity about the things of God.
Father, Son, Holy Ghost–I believed it on a surface level.
Connecting this budding faith to who I was, is where the disconnect hit.
I didn’t know my purpose. School friends and popular TV shows offered their opinions–and for a while, I bought what they were selling. I believed my purpose was to attract boys I had no business dating, or to become a celebrity, or to have fun all of the time, and “be my own boss”.
Looking back at this sampling of nonsense, my stomach churns. These useless, selfish pursuits occupied my mind too often, and when I couldn’t fulfill any one of them, my self-esteem plummeted and I’d hole up in my room, comforting myself with the sorrowful songs of R.E.M and Nirvana.
I filled my head with the noise of a culture that no more recognized its purpose for being than I did, all the while expecting to discover who I was meant to be by watching My So Called Life and Friends.
The music, the shows, the vapid advice from my peers–it all failed me.
But like a junkie, I’d return to these lonely places again and again, looking for the fix that would last.
Then, God found me.
Eventually, I turned from pop culture to the Prince Of Peace to find my purpose and, as you can imagine, it looks nothing like the things I was advised it should.
I am not famous–but He calls me by name.
I don’t have a steady stream of suitors who want the gifts of relationship without the bands of commitment–I have a husband. One love.
I am not my own boss, God is not my co-pilot. I surrender my wants and selfish desires daily to serve. His intentions over my own.
Perhaps because I was slow in coming to the truth of my life’s purpose, I feel bent on making sure my children, from this young age, know and understand their own purpose.
I don’t want them to wander the latter half of their lives wondering if their value and reason for existing will be discovered in something they do, or if they will be defined by all of the ways they may fail.
If we’re honest, that’s a struggle for many of us–not to define our life’s worth by our failures.
So daily, when we gather at the school table, I rally them and state boldly: “My Life’s purpose–” and my children shout back, “is to give God glory!” We’re enthusiastic because every day, whether we succeed or fall on our face, we KNOW we have value.
Our life’s purpose is only found in offering all we are to the glory of the ONE who made us. This is powerful. This truth transforms our hearts daily, as we claim it boldly: We do in fact HAVE purpose.
The enemy of our souls would rather see us splayed out on our bed, finding fellowship with suicidal musicians, than boldly proclaiming that our value is not found in who we are but whose we are.
When we someday (God-be-with-me) turn these children out into the world, they will have the truth sown into them from the beginning–that they have purpose, that they can and must do all things for the glory of their Father who made them –because they are His. We don’t pummel them with this, we encourage their hearts by shining the light of this grace on them.
Imagine if we told all children everywhere, from birth, “You have a purpose. You have value, simply because you exist.”
I left home still wondering who I was, or who I was supposed to become. I wonder sometimes how different my youth would have been if I had known then what I know now, that I my identity is in Christ.
Who am I? I am His. He calls me by name. He knit me together–intentionally. To Give Him Glory.
- On Purpose: Sharing True Identity With Our Kids - August 26, 2013
- Believing In The Possible Impossible - June 26, 2013
Lindsey Brackett says
I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally made sure mine know they have a purpose, probably bc like you it’s taken me so long to realize mine. Thank you for challenging me to be more intentional.
Kris Camealy says
I understand this, Lindsey. I am sad that it took so long for me to know this, but I see how God redeems the loss by allowing me to share this beautiful truth with my children while they are still so young. Bless you friend. You are a beautiful encourager.
ro elliott says
Beautiful … Yes won’t it be so very wonderful that each child could hear everyday …. You are loved because you are…and because of this love your life has great meaning … But we can change the world …one child at a time…starting with those we have in our homes…. Don’t grow weary in this work…. It is the most important field for seeds to be planted… And one day the fruit to be harvested.
Kris Camealy says
yes, Ro. One child at a time we can change these hearts and give them life through the truth of Christ’s purpose in them. Knowing this has transformed my own journey, and I know that it is helping to shape my own babies. 😉
Jill De Boer says
At times I’m still tempted to think my purpose and happiness can be found here on earth. Thank you for your beautiful and true words. How simple… (yet challenging for my sinful nature) … to live my life to God’s Glory.
Kris Camealy says
I hear that, Jill, though I have to say, I notice the times I am most tempted to “forget” my identity is when I am not engaging with God in a meaningful, deliberate way. The harder I pursue Him, the less confused I am about who I am. I believe that clinging to and abiding in Christ are our life-line. Praying that you’d know what a treasure you are to Him.
Amen! This post is absolutely beautiful! He knows our names; our identities are found in who He is!
Kris Camealy says
Thanks, Jennifer. So grateful for your encouragement. It is a great blessing that God KNOWS us and claims us as His own.
Laura Boggess says
Oh, this is a beautiful gift you are giving your children, Kris. Like you, I wish someone had told me the same when I was younger. I guess, in the end, God pulls each heart to him differently, though, and I am praying that all this foundation-laying I do as a mom makes for strong houses built on stone. Lovely telling, friend.
Kris Camealy says
Yes, Laura, He does bring us through–even with all the pieces we are missing. His grace overwhelms. I am praying for you too, for all of us who lay the foundation day after day, amid the opposition, that these babies of our would become pillars that stand tall against the world and shine Christ’s light to everyone they meet. ((hugs)) You are doing an amazing job–I have no doubt. God is with you and He will use your efforts for His glory.
Margaret Polino Nicholas says
That is the truth.
Yes – raising my kids to know God is only possible because I let God in when I was 17. I’m thankful for those first moments because without them my kids wouldn’t have the chance they have. Love your words here, Kris.
Kimberlee Conway Ireton says
Kris, I love your school table rallying cry. I’m going to steal that one and add it to my morning liturgy with my kids. Soli Deo gloria. Thank you!