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.