Shelly Currin’s reflections on purpose

Shelly CurrinWhat does God want me to do with my life? Am I spending my time on the “right” things? How do I live out the calling I feel in my heart? For a long time I’ve struggled to “find my purpose”. I wonder if others can relate to this internal struggle. We only get one chance to live each day. I don’t want to get to the end of my days and realize that I used them all up on an agenda that wasn’t aligned with His purpose for me. There are always more things to do, even really good things, than there is time to do them. How do we know what He wants us to do? How do we know which things will fulfill our “purpose”? I stay busy with so many things, but always there is a nagging inside that says there’s more, there’s something that’s more “Kingdom driven”, something that will have lasting value for the Kingdom of God.

Linda has prayed with me and brainstormed this concept many times. As a way to check my priorities at the beginning of this year I started re-reading a book directed toward finding our purpose. The other day the Lord brought clarity to some concepts that I hadn’t been able to put in words. Here is what He brought to mind.

Our purpose is not unique to each of us; only the way in which it is lived out is unique. We all have exactly the same purpose. That is to bring glory to God. In Ephesians we are told we “exist for the praise of His glory” (Eph 2:12). Pretty clear description of our purpose. Our attitude and actions in our everyday lives determine whether we fulfill that purpose. When I’m working on tasks that I sorely dislike, do I give thanks to God as Paul instructs? “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18) It’s difficult to rejoice and be negative at the same time. Choosing to rejoice doesn’t come naturally when we’re doing things we don’t like, but that is exactly what gives glory to God. The enemy loses much ground when we choose to have a positive attitude and give glory to God no matter what our situation is.

Fulfilling our purpose also is not a “big bang” kind of thing. It unfolds each time we choose to follow Christ’s path. At a funeral recently the person’s son said his dad once told him in a difficult situation, “do the next right thing”. Each choice we make that is aligned with God’s thinking is one more step in fulfilling that purpose. Part of my struggle is that I have an image of how I think I’m supposed to fulfill the passion that God has placed in me and my current situation in life doesn’t allow me to follow that path. But if my true purpose is to give glory to God, how better to do that than to have an attitude of praise and thanksgiving even in the struggle. And who knows if the vision I have will slowly develop from the situation I’m in. I do know that it won’t if I stay negative and resentful. By being in an attitude of praise and thanksgiving we stay open to positive outcomes, and we give God glory at the same time.

“We are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (2Corinth 2:15) A friend had her mom make me a beautiful scarf for my birthday and sent it all the way from Denmark where she lives. When it arrived it had the fragrance of lavender. Her mom had soaked it in lavender as she dyed the material a special color just for me. For days I would bury my face in the scarf and breathe the sweet, relaxing aroma. The lavender smell has faded, but she is having her mom send me a bottle of the oil so I can refresh it. We are like that with God. Just as the lavender soaked into the material, the essence of God soaks into us when we spend time with him. It doesn’t last though without being refreshed. We have to soak ourselves in His love, in His word, in relationship with Him through conversational prayer, in order to refresh His fragrance in us. When we do that, each time we enter a room, the aroma of Christ enters with us. Our smile speaks His name, our words encourage with Holy Spirit anointing, our handshake is the handshake of Christ.

I pictured a ring that continues endlessly. Our purpose is to give Him glory. That purpose is fulfilled naturally in us through our daily lives only when we’ve spent time with Him to absorb His essence, His “essential oils”. And being in the world wears out the fragrance, so we spend more time with Him and give Him more glory and spread His aroma. And the cycle continues. And wouldn’t you know it, one day at a time, one simple act of love and encouragement at a time, one “next right thing” at a time, our purpose is fulfilled.

My prayer is shifting with this concept from “what is my purpose?” to “how do I fulfill my purpose?” And how do I merge the passion that He has placed in my heart with the activities that are part of life’s demands right now? Have you struggled with some of these same things? Would you pray with me as we join together in surrender to His purpose and His fulfillment of that purpose?

Lord, you have created us for the sole purpose of giving you glory. We humble ourselves before your throne and ask forgiveness for the times our attitudes and actions haven’t aligned with that purpose. “Create in us a new heart”, soften our hearts, infuse us with your fragrance that we would be your aroma in the world. Whether our situations seem more challenging than we can bear or we are in a “sweet spot” right now with life being pretty easy to handle, give us an attitude of praise of thanksgiving. If it’s tough, hold us close. And if it’s pretty easy right now, protect us from getting casual about you. Teach us simple ways to give you glory in our everyday lives. And fulfill the passion that you’ve placed in each of our hearts for your Kingdom work. Open the doors that need to be stepped through, break down walls that are holding us back. Free us Lord to walk the path that you have laid out before us. Through it all, one day at a time, we give you all the glory and praise, Lord of all the earth.

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