I had a brief “what’s my passion/purpose” crisis, an illogical sense that all my best years are behind me and that I’m not living up to my God-given potential. It crept up on me right around the holidays as I found myself reading countless articles on New Year’s resolutions, themes and how to do 2014 right.
It’s hard to escape the notion, especially this time of year, that unless we’re passionately pursuing our purpose our lives are meaningless. My take on the advice I’ve read is that our purpose in life should be specific, measurable, lucrative above all else, passionate. This is especially true about the career we choose. We’re encouraged to make our living doing something that knocks our socks off all the time. Find something you’re passionate about and make it your job. If you love what you do, it won’t feel like work. I’ve seen that happen for some people and it’s fantastic when it does but if I took the things I love most and turned them into a career, they wouldn’t be fun anymore. Work is work. Fun is fun. Maybe they’re not always meant to be joined.
Personally, I wonder if it’s because we can’t tolerate boredom. We must always be striving to be extraordinary and if we can’t get there on our own merits, there are limitless ways to get high so that we can feel amazing, if even for a short time (at least that’s what I used to do).
What’s a purpose or passion supposed to look like anyway? Should I be able to take an ordinary desire like wanting to look less lumpy in my skinny jeans and turn it into a billion dollar industry (like Spanx)? Do I need to write a book that touches millions of lives? Do I need a color-coded flow chart? A deadline for success?
I work from home so that I can be home with my kids. I like what I do. It fulfills my desire to be organized, methodical and creative but the truth is that I could be fulfilled in any number of jobs. What it breaks down to is that I love to serve. I could almost say it’s my purpose. Yes, I know it’s vague and it may never be attached to any big paycheck but service is what manifests itself in me when I’m feeling centered and connected. I don’t serve to make people happy but because I am happy. I’m pretty sure I got that line from a Veggie Tales movie.
I do believe that everyone has a God-given purpose but the way it shows up in our lives may not always look like what we think it should look like. It’s not likely that our unique purpose in life will appear in the sky written in fireworks. It may not even be particularly unique or ever make us a dime. It may not be one big thing but a series of encounters that leave you wondering if anything happened at all. You may wonder why everyone else seems to have found theirs and then realize 10 years later that you were in the midst of yours all along.
The conclusion I came to is that the best I can do is just keep moving. Do something. Step forward, sideways or backwards. Be lazy. Be discontent. Just be. Live this one life even if the answers to the big questions elude me. Don’t look so hard because that’s usually when things start to happen (even if I’m not consciously aware of anything happening). Every task we do builds our character and our character determines how we take care of each other. And if a big, passionate idea comes to me then I’ll do big, passionate things with it but until then, I’ll just dance.