Over the past few days I’ve found myself focusing on “purpose.” Probably, with some reflective time in my thinking chair, I could figure out the subconscious reasons but that would only be entertaining to me.  But I’m not done with the notion of purpose. Here’s what I discovered. People who have meaning and purpose in their lives live longer than those with a lower sense of personal well-being. One study actually showed that people with a sense of purpose had a 15 percent lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And here is the kicker – it didn’t seem to matter when people found their purpose. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 80s. You live better and longer when you have purpose.  People who live a life of purpose have passion. People who live a life of purpose also have a sense of peace. Having purpose matters.
The author Annie Dillard, once said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” In the midst of a pandemic how we spend our days is challenging or at least it is for me. For those of us who function and flourish in interpersonal relationships but not in the medical profession, as first responders or are deemed essential, owning purpose feels problematic, if not unproductive.
I’m slowly learning that living as the “beloved,” when things are so different and the wisdom of an old paradigm is shaky at best, makes little sense.  This normal we’re living in is not normal, and yet, this is our reality, without an identified ending point or an ending at all. How do you live with purpose at arm’s length?  How do we be in community when our sense of community is shifting?
I’m not fearful or frustrated. Truthfully, part of me is hopeful and expectant of what God is doing without us yet knowing. Spend your day purposefully. It matters and know that God is at work. Be kind to yourself and to others.

Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-4
“ If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

Reflection Questions:
What is your purpose?
What do you think God is doing in these times?
What does complete joy look like?
Whose interest do you need to make a priority?

Prayer: Holy God, remind me that you are present and engaged. Let this day be filled with purpose and let me become an ever-growing presence for others. Amen.

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