Driving home from a friend’s house recently I noticed a sign that said “Start the new year with a purpose.” What a striking sign. It got me thinking. The American Heritage Dictionary defines purpose as the object toward which one strives or for which something exists. The famous American writer Sarah Josepha Hale wrote, “And ever those, who would enjoyment gain/Must find it in the purpose they pursue.”
Those are strong words. It’s a thought I’ve spent a lot of time with lately. What exactly is my purpose? I believe everyone struggles with this from time to time. I ask myself constantly am I making a difference? Am I encouraging and helping people? Am I loving my family enough? Am I working towards anything meaningful? And for what will I be remembered one day when I’m gone?
I feel that maybe purposes can change throughout your lifetime. That possibly my purpose today will be totally different from what it may be in 10 years from now. That most likely your circumstances influence what you feel is important and worthy of your time. I also think that when your purpose and your heart are aligned, life can be a remarkable adventure and your life will make an impact.
Finding that purpose, however can be difficult. Knowing your talents, realizing what’s important, and embracing the challenge of living up to that potential everyday is a hard task. But I feel that once you find a purpose, a meaning for your life and put forth the effort to carry it through – well, it can be the most rewarding gift to yourself.
But what holds us back from such a rewarding experience? I suppose that’s different for everyone too. Sometimes I think its laziness or maybe just not caring at all. But I think the fear of failure is what tends to capture and immobilize us the most. Finding the ability to know what we can do and then facing the idea that we must be perfect. And of course since no one is perfect, mistakes and failure will come. And then what does that say about you and your purpose? That you aren’t good enough, that you don’t matter, that you can’t make a difference?
I know I struggle with this. But I also think I’m still trying to find my talents, my heart, and in essence, my purpose. I’m still trying to harness my stubborness, impatience, and selfishness that are robbing me from finding what is truly important. Maybe one day I’ll grow up and eventually take inventory of what I can offer this world. Then maybe I’ll have a purpose and the courage to embrace it…