Breathing deep and pounding the pavement I listen to the rhythm of the waking world. My body responds with small streams of sweat winding their way along, only to be caught by eyelashes or dampened into the fabric of my clothes. I can feel my face adopt it’s favored tomato red, even in the stillness of dawn. Who needs a headlamp when your face turns into a stoplight after .25 miles?
I smile at passerbys, receiving a handful of nods and a whole bunch of nothings. I’m nonplussed at the stone-faced runners, it’s 6AM after all, the sun isn’t shining so why should they be? I’m just amazed I’m actually out here!
Wait, why am I out here again?
Practically speaking, I’m here because I’m training for a race and live in a hairdryer state that hits temps of 90+ by 9AM so I have to run early… or melt. But I also want to be accomplishing something along the way. As I run and my heart beats and my elbows drip with sweat, I want to look around and think confidently,”Yep. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
And I want to know the same is true of my life (that’s right, I’m takin it to the “next level”)
I want to live on purpose!
So let’s get real. What the heck does that mean? Surely I’m not the first person to feel this way?
As a follower of Christ, I know my purpose comes from Him but, if you follow Him too you know, He isn’t always “Mr. Obvious” when it comes to laying out the future.
Jesus is more of a trailblazer than a trailrunner:
“See that nice smooth pavement Rachel? Ok. So do you see the woods to the left of it? Let’s stomp through those woods together.”
So as I nervously step (er.. stomp?) into the unknown, my mind races with all of the possible ways and people and places and scenarios that could bring purpose to my life, or rather, that God could use to direct me towards His purpose. I wonder who or where or what I might come across around the next corner. My heart beats with anticipation!
And then it hits me…
Why am I looking for this purpose? As if it’s some elusive thing God hasn’t already laid before me, as if it’s something that isn’t happening right now?
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
All of those people and places and scenarios do not become the means to finding my purpose, they are just threads knit into my purpose. God does not give me purpose for one season of my life and then leave me wandering helplessly for a few years until coming back and directing me again. But can I get an “AMEN” if you have ever felt like that?
Ah, but I can choose to wander, to stray to the “easy street” or even to sit and pout in the middle of the woods. Meanwhile Jesus continues to blaze His trail of purpose, unflinching and unwavering. He prepared it before hand that I should walk in it. Will I?
As my goal distance ticks off and I slow to a walk, I think: It’s just today.
As much as I wish every inch of my purpose will be bathed in grandiose stories and adventures, it is rather constructed from thousands and thousands of “todays.” Some lay forgotten and discarded as I wrongly dismissed them as pointless, others still glow with my affections, or glisten with my tears, but all of them make up my purpose, His purpose for me.
I’m not supposed to be looking for my purpose, I’m supposed to be living it.
And while it certainly remains true that we are to seek the Lord for direction and discernment in our lives may we beware of neglecting or ignoring the life He has given us today.
It’s OK to think of tomorrow, today — It’s just not OK to live in tomorrow, today.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
– Jesus (Matthew 6:34)
So, I dare you, reader, to stomp in the woods and follow Jesus TODAY. In His footsteps alone will you be treading in your purpose. Oh, and if you happen to see me try and cut my own path, please stop me and point me back to Him. Because, Lord knows, I have a terrible sense of direction.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8