My five year blogging anniversary is coming up soon. Which means, five years ago, I woke up and realized I had everything I wanted but I wasn’t happy. Not in a something is wrong, UNhappy kind of way – just in a restless, unfulfilled, purpose-less way.
And so I started this blog around the concept of never letting life pass you by, living intentionally, and constantly pursuing happiness. I hoped that blogging would keep me accountable to this pursuit. And, I guess it was successful, as I dedicated an alarmingly selfish amount of my life these last five years to pursing my happiness – to learning, to adventuring, to loving, to eating, to creating, to helping.
During my blogging journey, I’ve talked to so many of my peers who face this similar restless feeling. Growing up, my generation was taught that we could do anything, be anyone, change the world. We went to college with ambitious dreams of how we could leave our mark on humanity.
In many ways, we’ve accomplished what we thought we wanted. We’ve entered the career we want. Or we’ve found the spouse and the kids we dreamed of. We’re emerging as the active figures and leaders in our communities and churches. And yet, it doesn’t feel the way we thought it would. So, we desperately cry out to figure out what God’s plan is for our life; what our purpose on this Earth is. Surely, it must be bigger than this.
I’m currently reading a book – Restless by Jennie Allen – about realizing your purpose, contentment, and happiness, specifically in the context of fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.
As I’ve read it, I’m realizing that for once I actually feel purposeful, settled, and content in this little life I have. I always thought it would be some big finish line I crossed; some big accomplishment. But, it seems it crept up on me without my awareness. (And, how ironic that the most content time in life comes at a time that it is also full of pain and frustration. Never have I better understood the lyrics It is well with my soul.)
It finally hit me that my sense of purpose and happiness came about when I stopped searching so fiercely for it. Instead, it came when I started pursing God before myself. When I stopped worrying about me and my contribution and my legacy and how it all makes me feel.
I used to think of Christianity as hard – so many dos and don’ts, too many rules, and too many things to fail at. As I’ve matured in my relationship with Christ, I so plainly see now how simple his life, death, resurrection made it for us. Love God, love others, go into all the world.
That’s it. That’s our purpose on this Earth.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not complicated. And there are a million different ways to fulfill this purpose. It’s going to Ethiopia to feed the hungry; it’s taking dinner to your neighbor. It’s starting a non-profit for at-risk youth; it’s volunteering in your church’s nursery. It’s entering full-time ministry; it’s praying for your community. It’s helping start an orphanage; it’s adopting; it’s raising your kids the best you can. It’s doing – using your time, talents, energy, resources – for God.
Instead of getting tangled up in the details, worrying whether it’s enough, and trying to overcomplicate our purpose – thus losing the purpose and contentment altogether – focus on loving God fervently, loving others always, and going into this world and doing for the Kingdom. However we can, wherever we can, whenever we can.