I remember several years ago hearing the spiritual writer/teacher Marianne Williamson speak about her fear of discovering her purpose. She was sure it must involve moving to India, renouncing all her earthly possessions, becoming celibate, and wearing scratchy, shapeless garments that made her look ridiculous. (For those of you who know anything about Marianne, you'll recognize right away that that would not have been a good fit for her). Our life purpose is what we're designed to do, and it feels satisfying when we're engaged in it.
Interestingly, the idea that our higher purpose must involve sacrifice, is quite common. Many people who are actively involved in their life purpose feel guilty about accepting payment for products or services that are the fruit of their divine labor. They recoil at the idea, apparently feeling more comfortable doing something they hate, for money (sound like prostitution?), than making an honest living doing what they love. Where did we get that idea, anyway? Wouldn't we be more available to serve the world meaningfully if we were relaxed and in alignment with our purpose? If we weren't squeezing it in between dreaded obligations?
Of course, there are many other potholes on the road to identifying and living our higher purpose. The following are just a few:
- Often we associate "work" with something we have to do, and not what we love to do.
- We think of work in terms of general job descriptions, and not in terms of the unique talents we might possess.
- We get caught up in status issues, picking a prestigious-sounding career over creating a purposeful one.
- We invalidate what comes naturally to us, thinking, "Anyone could do that. It's not career-worthy."
- We become overly influenced by the expectations, norms, and values of our family, friends, gender, culture, and place in society.
- And some of us get tripped up by the limiting idea that our God-given purpose shouldn't be associated with, what my grandmother called, "that old, dirty money."
This week, I ask you to consider whether you are living your purpose, and if so, are you thriving at it? Ideally, when we're fully engaged in our life purpose, life gets easier and we feel at peace. Money, opportunities, love, and joy flow in, as if by divine dispensation. Sure, life still has it's ups and downs, but we are able to ride the waves, knowing that the boat we're in is the one best suited for us and our life.
Good luck, and have a purposeful week.