Prayer for Purpose
A quick note before the post…
We have a new member of our family, Lily! Mat and I have been happily occupied getting to know Lily. I look forward to sharing more about what she is teaching me about this divine adventure. A most blessed and abundant Thanksgiving to all.
Purpose is something we might work a lifetime to define and yet it’s so much a part of who we are it’s easy to overlook. Purpose is one of those things that no one can give to you, but that you have to recognize within- by listening to your heart- to God.
Often, our purpose isn’t popular or conventional. That’s why it takes courage to honor one’s purpose even if everyone else doesn’t get it or support it. And though we might feel in conflict with the people around us, the world needs us to live with integrity to this calling.
This line about purpose stuck out to me in the recent watching of Martin Scorsese’s 2011 film, Hugo Cabret, based on Brian Selznick’s book Hugo Cabret.
The main character Hugo, a young orphan, explains to his friend,
“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means that you have to be here for some reason, too.”
What an encouraging reminder, there are no extra parts to divine creation! No idea can be wasted, no person is a loser, and no good intent can be lost. We function and belong to God’s intelligent creation. Our purpose is a blessing to other people and we are blessed by their commitment to something beyond themselves.
Mary Baker Eddy speaks to this idea of purpose in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
“Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear.” SH 506:18
In our lives and work, maybe we start out on a project, a paper, or with a new assignment without a clear sense of direction- but as we align our purpose with God we find things unfold in a way that blesses.
In another part of her writings Eddy posits the following statement in response to the question, “What am I?”
“I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.” My 165:18
How great to see that purpose isn’t so much the activity or work that start with ambition but stem from the qualities of “truth, health, and happiness” that we impart each day. This is much bigger than a resume or an evaluation.
I had a conversation with an artist friend this summer on this theme of purpose. She’s now doing her art full-time and has discontinued other teaching engagements and other work in her field to focus exclusively on large graphite drawings of coastal rocks.
From her comments, I gathered that it hasn’t been easy to narrow the scope of her work as she has many interests- not to mention the challenge of finding time to do her work, maintain a website, do shows in galleries and keep up with personal commitments
When I asked her pointedly, “Why choose rocks? Why this subject matter and medium?” She responded that this was her calling. This specific technique and subject matter was, “…what was in my heart.”
This said to me that there was more than a professional purpose or artist statement driving her work, she has a “holy purpose.” This conversation helped me to remember the value of my work and like any good machine- each part helps and works together to show us more of the intelligent creator who is God.