Living a Life Of Purpose–On Purpose

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January–a good month to assess our lives, what we’re doing, how we’re doing, and what God wants us to be doing.

I like to make New Year’s resolutions. Plans, goals, ideas–I find them inspiring. The old adage that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail rings true to me–I’ve seen it played out in my life, haven’t you? If I make goals, write them down, think them through, I’m more likely to actually do them.

But maybe you’re one of the resolution haters. People usually fall off on one side or another. Well, hear me out and see if some of what I’m about to say makes sense.

The Bible speaks often about the brevity of life and the need to assess our own life frequently:

Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12.

“Teach us to number our days.” Our life here on earth is brief. I was reminded again just how brief it is last week, when I heard the heartbreaking report of a young man in his 30’s who died in a car accident in a town nearby. Newly married, well-liked in his job, healthy–and suddenly not here, leaving a widow, friends and family members to grieve.

Then my brother shared with me that a work associate of his passed away unexpectedly. Again, too young–in the prime of his life as they say. Gone.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget is that we, too, have an expiration date.  And because we don’t know when that is, we need to make each day count.

The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty…they are soon gone, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10

If our time is limited, what should we be doing? How do we know if what we’re doing are the ‘right’ things? Well, the Bible describes the essentials. Here are a few:

  • We’re to study God’s Word
    • “Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing each other…” Colossians 3:16
  • We’re to pray
    • “Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • If we’re a mom/wife, we’re to manage our homes
    • Managing the house is primarily our responsibility. 1 Timothy 5:14p
  • We’re to love our husbands and children
    • …As is loving our husbands and children. Titus 2:4
  • We’re to be in close community with our church
    • Hebrews 10:24 says we’re to stir one another to love and good works, and not neglect meeting together with the church.
  • We’re to care for our body
    • We were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

To summarize, my relationship with God, my responsibilities to my family and our church are the biggies. Exercise is the thing I need to do more of–always. But all other things need to come after I focus on these non-negotiables, giving my best attention, effort and time to them. God is eternal. People are eternal. Everything else is fluff.

Getting back to assessing…

One way to assess our life is to analyze what takes up our time right now. Maybe even write it all down. From sun up to sun down, think about your life in hour-long increments. What takes up your time?

When you write it all down, you might find you don’t have a lot of time for extras. Looking at it on paper is powerful because it shows us that we might need to learn to say no more often. So in addition to assessing the priorities we deem important, we might want to eliminate time or money wasters.

I’ll share one with you that I’m committing to eliminating this year.

It may seem like a little thing. But if I’m telling you in front of God and the world, then maybe I’ll be more likely to follow through. Here goes.

I’m going to stop coloring my hair.

Yep. I’m going gray. Or white, as it were. Might not rate in importance to global warming, but for me, saving time and money by giving up the bottle of my hairdresser’s hair dye will be kind of a big deal.

What is God calling you to do this year?

What is that one thing that keeps getting pushed aside? That little–or big–thing God is calling you to do?

Remember we are responsible for how we spend our time–not anyone else. We need to dictate what’s important—and how we spend the time God has given us. Because if we don’t, someone else will.

Here’s a little tool called “Your Ideal Week,” by Michael Hyatt. You can find it here. It’s a spreadsheet to map out your priorities. A visual. A plan. And maybe the secret sauce to help you actually do the important things, not just the urgent things.

Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Our time on earth is short.

As mothers, our time with our children goes by quickly.

Let me share a story about Annie that illustrates this. Many of you know that with her, our seventh child, I finally worked purposefully to teach her Bible verses, beginning at a younger age than I did with my other kids. By the time Annie was three and a half, she knew about thirteen bible verses.

Then she had a severe brain injury that took her intellect back to that of an infant, and then four years later, she passed away. The window of time to teach her was so much shorter than I ever dreamed it would be. Yet I believe those bible verses she learned, and would recite to me, were tucked away in her heart. I’m so grateful God motivated me to teach her.

Lord, help us to live each day with purpose, on purpose. Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

 

What thing is God calling you to do this year? Are there things He’s asking you to quit doing?

Jean

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4 Comments on “Living a Life Of Purpose–On Purpose

  1. You never cease to amaze me with your insight and practicality. Always an encourager and a visionary.
    Thank you for sharing and inspiring me.

  2. This post is a blessing. I’m going to use this list of priorities as my structure for 2016. Thank you for putting responsibilities in perspective.

    PS- I came across this blog because my name was Jean Sullivan for 38 years, until I married. My mother’s name was Jean Sullivan from 1944, when she married, until 2008 when she went to heaven. I so glad I found this! As Anne of Green Gables always sought — a kindred spirit!

    • Hi Jean–

      Thanks for your encouragement, and for sharing about your mother and our common names! Maybe all the Jean Sullivans will get our own table at the wedding banquet. Or maybe that’s why God said He’s going to give us new names in heaven–so we don’t all answer when He calls us. 😉

      Have a great 2016,

      Jean