Tag Archives: purpose

Cart Before Horse, Etc.

Most of us live our lives in a quest for some kind of wholeness. So we bumble along trying to chase down ‘success,’ status, experiences or stuff; We may seek a ‘higher plane of consciousness,’ more rational understanding, a better theological system. Whatever the category, our quest usually ends up being about the kind of ‘more’ that’s never enough.

The good news that either nobody’s bothered to tell us or that we’ve rejected is that we can be ALREADY whole because God ALREADY loves us…and how more whole can there be than that?

Accepting his love frees us to live life according to who we ALREADY are. Our lives become no longer a quest FOR wholeness, but an expression OF wholeness. It’s simply a matter of getting the horse in front of the cart.

And now you know the theme of my present manuscript.

cart and horse

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Purpose and Meaning; the difference matters

I often hear people say, ‘What’s my purpose in life?’ or, ‘What does life mean?’  purpose

It’s helpful to not confuse purpose and meaning. Purpose is about intention. It’s an interior motivation that directs our choices toward an end. Meaning is about effect. It’s an external conferring of value to things we have done.

Many of us are so desperate to make our lives ‘mean’ something that meaningfulness becomes our purpose. By confusing purpose with meaning this way, we end up spending our time desperately trying to control our life’s effect. If our lives are characterized by frustration, disappointment, intensity, depression, et al, then we probably have done just that.  The truth is, we can’t make our lives meaningful.  As Stonewall Jackson famously said, ‘Duty (commitment to purpose) is ours, the consequences (effects) belong to God.’ In the end, what our lives will have meant will be determined by others.

However, we can make our lives truly purposeful. We can decide to live our lives according to a different intention. Historic Christianity claims that the primary purpose of humans is to enjoy harmony with God.  Living according to this intention leaves little room to obsess about the meaningfulness of our Selves. Now, to be sure, it is satisfying to be recognized, to be successful, to achieve. But as Jesus said, ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God (harmony with God) , then all these other things (the satisfactions of meaningfulness and more) will come to you.’


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