Saturday, December 22, 2007

Finding Purpose in Life

Dr. Rick Warren wrote a book a few years ago called the "Purpose Driven Life" that made it to the best seller list. Since that book was released, having purpose in life seems to be a hot topic on the Internet.

What is purpose? According to the dictionary one of it's definitions is the reason for which something exists. Being alone as a single and dealing with loneliness, it's pretty tough to find the reason for existence, isn't it? So why are we here? Where do we find purpose? Here are a few thoughts from my own life.

I've learned that finding meaning and purpose in life cannot be dependent upon the people or relationships around us. For my own life, taking care of my elderly mother before she passed away gave me purpose. But when she died, it left a hole. Being married and taking care of my husband and a home gave me purpose, but when my marriage ended and I was no longer wanted, it left a hole. Taking care of my son gave me purpose, but then he grew up, left home, and got married. It created an empty nest and another hole. I lost all of those three things in my life in the period of a few years -- my mother, my marriage, my son leaving home. The result? I ended up on anti-depressants and in a counselor's chair. I found out the hard way that I was drawing my purpose in life from the relationships around me, and when those relationships ended, I had nothing left. No purpose for existence.

Nothing has changed much in my life. My parents are still buried, my nest is still empty, my bed is still cold. But you know what? I'm off those little white pills and out of the counselor's chair and on with my life because I've learned a valuable and hard lesson. Our meaning for living and the purpose to continue with life can't be contingent upon others. Why? People die, people leave us, people change. Life has a way of not being constant. It's always evolving and changing. If that's the case, our purpose in life has to be rooted in something more deeper and meaningful so we can survive.

For now, instead of finding purpose through a mate, I find purpose in what I do, who I am, and what I can give others. It's not contingent upon who is in my life or not. I depend upon my Creator for purpose and not in the frailty of human relationships to give me a reason to exist.

Watch where you draw your purpose in life from. Find eternal purposes and not transient purposes. Anchor yourself upon a rock and not on shifting sands. Then you'll always have a reason for being and the joy to face another day alone.