Let’s compare two excursions:
The first is a spontaneous picnic and play day in the valley.
You toss a bunch of stuff into the car and take off. Much of the stuff is unnecessary, but it doesn’t matter since conservation of space isn’t an issue.
You’ve got plenty of room in your car, you’re not hiking anywhere, so hey, throw it all in. If you don’t use it, no problem.
The second is a meticulously-planned summit of Mount McKinley in Alaska. Standing at 20,237 feet above sea level, it’s the highest peak in North America.
A father and his seven-year-old son spent the day exploring the Arizona desert, driving in an old truck down dusty back roads to overlook the Grand Canyon.
At dusk, they turned around and used their crude, homemade map to navigate the back roads home.
After a couple miles, they reached an unfamiliar fork in the road. The father was not certain which way they had come. He felt nervous as the darkness began to fall, knowing he would need light to make it home.
“Why are you so emotional?” nine-year-old Libby moans. “Just keep reading!”
I fight to gain my composure. Deep breaths. I pick up the book again and continue:
Just as I took hold of the halter rope to be on my way again, I heard Daisy humming. She was in her playhouse up on the hillside…
“As I stood there listening to her clear voice ring out over the valley, I happened to glance down at the raw, red wound in my pony’s leg. Like a bolt of lightning, it hit me.
One line in a short film I watched this week thwacked my consciousness and plunged me deep into thought.
A teenager is hitchhiking on a quest to meet his birth mother for the first time.
After a long and frustrating walk, he is finally offered a ride. But he reconsiders when he sees the shady character in the car sporting frightening tattoos all over his face and hands.
Tell me if you can relate to this: You want to make a difference in the world. You’re willing to do hard work and persist through thick and thin.
In short, you have the desire and willingness to live a great purpose — if you only knew what to do.
You hear people talking about living their “Soul Purpose” or fulfilling their “Life’s Task.”
But you don’t feel like you know yourself enough to know what your true purpose is. You’re still trying to figure out what your talents and gifts are.
Caesar Barber didn’t want to die. So he filed a lawsuit.
Barber, a maintenance supervisor, weighs 272 pounds. He has diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol, and he suffered two heart attacks before the age of fifty-six.
Barber’s health problems, he claimed in his lawsuit, were caused by fast-food corporations. He said,
When I watched little Tsung Tsung, I had the thought that we need to update Benjamin Franklin’s quote.
Sometime between 1732 and 1758 Franklin wrote in his popular publication, Poor Richard’s Almanack:
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”
“I have more to show you,” the old gardener said, motioning for me to follow him.
We walked along a wood-chip path that took us behind his shed.
He pointed to a big pile of dead, brown, shredded leaves.
“What do you see?”
I shrugged. “Looks like shredded leaves.”
He looked down at his boots, shook his head, and snorted.
“All you ever see is what your eyes can see. Look closer.”
You’ve heard the phrase, “Life is passing you by” — like you’re standing on a platform while the train of life barrels past you.
But have you ever felt the opposite — like you’re passing by your life? Like you’re on the train, whizzing past the most important moments of your life?
Two things happened this week that have me looking back with longing, aching to jump off the train and stand still in each precious moment.
Living on purpose is the only fulfilling way to live.
Therefore, your highest, most persistent quest should be to find your God-given purpose, which is the combined answers to these four questions:
- What was I born to say?
- Who was I born to serve?
- What was I born to create?
- What is the highest and best use of my unique combination of values, knowledge, passion, talents, and skills?
But there’s a major problem with this perspective, which, ironically, can often paralyze rather than empower us.