This post is the continuation of a larger conversation about discovering how to live the good life, finding our identity and purpose in this world to live the good life. You can read the prior posts here, here, and here.
Starting point. Right now, we’re talking about our purpose for being on this earth. The starting point for the existence of humanity is to love God and to be loved by God. When we read the first five chapters of the Bible we see that God intimately created us, in his image. He breathed his life into us. He gave us authority and autonomy. Then he hung out with us. Until we screwed it all up.
Once things were screwed up, he still wanted us to be with him. To get from our sin to his heaven, we needed a bridge. The bridge was Jesus. Jesus’ torture and execution were a perfect example of the beautiful and terrible in this world. It was beautiful because he was a perfect expression of love, as a sacrifice on our behalf. It was terrible because he was tortured and murdered on our behalf.
Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live well. He showed us what it means to follow God’s instructions. His death and resurrection gave us a renewed purpose – go and tell the good news. The good news is all he has done for us. He taught us to serve others. He made being a Jesus follower as simple as it could possibly be: love God and love your neighbor. He gave us a great commission.
The Great Commission. Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20, NLT.
As Christians, we are called to share our testimony, our story of redemption, with other people. We share the good news that we were sinners and now we are counted as righteous and have been forgiven. We share our pain, our healing, and our hope with others. Our purpose is found at the intersection of what Jesus did for us and what we’re supposed to do with that in response. This is where we find our life’s purpose and what makes us believe our lives matter.
Our Testimony. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. Revelation 12:11, NLT.
All of us are uniquely positioned to tell the good news of Jesus, our savior. We were lost, we were broken, we were hurt, we were suffering. We lived this way for some time. Then we found Jesus and he healed us. We found Jesus and we have a new life. We found Jesus and we are righteous in God’s eyes. We found Jesus and we are loved, forgiven, we are whole.
Finding Jesus after a life of pain is like placing the period at the end of a sentence. It ends the prior sentence and signals a new beginning. That’s the good news that we are commissioned to share.
My Testimony. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28, NLT.
I discovered my purpose for being on this earth by accident. I knew there had to be a purpose for my life because I had survived three suicide attempts and domestic violence when I was young. I stopped trying to kill myself because I began to believe that God wanted me to stick around for a while. I then survived a domestic violence relationship in my twenties.
I got out of my domestic violence relationship, pursued school, and graduated in 2014 with my law degree. That year, I also passed the bar, took the oath, and then got downsized from my job. I was a new lawyer and newly unemployed. I passed a sign every day that said “look for God’s plan in your next interruption.” My interruption was here and now. God opened a path for me to become self-employed. So, I went in that direction.
One day, I decided to pray to God and tell him “use me for your purposes.” I was listening to the radio, a preacher came on talking about this prayer was the most dangerous prayer a person could pray. My response was: challenge accepted. I had no idea what I was getting into, I thought God was already using me for his purposes. I had no idea how much bigger God’s plan was than what I was living.
Immediately, my life began to change. I went to church more, I had a deepening desire to learn more about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. In my quest to learn I began a course of study with classes offered by my church: Alpha, on the basics); What am I Here For, a focus on purpose and a book by Rick Warren; A Follower’s Life, a class for learning what it means to follow Jesus; and Emotionally Happy Spirituality, which is self-explanatory.
As I began the Rick Warren class, I felt like I was being directed to write. Several things happened all at once: My book was signed by Pastor Rick with a verse reference of Proverbs 19:21. When I looked it up it was: You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Then, I was at a used book store and came across a Purpose Driven Life journal that was part of the study. I bought it and the opening page had another verse: Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done so that people not yet born will praise him. (Psalm 102:18 GNT.) A couple of days later, my pastor gave a sermon on finding your purpose and looking for God’s plan when you’re interrupted.
I began to write out my story of abuse, recovery, and finding God, and then finding his healing. I started doing research on domestic violence. I would rush home from work to read and work on this project. I was becoming burned out and disillusioned with my job at the same time I was becoming engaged with this other project.
I continued reading the Bible and found myself running across verses and then writing a few paragraphs about my story. In late 2017, I began writing in earnest. Every spare moment was taken by writing my story out in response to the verses I came across. My story and my writing became a series of devotions that eventually formed a book.
When I began writing that book I was in recovery for about nine years. I had also been in relationship and recommitted to Jesus for about five years. I had discovered who I was, what my issues were, and I knew what I liked to do most in this world. There was still much I needed to know but God was guiding me where I needed to be. He was about to use my mess for a message.
I had a desire to write a book for years, without any real understanding about a topic or a plan. When I was a kid, I entered competitions or submissions and I would win. When I was a kid, I wanted to write but had completely forgotten about it. I knew I was good at writing and that I liked it but it was not on my radar as something to do for a living. I have always been good at writing and research. I loved it so much that I wanted to go to law school to be a lawyer so that I could research and write as much as possible. When asked what my dream job would be, my response is always research and writing. I don’t want to do anything else.
I’ve recently heard “a fish discovers water last.” I heard this from Greg McKeown on the Essentialist podcast. What it basically means is that this was the thing that was so easy that I didn’t realize it was a thing that I could do for work. Writing was so natural for me that I didn’t even consider it as a job. Writing is not necessarily easy, but it fits well into my personality.
Back to burnout and disillusionment. When I didn’t do what God had created for me to do, I became exhausted and burned out. My business was not profitable for a while so I decided to close it and work for someone else. I was disillusioned with the way the law worked and I wanted to just go make money. I thought that if I cared less and made more money, I’d be happier. That was the way the rest of the world seemed to work. I was very wrong.
Chasing money, I crashed and burned. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and I could not keep going chasing money. I quit my job in January 2020 with the consent of my then-fiance. I had the intention of going back to work after we got back from our honeymoon. However, two weeks after getting married, we were quarantined for the Covid-19 pandemic along with the rest of the world.
I decided to declutter and organize our things and finish writing and editing my book. I hadn’t written or worked on my book since I took that new job in May 2019. It was time. I felt a strong desire to finish telling the story of what Jesus had done for me. It was work but it was refreshing work. I learned to ask God to tell me what to say and how best to say it.
Through this process, I learned and realized that my purpose for living is to tell my story to bring hope to other people through my writing. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been considering for the last year, how I came to this understanding. That’s the subject of our next conversation.
What do you think? Have you been following along? Where are you in your Living the Good Life Journey? Leave a comment below and enter the conversation. I’d love to hear from you.