Living on Purpose

Intentionality. It's a word that has stuck with me ever since a discipleship school that I did last fall, as I was impacted by encountering a community seriously pursing and living it out with passion. I've always believed and pressed in for living my life with direction and vision, but I've realized that where intentionality is connected, it's slightly different. I see intentionality as this: the making of daily choices that feed that global vision and purpose for my life. Simply put, it's living on purpose and making decisions that reflect that. 

To me, this is exciting. This is how I want to live my life! Focused. Aware. Filled with direction. I want my days that God has given me to count, because they are a gift. What God has given you and I is there for a purpose. I want to challenge a seemingly pervasive mindset in our culture that champions "just making it through," seeking to maintain some sort of happiness. In fact, I believe that a life in Christ is meant to be filled with purpose and tons of sustainable joy. As Christ followers, we should be the most purposeful people, because that is what God gives... purpose!

So, just how do we foster intentionality in our lives? How do we go about living on purpose? I am sure there are a handful of ways. As I ponder on living our lives with intention, three things pop into my mind that I believe help fuel it:

  1. Having an eternal mindset.
  2. Tuning into God's vision for your life.
  3. Believing your life matters and that you are radically loved by God.

I notice that I feel the most focused and missional when these three things are aligned and thriving in my heart. It's when I most comprehend that my life is meant for so much more than simply wandering day to day. It's when I am most aware that my decisions in this life matter:

1. Having an eternal mindset. 

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20, NASB)

I remember the first time this verse really struck my heart. I was in Central Asia helping lead a missions team. It was refreshing to be out of my comfort zone as the only American present in a country whose first language in not English. It was here, walking its streets, that this revelation dropped in my spirit like a ton of bricks--I understood my citizenship is not here on earth, it's in heaven, and that my passport country isn't my identity. God can plant me anywhere on this earth and I could still be at home, because God is home. It was during this season of life that I understood that my actions can impact eternity with incredible significance because of the power of God. What does this mean? It's that conversation, that choice to go, that moment I let God use me, that choice to invest, that God could be using to change somebody's life, perhaps even usher them into eternity. Wow. This completely changes the way I do life. Suddenly, I am invited to not merely live for the here and now. (Which I don't mean not being present in the moment). Suddenly, my choice carries so much more significance than it ever has. I have an invitation to invest in eternity.  

2. Tuning into God's vision for your life.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6, NIV)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)

God has given each one of us gifts and abilities. Even more, these gifts and abilities were given to help steward a vision that God has spoken over our lives before we were born. I remember when I first came into contact with God's heart over my life. I had many ideas of what I thought I wanted to do, all with good intention. But, when I really encountered His vision for my life and the things He has called me to, everything changed. I've heard His voice in my spirit. It resounds within me. It makes sense. It's a yoke that fits easy, even when circumstances seem rough. God takes great joy in championing us, and I've found that as I journey on, God continues to confirm and encourage me again and again in what I've heard. I find that calling and destiny is a continual unfolding, but that we can make daily choices that feed them. And, as we stay close to Jesus and submit our decisions to Him, we will know when to step and when to wait. When I know what I've been called to and truly believe it, I will make decisions that reflect that. How do we know God's vision for our lives? I believe there are many ways God confirms it, but what I do know is that sitting is at His feet, seeking His heart, and pursuing intimacy with Him is the most certain of ways. All we need to do is ask. And might I add that vision is not only what we do in this life. It's also the things we value, like investing in family, relationship, creativity, amidst other things. I believe all these things make up vision. For example, community is a value I hold dear. It's a vision I have for my life--to invest in and be a part of community. When I hone in on what I value, my decisions will also reflect that. It's when I draw near to Jesus that I understand what He's placed inside my heart, what I value, and allow Him to shape that. 

3. Believing our life matters and that we are radically loved by God.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10, NASB)

I am convinced that a person who knows they are loved will walk with confidence and seemingly do just about anything. Because love casts out fear, and ultimately, it's the perfect love of God that casts out fear in our lives, enabling us to walk with confidence, purpose, and clarity. (1 John 4:18) When we understand God's love for us, we will walk differently. We will act differently. We will carry ourselves differently. I believe it's in this place we are aware that our lives matter, which will in turn cause us to make decisions and live like our lives matter. When we truly believe we are radically loved by God, we will believe our actions matter, our voice matters, what God has placed inside matters, because it's all a gift from His heart, nothing we've earned, simply given out of love. 

These things--eternal perspective, vision, believing we're loved--I believe will help us live our lives with intention, in addition to others, I'm sure. (Even now, I can think of a few!) And these things become the most clear and abundant to me when I spend time in God's presence, hearing the voice of the Father over my life, and investing in intimacy with Him. Nothing on this earth can supplant intimacy with God, and nothing can replace hearing from God Himself when it comes to our lives. What God speaks, everything else will come into alignment with, not vice versa. Prayer is the atmosphere for which revelation and growth is imparted into our lives. I love that in these areas and beyond, we can ask God for, and He will be faithful to do it.

Life with God is a partnership. I want to partner with God in stewarding my life well. I want to live with intention. I want to experience the fullness of all God has planned for my life this side of eternity. I want to partner with Him in seeing His kingdom invade earth. I want to live on purpose. Let's live intentionally. How do you experience intentionality fueled in your life?