Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Purpose Filled Life

A breeze swept across the parking lot and I put my book down and held my arms out to let the wind cool me down. No use. I was sitting under a tree next to my favourite café, but the shade made little difference. The scorching sun and humidity made my body feel like oil in a frying pan. If it hadn’t been so windy it would’ve been intolerable to sit outside. As it was, I wondered if it was time to head back inside to the air conditioned café.

The summer had been an enjoyable one so far, and I spent most of my days writing and reading, a writer’s dream. Lately however, I’d been getting restless. Restless to start my new life in Toronto, restless to be a student again, restless to get all the hassles of moving out of the way. The more I thought about it however, the more I realized that the real part of me that felt so filled with angst was the part of my God given nature that said I was born to do something. Something other than enjoying the weather and writing and reading.

As much as I love to write, as much as I believe that it is an important part of who I am, when I’m not interacting with other people, I get restless. This sense that we can be lone Christian rangers is a fallacy. We were born to be in community, and not only in community, but in community with a purpose.

The shade started to creep back, and I moved my chair back to the patio and headed inside. The blast of cold air made me shiver as I strolled through the entrance. A couple of the baristas yelled at me from across the empty café, and I exchanged some friendly banter with them before finding a table.

I’d never liked Rick Warren a whole lot, but when his second book, a Purpose Filled Life began to set publishing records, I picked up a copy and tried to read it with an open mind. Well, I remember saying to myself when I’d finished it, I’m still not a big fan. However, there were two ideas in his book that were worth the price tag.

1. God has a purpose for your life.

2. It’s not about you.

I don’t like the chatter of many Christians when they tell me God has a plan for my life. Is it a detailed plan? If I deviate from the script, what happens then? Am I still on The Plan? It sounds like something a financial advisor would tell me, and allows for too many wing nuts to deliver monologues about how every little detail of my life (where I park?) is part of God’s PLAN. That said, I do believe God has a purpose for our life, that we were created for a reason. Purpose is more general, and implies that we choose our life. God is perhaps less interested in our daily schedule than the state of our heart wherever we find ourselves. And when we are not living with purpose, we can not be fulfilled.

In tune with that is the important B-side to Rick Warren’s album. It isn’t about me. It’s about the people around me, and so long as my life revolves around me, I won’t be content.

I walked to the counter and ordered my second coffee of the day. I checked my watch. 2:06 pm. Yep. Restless indeed. In two weeks I’d be living somewhere else, and in a month I’d be back in school in a strange city going after my dreams. For now however, my life was starting to fill strangely devoid of purpose. I fixed my coffee and took it back to the table. I pulled out my cell and scrolled through some numbers. It was time to connect, call a few friends, and see if I could encourage someone, because no matter where I was living, people were the real purpose in my life, whether I liked Rick Warren or not.