Have you ever met people who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life? I have a friend who I met when we were just teenagers. It was so apparent to me he was meant to create music. I remember sitting in the music room pretending I could harmonize, while watching my friend light up while he sang and created in ways that were clearly out of the box. It was so clear who he was going to be in his life.
That same year, we had a retreat where I spent the entire weekend forcing a thought on what I should do with my life. If I had racked my brain any harder I’m sure I would’ve popped a blood vessel (it’s still up for debate if I did). All I could come up with was generic answers about changing the world. I was disappointed and frustrated in myself that I couldn’t figure it out.
A few years ago I had a particularly intense year and decided to take a solo vacation. As an extrovert, taking a week to not talk to a soul was a new experience for me. My mind would wander most at night. I’d sneak down to the beach and lay in the cool sand watching the moon shimmy behind the floating clouds. I wrote and I thought a lot, hoping I’d get the answer to the question that still miffed me, “What am I supposed to do with my life?”
You never forget the moment the purpose giver speaks to the purposeful. It wasn’t a glamorous moment. In fact, I almost missed it. I had come from the bathroom to walk down the stairs to play a pick up game of volleyball when the thought brushed quietly through my mind – your greatest purpose is to love.
How simple? How broad? Isn’t that even cliché? I knew that I was to love, but when I stopped to really think about it I realized how revolutionary that thought was.
Matthew 22:36-39 (ESV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
My whole life I was looking for something totally different. I was looking for significance in doing something. The “great calling” that would be significant, and bring me significance. When truly the key in this scripture reminded me that it starts with love. In my short-minded thinking, my “calling” had more to do with doing something, versus responding to the one who called me.
I realized that if our purpose is to truly to love, then being an artist, a mother, or a mayor is a way to express and give it. We certainly can do all those things that we are gifted at well, but without love we won’t be fulfilled in our purpose. And who knows maybe you are so gifted, you may just change those avenues and methods a few times in your lifetime.
Our purpose isn’t to prove the value of our existence by doing things. Our purpose is acknowledging the value of our existence by loving. At the end of my life, I don’t think I’ll ask if I got it all right, but I’m certain I’ll reflect back and wonder if I loved well.
Jessica currently resides in Orange County, CA, where she is on the Propel creative team. She’s enjoyed life's adventures and has traveled extensively, is an avid art enthusiast, and cares deeply about french fries and coconut milk ice cream. To see more snippets of her world, follow Jessica on Instagram.