Live life with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do.
– Ephesians 5:15 (Ph)
Don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance. – 2 Peter 3:17 (CEV)
Mr. Warren recaps the five purposes of your life in this chapter:
- “Love God with all your heart” – worship
- “Love your neighbor as yourself” – ministry
- “Go and make disciples” – evangelism
- “baptize them into . . .” – fellowship
- “teach them to do all things . . .” – discipleship
It’s not always easy to do what we know is the right thing. We might can do one or two of those above items much easier than the rest, but we are supposed to do them all. Big responsibility there! Do you have the strength to do all of those purposes? Honestly? I don’t think I have what it takes to go out into the world and gather people and bring them to God. I’m not a person who is comfortable out in public, getting people’s attention, telling perfect strangers about Jesus. These days, you have to be very careful what you say to people. We don’t want to offend. Ok, some of us don’t. Many don’t care if they offend. In fact, many thrive on offending. Crazy, huh?
I think we all have our comfort zones. Mine is writing. No interruptions. I am free to think and write and share my feelings on whatever I want and no one is watching me. I am pretty messed up when it comes to public speaking. Sometimes, even one-on-one, depending on whom I’m speaking with. Some people judge every word you say. I have people like this in my life and it grates on my nerves to hold a conversation with them at times. Ok, most of the time. Having every word that comes out of your mouth – critiqued!? How rude! Just let people have their say first, would you?! Then, you can have your say, but do not talk down to me as if I were a small child. Truthfully? I can see myself throttling that person in my mind or covering their mouth with tape until I’m finished talking! I spent my childhood being either constantly interrupted, as if I had nothing important to say or offer, or else I was ignored. I’m not blaming, here. I’m explaining why I’m messed up when it comes to speaking at times (not all the time – many times, I’m more outspoken than I probably need to be). So, these days, if I have something I simply must say, it spills out with passion and maybe too much passion, as if I must be heard. Other times, I might have something to offer, but keep it hidden, silent. Sometimes, I’m shy and don’t feel what I have to say is important enough to be heard or feel stupid sharing, or I’m simply just scared of being listened to, of being watched, I guess, because I’m not used to it. Weird, huh? That’s me. Weird. I live with it.
What I’m saying here is it’s so easy for me to share with written words. I can be just me. I can express myself with no one to interrupt or watch me. If people want to read it, that’s great. If no one wants to read it, that’s great, too. I’m cool with it, either way. Although, it is nice to get feedback once in a while, just to see that someone out there is reading it, other than me. Thanks to those of you who do give me feedback. Makes me feel I’m not so alone in the world. Nice to know there are people who share some of my feelings and get me. It’s nice to be understood, isn’t it? Not many people do get me. It is a good thing to relate to others.
Mr. Warren suggests talking it through with a spiritual partner or small group. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.” “We learn best in community. Our minds are sharpened and our convictions are deepened through conversation.”
We are supposed to give ourselves a regular spiritual check-up. “God places a high value on the habit of self-evaluation. We are “to regularly check the five vital signs of worship, fellowship, growth in character, ministry, and mission.”
“Write down your progress in a journal.” Keeping track of our path, can keep us on the correct path. It can also teach our future generations the correct path and what the wrong path may bring them. It’s good to keep a record of these things, especially if we are to help our future children and grandchildren. Life lessons for them – it’s a special gift. They do not have to make all the bad choices we made. People can learn from our mistakes. They should not have to experience them. Don’t you want your child to learn from your mistakes, without them having to make those same mistakes? We tell them about those mistakes, so they know what the wrong thing is, why it’s wrong and what the better thing to do is. It’s all about communicating.
Talk to your kids – about everything! I’ve probably shared too much with Hallie. Sometimes, I think I talk to her too much about life, about what I’ve done, about what’s out there, what’s going to tempt her, what’s right and wrong. The right and wrong part is good, but sometimes I think I share too much with her – she’s so young. I’ve always shared with her, since she was very little. Is this a good thing? I question myself. She’s a great kid, though. She is wise beyond her years and she tends to teach me more than I teach her. Maybe I’m doing ok by her. She’s pretty grounded. She can be a bit of a dreamer like me sometimes, and that’s ok, but she’s got a good head on her shoulders and she’s very honest and compassionate and she loves Jesus and people. What more could I ask? She tries to do her best and improve on herself and although I don’t think I’m the best parent in the world, I suppose I’m doing ok. I could stand a little improvement but I have a good little person to work with. She understands my weaknesses and she tries to help me improve in my weakened areas, as I try to help her. 😉
Keep those journals. I’m sure some of you are thinking you’d like to burn all of them before you die so no one will read them. I’ve thought this, myself. We have a duty to our future generations – pass on what you know. And not just to our children and grandchildren, but to people out in the world who need to know the truth. Spread the message.
Has this book helped you at all to better understand your purposes in this life? Don’t you think you owe it to others to help them understand their purposes? Many feel lost and useless and feel they do not have a purpose. I’m sure that is why there is so much suicide. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Oh, depression. I understand that enemy too well. Sometimes you cannot see any light. It’s complete darkness and it not only surrounds you, it consumes you. There is no light anywhere. Some do not understand the concept. I get that. I was married to one who thought depression was something you just need to “get over.” Not that easy. We are not always in control of our emotions, our feelings. Brain dysfunction? Chemical imbalance? Heredity? Environment? All the above?
When we have learned to get something under control by whatever means we need, be it antidepressants (didn’t work for me), therapy (didn’t work for me), focusing on your strengths, your happiness, your blessings, all the positives in your life, and mostly the love of God, Jesus, Hallie, Mama – all those people and things in your life that bring you pure, blissful joy (and writing, oh, and chocolate, coffee . . .) (and all those things work for me), isn’t it our job to get out there and help others where we have learned?
Each one of us has something to offer. Each one of us can contribute. Each one of us can improve this world we live in, one conversation at a time, planting one tree at a time, picking up garbage others left behind, offering a helping hand, holding open a door. I could go on and on. I’ll spare you. I’m just saying, when you think you have nothing to give, you could not be farther from the truth. You are special and you were created to do great things. God doesn’t make junk. You may not have found that thing in you that you feel comfortable sharing or you may feel you have nothing inside you. Find people who know you and ask them what you are good at, what your strengths are. Find some tools and tests to figure out what your strengths are. There is something you like doing or are good at, or are drawn to try. Never stop trying new things. You might eventually find that thing and be better at it than anybody else! You have a gift. In fact, you have many gifts.
I’m going to try to use some of my gifts today. I can be good at listening when someone needs to share, if I keep my mouth shut. 😉 I will pay attention today, to others. I’m going to try not to focus on myself at all, except the work that I need to do. If I have something that will help them relate, or just help them feel understood, that’s what I’ll do today. What will you do today to use any of your gifts?
Make it a completely awesome Thursday! It’s Friday Eve? Really? Wonderful! This week has gone by fast, huh?
Love you guys! *hug*