I’ve been pretty introspective the past few days, not that this is terribly uncharacteristic of me. I’ve had a lot of time and space to myself to think, pray and write. There is something about the prospect of getting married that has motivated me to deal with issues that have long plagued me; I think it comes out of a desire to be at my “best” come August 11th out of love for Chris, but also because there are certain habits and insecurities of mine that I am just sick and tired of living with. Do you ever feel that way?
You see, right now, I have an inordinate amount of time.
Time to plan my wedding, time to read, time to watch television, time to bake, time to pursue just about any hobby I fancy, and of course, time to blog. And way too much time to think. I don’t foresee having another such abundance of time for many decades, to tell you the truth, unless of course I contract some terrible disease and am bedridden for months on end. But even that wouldn’t be the same as this season in Sarasota. It seems a fitting time to confront an issue that has hovered over my shoulder for years: finding purpose in the everyday.
When I say “purpose,” I mean it with a capital P. I could make a list of goals (and I frequently do) and decide to accomplish them in a given day, week or month, but the sense of purpose fades just about as long as it takes to write out my list of lofty to-dos. Having been extremely goal-oriented in high school, and to some extent in college, I know well the lure of perfectionism and success. But even now as I am about to officially graduate, the figurative “sweat and blood” (and all too literal anxiety and tears) that it took to live up to my self-imposed standards tempt me to ask the terrifying question – was it worth it?
Of course it was “worth” certain results, like going to the college where I met my future husband and a few dear friends, and now being on my way to attending J-School at Medill to pursue my (finally) chosen career, but what I refer to is the value of my striving. Try as I might to dedicate my school work to God, too often, my personal pursuits feel far too personal to be purposeful – i.e. they are all about me. My transcript. My accomplishments. My goals.
The beauty of this present season is that the stress of having to prove myself (to myself) is lifted. But with that comes questions. What is the point of today? What is the point of my life? I could boil it down to a Christian catch-phrase or catechism, but life (or my life at least) is too complicated to fit into those molds, because the questions about the purpose of today versus the purpose of my life tend to produce different sentiments. I pray that my life glorifies God, but how does this worthy purpose play out in the often mundane details of today or tomorrow? I intend to blog continuously about this in the coming weeks, maybe months. This issue has many simple and obvious answers but it does not always come so easily to me. Therefore, I am convinced that this series will benefit at least one other person out there, somewhere.
I could ramble for weeks, but instead I will end with a question, thankfully not from my own troubled psyche, to be addressed at length on a later day.
How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? – Jesus Christ, to the Pharisees. John 5:44