"Mama said there'll be days like these,
There'll be days like these, my mama said.
Mama said, mama said..."
When I get to feeling like this and want to spill all my
thoughts complaints into my journal, nowadays, before I do that, I take a moment to remember some of my favorite words the famous author, Rick Warren wrote in his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life:
It's not about you.
You remember that book, don't you? Do you remember that sentence? It's the first sentence of the first chapter and it's worth remembering. Every now and then, I revisit portions of that chapter, portions of that book. When I skim through chapter one I read,
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That's because we typically begin at the wrong starting point - ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like, What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose. The Bible says, It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone's life is in his power.
Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself...
Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose. The Bible says, Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
I have read many books that suggest ways to discover the purpose of my life. All of them could be classified as "self-help" books because they approach the subject from a self-centered viewpoint. Self-help books, even Christian ones, usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life's purpose: Consider your dreams. Clarify you values. Set some goals. Figure out what you are good at. Aim high. Go for it! Be disciplined. Believe you can achieve your goals. Involve others. Never give up.
Of course, these recommendations often lead to great success. You can usually succeed in reaching a goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life's purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world's standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you. You need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.
A case in point:
Perhaps you remember seeing that too?
It's easy to get wrapped up in the world's version of reality. Reorienting my brain with a Kingdom vision usually sets things aright for me. And if often starts with remembering that it really is not about me.