Living Life With Purpose

Recently I’ve been reading a book (or several, I should say) called “Achieving Your Life Mission” by Randal A. Wright. There is a lot of talk about God, the mission we were sent here to earth to do and how to find that mission. While reading it I found a burning desire to wake up every day with a new purpose to fulfill what I think I was sent here to earth to do. This book helped give meaning and direction to my life. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” I think when we do these things is when we find happiness. What did God send you to earth to do?

I believe that all things have purpose, even if we have limited understanding. The definition of purpose is, “The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” (Google dictionary). Mark Twain is believed to have said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born…and the day you find out why.” Finding your purpose may sound cliché, but when you wake up every morning, do you wake up excited and ready to tackle the day, or do you wake up dreading the tasks laid out before you?

I don’t think that all days will be merry and bright. I don’t believe all days will be filled with easiness and comfort. I do believe that when you have a purpose and a focus on others and your mission in life, something within helps you to face the mundane and ordinary days that inevitably come.

So how do we find our purpose? I think it is wise to remember what is said in the book of Matthew, “Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). When we die, our bodies will go to the grave. When we die, our “mansions”, possessions, and money will be left behind to those here on earth. When we die, our knowledge, the way we treated and spent time with people, etc. will be allowed to come with us. Where is our heart? Goethe, a German writer and salesman said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” I have often read in books from stories of successful people who at the end of their life wished they had spent more time with their children or spouse, even though what they contributed to the world was magnificent and great.

An author for Forbes, Margie Warrell, asks four questions to help you find your purpose.

  1. What makes you come alive?
  2. What are your innate strengths?
  3. Where do you add the greatest value?
  4. How will you measure your life?

She then continued to say, “Ultimately, living with purpose means focusing on things that matter most. Ironically, the things that matter most are rarely “things.” That said, while some people are in a position to trade the security of a regular salary in order to pursue a passion, many simply can’t–at least not in the short term or without violating core values (like paying off debt or providing for their family). But following the money and following your heart don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By shifting the lens in which you view what you are doing now, you can profoundly shift your experience in it. No matter what your job, you can draw meaning from it and find greater purpose through how you do what you do. If you don’t think you’re the kind of person you’d want to work with, then consider that it may not be because of the job you do each day, but your attitude toward it.

Knowing your purpose may compel you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you. Just as a boat under power can handle any size wave if perpendicular to it, when you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do.”

With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). We can find what our purpose is. We can choose to get up each day and be filled with God’s love so that we can fulfill his purpose for us. When we master our self-control, the Master himself guides us into valleys of opportunities and endless blessings. Therefore, “The purpose of life, is a life of purpose.” (Robert Byrne).

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.

Living Life With Purpose

 

 

 

You Are Doing Better Than You Think You Are

Recently I found a journal that had entries ranging from Jr. High up till I started college. As I read through all the journal entries, my initial reaction was to be embarrassed. My behaviors and thoughts were immature. It was obvious I was a much younger version of myself, though we all know I can still be pretty immature. I remembered a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in October 2017. He spoke:

“Leo Tolstoy wrote once of a priest who was criticized by one of his congregants for not living as resolutely as he should, the critic concluding that the principles the erring preacher taught must therefore also be erroneous.

In response to that criticism, the priest says: “Look at my life now and compare it to my former life. You will see that I am trying to live out the truth I proclaim.” Unable to live up to the high ideals he taught, the priest admits he has failed. But he cries:

“Attack me, [if you wish,] I do this myself, but [don’t] attack … the path I follow. … If I know the way home [but] am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way simply because I am staggering from side to side?

“… Do not gleefully shout, ‘Look at him! … There he is crawling into a bog!’ No, do not gloat, but give … your help [to anyone trying to walk the road back to God.]”

Some Things Don't Change

Some Things Don’t Change

I was reminded that we are all on a path and as long as we are walking along it, we are doing okay, even if we are staggering. I am reminded how far I’ve come, and in more ways than one.

I found a letter in my journal from a teacher for an achievement award in 9th grade that said:

“Megan has been in my classes the last 3 years. She is very dependable and a hard worker, who always does her best. She helps those around her and is always willing to help anyway possible. She is positive, energetic and very fun to have around. She is one of those students that you love to have in class. Megan is looked up to by her peers. Because Megan is so trustworthy, I have also had Megan as a Student Aide. She is a good example of leadership and behavior. She has lots of friends which shows how well she is respected. Megan is extremely nice, kind-hearted, thoughtful and considerate.”

When I found this letter, my heart smiled and I was grateful for this teacher who wrote such a thoughtful letter.  Though I have come far and I feel I am a different person than I was in my teenage years, I’m not far from the person I was then or when I was born. I am me and will always be that person. The same characteristic traits my 9th grade teacher described of me for the most part still ring true today. They are a part of who I am. I can’t change that.

As I was pondering these experiences, I had a thought of how I always ask in my prayers to “Help me become the person I need to be.” The thought was followed with this important truth. You are who I need you to be. Be the person I made you to be NOW.” God equips us with what we need right now to be who we need to be. I can be the wife I need to be because I was given a husband who sets a great example of a good relationship. I can be the mom I need to be because my children are teaching me every step and because I was given an angel mother who sets the best example of unconditional love. I am the leader I need to be because God gave me unique talents that help me to fulfill my purpose while on earth. If we feel we don’t have the right examples to help teach us, then it is up to us to find examples we can emulate and learn from. Possibility is within our reach and can only be made if we start somewhere.

Sometimes we have a measure of where we would like to be and we feel as if we are not measuring up. If you look back, you might find that you are further along than you thought. You might have just been staggering side to side not realizing the progress you were making. Sister Carol McConkie says, “We have different gifts and different strengths. First Corinthians chapter 12 emphasizes the need for sons and daughters of God, each one of us, to fulfill our individual roles and responsibilities according to the Lord’s plan, that all may benefit.” Speaking to mothers, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland tenderly exclaimed, “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle — and all will — I say, be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. YOU ARE DOING BETTER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE.”

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.

 

Why I Write About Chronic Illness and God

After experiencing chronic illness for a few years, I was confused as to what was going on with my body, my limitations, and with how I was living my life. After being diagnosed with ME/CFS I felt profound relief knowing my experiences were real, but I also was a little confused. What is the purpose of this disease? What am I supposed to learn from this? How am I supposed to cope and raise a family? Years prior to this time period, I began writing hoping to share some of my experiences after recovering from postpartum depression. At that time I was wondering why I was experiencing depression and I asked the Lord what he wanted me to learn. After recovery, and over the course of the next few years, several people opened up to me and shared their experiences of depression wishing they had known more about depression and how to deal with it. They asked for help. I began to understand I was experiencing this trial, so I could help others and lift and encourage them. And maybe even guide them to recovery through God. Feeling others pain helps us to understand them better. After all,  He uses us as instruments for His purposes. So, again, when I was diagnosed with ME/CFS a few years later, the feeling and need to write was strong. I began writing again for the second time and learned that God wanted me to share about chronic illness, to give a voice to those who are suffering in any way.

I am scared to share and open up about chronic illness. First of all, I’m not sure I really understand it all, so what could little old me possibly share with anyone else. Second, no one likes to hear about someone’s problems and I don’t like to complain. I’m definitely a “the glass is half-full” kind of a person and negativity is not a  good word to describe my personality. Third, though I am extremely open and will share information if I think someone needs help, I don’t like talking about me or my private life at all. When the spotlight shines on me, it is blinding and uncomfortable. But one day, as I was reading my scriptures, I could imagine the Lord saying, “If you could help one person, like articles you have read have helped you, would you help me?” Sometimes it is easier to say yes, than it is actually to do. So, I said yes. And now here I am left with the growing pains that come with learning to seek out God and help His people.

Journal and Scriptures

Learn of me

Living with chronic illness is not easy. It is confusing, overwhelming, painful, hard, and downright cruel to its victims. It can leave its victims misunderstood, depressed, anxious and scared. But as with any other life trial that WE WILL experience on this fallen earth, God will walk with us, IF WE ASK HIM. Deuteronomy 5:33 tells us, “Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV). He is the way. He is the light and life. And He will bring us the TRUE happiness we seek through any of life’s darkest trials.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.

Gratitude

One thing is for sure, is that you never know when it’s your time to go, and/or when you or people you know and love will become impaired and unable to be present. I have read so many stories and seen death so many times, to know that this life shouldn’t be taken for granted. As Fourth of July is rapidly approaching and the patriotism and gratitude for those who came before me enters my heart, my heart swells from within with gratitude. An unknown author said, “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.” My focus for me and my family always will be to be thankful, no matter what. Because as most people say, trials are blessings in disguise.

I am ever so thankful for just being alive and alert. To be present here on this earth and to watch my children, yes even when they fight, as this gives me a moment to teach. I am grateful for slobbery kisses from my darling baby as she smiles with her bright blue eyes. I am grateful for a warm, clean, and spacious home that we as a family can spend time in comfortably. A home where we can decorate as we wish and a house we can make a home. I am grateful for a husband who works so hard for this family to pay for our wants and our needs.

I am grateful that the same man shows his love to me through his acts of service, big or small. An example is when he spends all night planning your birthday, which I get to celebrate for a whole week-and-a-half. Just to show me I am loved. A man who listens to my fears and hurts and loves me the same. A man who celebrates my smallest successes and who thinks I am amazing even when I am at my worst. A man who makes me feel so loved and safe. A best friend who helps me to become a better person every single dang day and who excels at the same pace. When I think of the scripture “Perfect love casteth out all fear”, I know that this is the love the my sweet companion gives to me. And I know this is why I am at my best (and sometimes worst) with him. Because he gives and shows what perfect love really is.

For a son who spends most of his time making sure other people feel loved by his acts of service. A son who is wildly creative and kind to everyone he meets, always looking to do good. A son who on my worst day makes me feel like a million bucks and I wonder how did I ever get so lucky to be his mother? For a daughter who loves life and her mother and who can give the best cuddles a mother could ever want. Who just wants to be by your side all of the time helping you do whatever it is that you are doing. And who makes you smile with her sweet and sassy personality. Whenever she goes, she is admired for her beauty and her strength. For a sweet baby girl who is a curious little spitfire. Who you know will succeed far in this life because of her determination and strength. Who is possibly the happiest person on this earth. And who gave a mother hope, when she thought all hope might be lost. Hermann Hesse says it best when he says, “If I know what love is, it is because of you.” To my darlings, I love you. May all your days be wonderful and bright.

I’m grateful for early morning stillness that fills my heart with gratitude before the storms of daily life come rolling in. I am grateful to a family who forgives my weaknesses big and small. I am grateful to have chronic illness as this keeps me humble and also teaches me to be compassionate and empathetic towards others. It helps me to keep this life in perspective and to hopefully focus on the things in my life that matter to me. And it keeps me close to God.

I am grateful to live in a beautiful suburb, where most all feel blessed to live here. And I am grateful for the home which we did buy, which supports our biggest needs and desires. To have a home where I can easily clean, and be comfortable through some of my illnesses. Where I can go into an extremely beautiful backyard that we have created as a family. A space where I feel peace and comfort every day. A place where I feel gratitude to a Heavenly Father who has richly blessed us.

I’m grateful for freedom of religion. That I can make my own choices. I’m grateful to live in a country who celebrates progression and makes it easy to achieve ones dreams. I am grateful to leaders who run this country, as I know I could never be qualified to do this very intense and hard job.

I am grateful for friends and family who are always there for us, no matter what. A neighbor who quickly became my friend and who helped show me how fun this life can be with a friend by my side. Who wants to just hang out and makes me feel like a kid again. Other friends who call just to see how you are doing, who you know will always be your best friends no matter the distance and time that has gone. A mother and father who drop whatever they are doing just to help you, whenever and wherever. Family and friends who listen and care for me and my own family. Who are my biggest supporters and best friends. A sister who can make me laugh in a ridiculous manner. And who compliments me and makes me feel good about myself. A brother who can talk about life subjects in an open and honest manner, so that we can help figure out this messy life we live in. And a younger brother who calls to check in on me just to make sure I’m ok. Man, am I lucky and blessed.

A pin on Pinterest from (staypositive.me) quoted, “The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.” There is always something grateful to be for, no matter the situation. Psalm 44:8 “In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.” Because this is where all our marvelous blessings and gifts come from. The same God who loves us FOREVER, no matter what. Thanks be to God for his marvelous blessings for which he has richly blessed me and my family.

I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.