Discovering Purpose In The Pain
"Wherever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul."- Alice Walker
The purpose question is a common one that people often struggle to find the answer to.
Purpose in its simplest definition is the meaning behind something or someone’s existence.
Purpose is in each of us; a gift given at birth. It is not something that we have to go outside of ourselves to find because it is never lost. Our purpose lies within us, waiting to be discovered and used in service to others.
I often talk to people who struggle with the purpose question. Many are at times wondering if their lives even matter. They find it difficult to see the purpose in their pain and suffering. They look at all the horrible, difficult and trying times in their lives and wonder what is it all for? They question God’s love. They question the choices made. They question and curse the mountain of problems that overwhelm them daily. They wonder aloud and silently through their tears why life is so hard. Some even doubt the possibility of life ever changing for the better.
Have you ever had those times of doubt, uncertainty, and a lack of clarity about your life and its purpose?
In the place of pain and suffering, purpose also resides.
There is meaning in the unbeautiful parts of life. Purpose is there in the things that hurt us. It is there when life seems to be just one struggle after another. When we are not able to see the possibility of good coming from the problems that greet us every morning we rise. It exists even when there are no foreseeable signs of relief on the horizon as we wait for the boat of joy and happiness to come ashore and rescue us. Purpose is even in those times when we doubt that God is really there.
Purpose exists in everything. There is purpose in the brokenness. There is purpose in the pain. There is purpose in the loneliness, the rejection, the failures, the loss and the grief. There is purpose in all the ugly, hard, messy and dark places of life.
In the midst of it all, purpose is patiently waiting to be discovered.
It is only when we shift our perspective and take a closer look can we begin to recognize it.
When we begin to make the shift, the question no longer is, "why is this happening to me?" It instead becomes, "what can I learn from this?"
And then it grows into something more, something bigger than us.
This is because purpose is always bigger than us. It is also because purpose is not just about us.
The question then starts to change, begging a different answer, calling us into a new way of being, a new way of living. The journey we find ourselves on starts to be rooted in the idea of others. And the questions shows up in the form of, "how can I use this, my pain and my suffering in a way that not only helps and heals me but can also do the same for others?"
At this point on the journey to discovering our purpose, we arrive at a place of understanding that in the pain and suffering, purpose does indeed reside.
Some of the greatest organizations, causes, inventions, business ideas, literature, music, and art have come from the place of pain. The owners of these raw, deep emotions and difficult life experiences took the hard stuff and transformed it into something beautiful. Purpose for them became about serving, making a difference and a contribution to the world around them.
God can use everything about us and our lives, even the most flawed unlovable parts of who we are and make it beautiful.
What parts of your life can be made beautiful and used to answer the purpose question?
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