Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How to Life Your Life Purpose: Joy, Part One

I am delighted to begin the final step of six in my series, How to Live Your Life Purpose. The last step is the sweetest: joy. Fall is a great time to make changes. Hopefully, you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands and a return to a more regular schedule. As the leaves begin to change, we can think about any life-giving, joy-filled changes God wants to inspire within us. 

Are you new to my series? You can read the first installment of the other steps below. Scroll through my blog to read all of their related entries. And don't forget to subscribe here to get the last special installment of my series, which will be available only to subscribers by email! 

Part One: Longing

Part Two: Surrender
Part Three: An Inventory of Strengths
Part Four: Risk
Part Five: Persistence

Part Six: Joy

Imagine living in such a way that a current flows through you. You have a natural, vivacious energy that comes from doing what you were made to do. It flows from God's Spirit through you and out to others as you make an impact precisely as God has intended just for you. Further, this energy is renewable. As you stay connected to your Source, God will continue to renew and empower you. Your life, therefore, shows circuit-like harmony and flow, and it feels good!

While the Bible does not address circuitry, this same principle is represented in Jesus’ discussion of the vine and branches in John 15:1-8. Jesus, the True Vine, cares deeply about our connection to him. He wants us to grow and thrive, but he makes it clear that it is impossible for us to do so apart from him. Apart from him we cannot bear fruit, and we wither and die. But with him, we can find life, bear fruit, and flourish. Jesus wants to foster beneficial intimacy with you and me, an intimacy that is so rich that he is flowing through our veins. We grow up and out into the world as branches with him as our Source. Whether it's electricity or natural imagery, the conclusion is the same: Flourishing life is possible through an intentional connection to God.

It’s important to recognize that our spiritual connection is the reason for our joy. God supplies the necessary energy or life. Our own connectivity or intimacy with God allows it to flow in and through us, and the result is that joy bubbles over. Therefore, it is not our output itself that produces joy. Our output, or willingness to embody our life purpose, is the fruit of the inherently joyful connection. This understanding allows us to be joyful even when our efforts do not produce the immediate outcomes we had hoped for.

We’ve explored the cost of the pearl for the merchant in previous weeks, but part of unpacking joy means also noting what the merchant got out of the deal. Matthew 13:45-46 reads: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” We can imagine that the merchant had a discerning eye for pearls for him to excel at his trade. When he saw his prize, he unquestionably recognized its value. His joy at the thought of owning it propelled him to willingly change everything.

The joy that God offers us hinges upon our choices too. It's rooted in our connection to him and willingness to go on the adventure that he has in store for our lives. We’ll learn to increasingly recognize this connection’s value and trust it, just like the seasoned merchant. We’ll also flourish with its power coursing through our veins. We'll explore more of what we can anticipate through study in the weeks to come!

Congratulations to C. Reed for winning my recent giveaway on Facebook. She will receive her resources soon. Stay tuned for another fall giveaway later this month!

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