“If you focus on obstacles, then you give them more power. Instead, focus on your purpose, …” Ralph Marston
The scarier the world got because of virus outbreaks, violence, and violations of freedom, the more scared I got because it’s what I focused on.
It seemed easier to create chaos than to create content for another book chapter.
Masks and racial injustice and riots and defunding police and debating whose lives mattered most distracted me from what really mattered in my own life.
Friends shamed friends over differing opinions, which I let distract me from God’s opinions about how I was living.
Fear about closing and reopening and shutting down again kept me shut down from what God expected from me – to live my purpose.
I wondered if there was any hope of doing anything purposeful in the middle of so much fear, but then I noticed people doing just that.
Cindra, an artist friend, offered online painting classes. Another friend painted and sold dozens of colorful music albums throughout the quarantine. Claire said, “Stay off the news and away from politics and do art. That’s pretty much what I do and I’m happy about it.”
My Jesus-loving photographer friend learned Zoom and taught a group of us ways to more effectively study our Bibles. Rhonda also kept taking photos and shared them on social media. Another photographer friend did the same thing. Joel’s been posting his pictures online for years.
Athena, my friend who’s an author and publisher, offered Facebook Lives every evening since the beginning of the lockdown on topics like fearless courage, holy resistance, and words and thoughts, and we’re still meeting. She said, “I decided not to post things on social media that stir up division. I thought, Why not stir up love instead?” And she has.
There were other friends too, living their purpose and setting examples for the rest of us.
The more I lived mine, which for me meant writing and painting, the more I focused on Jesus. The more I prayed without ceasing like Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The more I felt stirred by Love.
My purpose became my prayer.
I wrote and painted from a grateful place. A desperate place. A hopeful place. A lonely and afraid place.
No matter my mood, returning to my purpose worked. My purpose offered up a concrete way to get back home to God and feel grounded. I’d catch myself walking in circles or circling around bad news and say out loud, “Go to your office now and write or paint.”
I’m thankful that instead of staying stuck talking about how important it is to live my purpose, I experienced its life-giving and life-restoring powers.
Where do you turn during difficult times? Is it something that really helps or harasses? Something that calms you down or unravels you for the sake of being informed? I’d love for y’all to share what works and what doesn’t.
In This Together,
After writing this blog post, I realized I wanted to make it a series. I’ll be labeling this part one as soon as I figure out how to subtitle it to go along with the rest of its parts. Thanks for reading along.