It was a Saturday afternoon several weeks ago when my phone jingled, and I picked it up to see that my good friend, Atha, had texted. We exchanged greetings and then she asked how my day was going, wondering what I was doing. So I told her what I was doing. Ironing. Yes, I was ironing on a Saturday afternoon. Immediately Atha texted back and as I looked down at my phone, I read these four words. Established in your purpose.
That simple phrase jumped off of my cell phone screen and ingrained itself into my heart the very moment that I read it. Wow! In fact, I told Atha how I loved what she had just said. And knowing me as she does, she told me to feel free to use it someday. I could just hear her laughter.
Part of the impact of those words came from who said them. Atha…………Dr. Athalene McNay to be precise……….is highly educated. She has also started a business coaching those who have ADHD, and she is a college professor. I respect her abilities and insights. Yet more importantly, she is my dear friend. God allowed our paths to cross over ten years ago, and both of us are so thankful that He did. So her words were both professionally uplifting to me and encouraging to me as a friend. Atha and I are very much alike in some ways, but our paths at this time in our lives are very different. We both have purpose, and Atha values my purpose as much as she does her own.
I’ve been dwelling on that phrase more and more lately……..established in your purpose. Established in MY purpose. So what is my purpose? In what am I to be established; to be firm and stable?
I remember when Gary and I were dating 35 years ago. As we became more serious in our relationship we were discussing many things. One important thing that I was thankful that we agreed on was the fact that if we got married, and if God gave us children, I wanted to be able to stay home with them if at all possible. Gary and I both had the same mind regarding that issue, and as the years passed and our three children were born we were able to see that desire fulfilled. That was a purpose that we had together, but it was definitely my purpose for as long as I could remember even before I knew Gary.
I feel blessed to still be a full-time homemaker, and to be able to stay home with Aaron. I never dreamed, and neither did Gary, that we would have a special needs child. Aaron has certainly kept me more confined, should I say, and for longer, than I ever imagined. Oh, he has his day group every weekday and is gone for several hours. But taking care of Aaron is a purpose that is mine for this time of my life, and in that purpose I know that I should be stable. It’s a good thing that I love this life, but there are those days………
Days of tiredness. Days when I feel guilty for not spending more time with him, or for losing my patience with him. Days of resentment. Days of routine boredom. Days of such intense empathy for him that I feel like my heart will explode. Days of such love for him that I fight the tears. Days of wishing I had any other life but this one. Up and down, up and down.
But isn’t this just life for all of us? Whatever your purpose is……….whatever road God has set you on………can have many potholes and speed bumps. It’s always tempting to compare our road’s journey to someone else who does it better or easier or more exotically. I often have to force myself to look straight ahead as I refocus on my priorities. My purpose, like Atha said. And to be established in that purpose. Firm and stable, as the definition says.
Even if it means that I’m ironing on a Saturday afternoon, struggling to keep that one crease in Gary’s pants in the place where it belongs. Ugh! Even if it means listening to Aaron say the same things over and over and over……and clap……….and yell……….and get angry……and chew with his mouth open as he leans over the third bowl he thinks he MUST have with his snack. The mundane purposes of life can really stretch my ability to be established, let me tell you!
Sometimes I think, “Oh, if I was speaking or teaching or singing before large crowds, I would be so blessed and enthused. What an impact I could have!”
Or, “Oh, if I could figure out how to write and publish a book, just think of how many people I could reach!”
And, “Oh, if I had such-and-such a ministry or job, it would be so fulfilling!”
Maybe someday that will be God’s purpose for me, but for now it is not. So for now I will be established in my purpose…….the purpose that God has planned for me this very day. And I will seek to, as Paul said, do all things to the glory of God. Don’t even ask how many times I fail in that purpose alone, but God is so patient with me and for that I am ever thankful.
Being established in my purpose. It may not be dazzling and exciting, but this purpose that God has for me is just right.
And so is yours. Be established in YOUR purpose.