Focusing on and Living Your Purpose

Created a new verse picKnowing why we are here changes everything… if that reason is true, valid, and big enough to carry all the muck. I was thinking about this very thing yesterday, as I pushed through some physical challenges. Thinking how all this gunk, (and we’ve all got our gunk) would feel utterly pointless and defeating, if not for my mission in Christ.

Knowing–and living–our purpose changes everything. Today my sweet friend and Author photoone of my most cherished critique partners Marji Lane shares her thoughts on this liberating and life-infusing subject this morning.

The Purpose of Our Lives by Marji Lane

I saw a tweet the other day that apparently quoted the Dali Lama. According to the tweeter, the purpose of our lives is to be happy.

Really? What a self-absorbed, empty life that is. It’s all about me being happy. That means whatever it takes to make ME happy, that’s what I should do because my purpose is to enjoy happiness.

Yikes. No wonder folks are so messed up.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know wrong ones when I see them. I don’t care how often-quoted or sincere a person is; wrong is just wrong.

Purpose for our lives goes back to creation. Why were humans made in the first place?

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” Genesis 1:26. And in the third chapter, in the midst of the first sin, the man and the woman “heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day …. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Sounds like Adam and Eve had a habit of walking with God in the cool of the evening. So much so, that when they weren’t there, He called out to them. (Not that He didn’t know what was going on.) All this leads me to believe they were created to be the Lord’s companions. That identifies where I should be putting my effort now.

I need to make sure I cultivate that ongoing relationship with my Heavenly Father.Draw Near verse pic

In addition, Christ gave instruction to share the good news of His gift of eternal life. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” Matthew 28:19.

Another purpose for my being here is to share the amazing love and grace of the Father, the sacrifice of Christ, and the good news of our adoption into God’s family. I find this purpose difficult to act on. I’m not naturally an evangelist – I don’t have that gift of the Spirit. Yet, regardless of how comfortable I feel doing it, I am still called to share.

I do have one other purpose, one that falls more fully into my forte. Whereas I don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism, I do have the gift of exhortation. The apostle Paul, through the Holy Spirit’s prompting, urges us to encourage one another in Christ and build up His Body, the Church. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) I am called to find ways to support other believers, to strengthen them as they act in accord with the Lord’s work and will. My words need to be full of grace and love, with the intent to renew the spirits of my brothers and sisters. Especially when they are struggling for the cause of Christ.

This certainly gives more depth and satisfaction than to simply “be happy.” And all of my actions should fulfill my purposes.

  • Learn about the Father through scripture and spend time with Him in prayer, listening to the Spirit’s urging to follow as closely to Him as I can.
  • Sharing the truth that I’ve learned with hurting people who desperately need to know of the hope and love they can have through Christ’s sacrifice.
  • Encouraging other believers with my words and actions—”Speak to one another with songs, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Ephesians 5:19—in order to strengthen the body of Christ.

Looking at these in a nutshell, I see I’m not in the center of any of them. My desires are focused on others and on the Lord. That type of focus brings true satisfaction and joy. Especially when the quest for joy isn’t the point of what I’m doing.

Your turn: How do you define your purpose?

Marji Laine is a homeschooling mom with teenage twins left in the nest. An independent author with her debut novel, GRIME BEAT, just released, she spends her non-writing times transporting to and from volleyball, teaching writing classes at a local coop, and directing the children’s music program at her church. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

imgresGrime Beat:

Her best friend missing, every cell in Dani Foster’s body screams something is wrong.

Crime scene cleaning is the perfect job for relocated Dani Foster. But her orders to maintain a low profile and stay out of trouble mean little when her friend goes missing. Suspicions point to the handsome crime scene specialist, Jay Hunter, but he’s also the only person willing to help Dani. Dare she trust him even when lies seem to surround him?

Dani amuses Jay. Her penchant for speaking and acting without regard to the consequences land her in the funniest situations. But her latest moves have thrust her into serious danger. As he learns more about her circumstances, the stakes rise until her very life is on the line. He has no time or inclination for romance, but this girl needs him, and she seems to have no one else. How can he turn his back?

This is the first episode of this Christian Mystery and Romance series set in Dallas, Texas. Dani’s troubles and Jay’s attraction are only just beginning!

Buy it HERE!

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! Have you discovered your purpose? The reason you’re here? Are you living it? What things tend to distract you from living out your purpose? What activities or verses help you to remain diligent and focused on your purpose? Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

And before you go… have you signed up for my (and 7 other authors) free quarterly newsletter? If not, wanna? You’ll receive free serial story segments, recipes, devotions, and more!

(Check out our last edition HERE!)

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The Waves of Life

When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, (Ugh. Did I really just admit my illness, one with so many myths, judgements, and misconceptions surrounding it, online???) I felt ready to break—physically and emotionally. I thought the intense pain shooting through every ounce of my body would last forever.

I’ve since learned those waves, or flares, as the medical community calls them, won’t last forever, and knowing that brings incredible peace. Knowing there is an eventual end to the pain makes it bearable. And knowing God has a purpose in my pain, which He does, makes it glorious.

Life is like that, isn’t it? Stuck in the muck, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and defeated, to focus on the tumult rather than our Savior. But today my sweet friend and highly-valued critique partner, Majie Lane, MarjiLaine-260x300shares some encouraging thoughts on these “waves of life” we all go through and what each one can do for us.

The Waves of Life by Marji Lane

My latest release, The Love Boat Bachelor is set on a cruise. It had me thinking all things oceans. Looking back on the last few years which comprise my writing life, I can see how waves of circumstances can change the way I think. Even the way I live. I could get fancy like the Starbucks down the corner and call the different waves Tall, Venti, and Grande, but I think I’ll just call my waves small, medium, and large.

The small waves are circumstances that mold us. The way God teaches us through daily life. They tend to take on the appearance of seasons – football, holiday, busy, vacation. Even more seasons if you still have kids in your home – prom, musical, contest, performance, the list goes on. All seasons that enrich, but also complicate our lives.

These small waves can give us a beating when attitudes are sour or other waves are overwhelming.

Medium waves are those that are more of the way we define ourselves. Our jobs, locations, and relationships make up the medium waves. I’m a wife and an author. I’m also a wavesmom and a teacher. I’m a
Texan. I’d find it very hard to change that, but we’ve come close a time or two.

The medium waves aren’t usually the overwhelming ones, but they can throw in turbulence when they have a change. Even then, they only change our title and sometimes a perspective. They don’t actually change who we are.

The deep-water waves, those are the ones that can have the largest effect on us. They comprise the broader seasons of our lives: years with babies in the house or school children, supporting aging family members, retirement, having teenagers, being the aging family member that needs support.

wave 3In deep water, the waves seem to move slowly, almost imperceptive from the height of a cruise ship. In the same way, these particular waves of our lives change over periods of years, decades even.

It’s when any of the waves, especially the large or medium ones, are jarred that the Lord works in our lives. When the water shifts unexpectedly, He’s there supporting and strengthening us through huge directional adjustments.

But Jesus said He’d never leave us comfortless. (John 14:18)

When we are at our most vulnerable, we tend to listen to Him better. Pay attention more willingly. And we’re the most malleable. So that He can perfect us, His creations.

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

When we are broken and humble before God, He can use us to do the work He needs us to do. And true contentment comes when we’re able to look at the waves we’ve been through and know that none of them conquered us. We can throw back our heads and smile at God, knowing full well He holds us close and will give us whatever we need to accomplish His work.

Your turn: What waves are you dealing with right now, and how is God using them to strengthen you?

Marji Laine, a homeschooling mom, lives with her husband, their four grown and almost-grown kids, and a spoiled black Lab in the Dallas area. When she’s not fighting for quiet time and a space of her own to visit with her characters, she’s indulging in photography, watching NASCAR, and lately helping her oldest with wedding plans.

She works part time as the children’s music director at her church, leads a college-aged Bible Study, and teaches high school writing. She loves acting in stage plays, sings in small groups and a large choir, and has a passion for sharing about the relationship that the Lord wants to have with His children.

She has so loved being involved with Write Integrity Press and their last four collaborative novellas. “What an amazing group of creative and talented people!:” Contact her at MarjiLaine.com or find her on Suspense Sisters ReviewsFacebookTwiiter,Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+.

TLBB CoverThe Love Boat Bachelor:

Romance is a joke.

After the love of Brent Teague’s life came back into his world only to marry someone else, Brent is through with women. He might be through with being a pastor, too.

Brent was so sure that God brought Mara Adkins home to him so they could marry and live happily ever after. Six months after her wedding to another man, that theory is obviously a dud. If Brent could be so wrong about that, who’s to say he’s not mistaken about God calling him to pastoral ministry?

Tired of watching Brent flounder for direction, Brent’s feisty older sister boots him out of Spartanburg and onto a cruise ship. Brent’s old college buddy manages the ship’s staff, and he’s thrilled to finagle Brent into the role of chaplain for the two-week cruise.

As the ship sets sail, Brent starts to relax. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But there’s just one little thing no one told him. He’s not on any ordinary cruise. He’s on The Love Boat.

What’s a sworn bachelor to do on a Caribbean cruise full of romance and love? He’ll either have to jump ship or embrace the unforgettable romantic comedy headed his way.

Grab your copy here!

Let’s talk about this. I know many of you are going through some very painful times. First, to those of you who have shared your struggles with me, know I’m praying for you. For all of us, may we draw ever-nearer livingbygracepic.jpto Christ when we feel ready to ship-wreck, for He is our strength, our comfort, and our closest friend.

To repeat Marji’s question, posed above:

What waves are you dealing with right now, and how is God using them to strengthen you?

I encourage you to prayerfully consider the latter part of that question, because that’s the glory-phrase. Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

I’ll share mine. Living with chronic pain has a way of centering one’s heart in eternity, which in turn gives passion and focus to my ministry. Each day I’m reminded that this sin-and-pain-ravished world is not my home, and that’s a reminder I need.