Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Three Word Wednesday: Full-Time Purpose

3 word wednesday full time purpose

When I riffed for a few on purpose as recently as the last Five Minute Friday, I quoted a famous to everyone reminder from the book of Ecclesiastes there's a suitable season along with some kind of intention for everything we do, everything that happens. Because I write to Kristin Hill Taylor's three word prompt and wanted to start before visiting her blog Wednesday morning, I messaged Kristin to ask what she was writing; she told me full time purpose arose after her daughter asked why she didn't work—"work" carrying that usual meaning of employment somewhere outside the home.

In some ways full-time purpose is the other side, a reversal of "a time for every purpose under heaven." God gives everyone the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds in each day. Those increments of time need to be filled with something—even if we imagine we're doing nothing, hours, days, and months still expire even more surely than the "best used by" date on the milk in your fridge or the salad dressing on your shelf.

Last Wednesday we entered the liturgical season of Lent; especially for Christians in traditions that don't observe the rhythms of the church's year of grace, a week ago on Three Word Wednesday I wrote a brief description of Ash Wednesday and Lent. Lent is a six-week span that purposely prepares our bodies, minds, and spirits for the Three Days – Triduum – sequence of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Resurrection, followed by the great fifty days of Easter that culminate with the day of Pentecost's celebration and anticipation of the reign of the Spirit of Life over all creation.

Today's about our purpose everywhere, all the time. About stewardship of the gifts and days God calls us to. When I wrote about Lent last week, I didn't mention the slowed-down, intentionally contemplative season gets its name from an old word for nature's season of spring when daylight lengthens! Many pieces of classical music use Italian language terminology to instruct the performer about mood and tempo (=time); if you see "Lento" at the start of your piano solo, that means play this slowly. What better time than a slowed-down forty days to outline your daily and weekly activities, assessing how well your lifestyle attends to the needs of your own body, psyche, and intellect. To God's purpose for you, for God's dreams and purposes for people and organizations (family, friends, workplace, school, church, clubs, government, etc.) you frequently encounter? It can be tough to acknowledge that after our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves is most important; we're no earthly good to anyone else if we're not as all-around healthy and whole as possible. The lengthening days "springing" season of Lent is a good time to ask if we've allowed sufficient time for family nurture and care, for service to others out in the world, enough hours simply to be in God's presence praying, reading and studying scripture, discovering and uncovering what God's full-time purpose might be for my own life here and now. Oh, yes! Corporate worship at least once weekly, as well!

Traditions surrounding Lent include both "giving up" or fasting from a food (resigning from chocolate and meat are popular choices) or activity (can't miss TV show) you especially enjoy and "taking on" a practice such as additional prayer or community service. Do you know the enneagram model of personality and activity types? Mine is a "3", also known as the performer-achiever. In short, I don't really know the difference between what I do and who I am—it feels all the same, though deep down of course I know better. Discovering a current full-time purpose during Lent is an outstanding option for people like myself who want to fill every second with meaning and purpose. Everyone who reminds us "meaning and purpose keep you sane" is absolutely accurate, since reaching outside oneself and being there for others can sweeten bleak, disappointing (temporary, I trust) circumstances. But hey, none of us individually or collectively is going to redeem the world and thankfully, we don't need to—Jesus Christ already has done that. Prayerfully, deliberately, and even slowly, we do need to consider God's call to us in terms of rounding out our own full-time-purpose as the Spirit of Life realizes the fullness of earth's redemption.

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1 comment:

sue donaldson said...

excellent post. I think we could be friends! (: I am newish to lent and loved your addtioinal thoughts and find it so difficult to hold still in my mind. this season may be a time of slowing but I'm tearing around with my ramped up season of speaking and ministering and starting a new job. sigh (I just sighed.) So will consider this after driving to LA tomorrow and then on to San Diego. In the car, God often meets me. next to you somewhere today!