My journey started in the same place that a lot of people’s journeys start–searching for the purpose of life. Don’t we all want to know why we are here? It’s a pretty basic question, yet some people–most of them way more intelligent than I–spend a good portion of their lives researching it. I’ll be honest; I put off answering that question for myself for a long time, simply because I was exhausted just from watching others research it! It seemed so overwhelming.
But my life was getting restless. Things that should have made me happy, according to society’s definition, were not making me happy at all. And so I kept coming back to the same questions. Why am I here? What is the purpose? Is there some greater meaning? Because if I’m just supposed to get up every day, and work out, and eat a healthy breakfast, and shuffle my kids off to school, and drive to the office, and walk up the stairs, and sit in a cubicle, and go home, and watch TV, and brush my teeth, and go to bed, just to do it all over again tomorrow…well, I’m going numb just typing it out. Luckily, I finally reached a point where numb was unacceptable. If finding the answers was going to be overwhelming, so be it.
But guess what I discovered? It’s not actually overwhelming at all. It’s actually very simple. And I have found this to be true repeatedly–the answer is usually in the simplest form. We humans try to make it too difficult with all our scientific research. We get lost in the intricate details that make up this planet and assume the purpose of all this must be intricate too. Maybe it’s not.
I think the purpose of life is LOVE.
To love God.
To share love.
To be loved.
To give love.
To fall in love.
To witness love.
To enjoy love.
If you were looking for something profound, and now you’re disappointed because it seems too easy, let me first assure you that love IS profound. Having children of my own has proven that to me, because that’s when I experienced true unconditional love. There is nothing I want more for them than to feel loved. And I want their love in return. There is no better feeling than when your child runs to you, throws their arms around you, and tells you they love you. So it makes sense to me that God would create His children to love Him.
But being human, I wanted to confirm my suspicion that our purpose is love. I wanted God to tell me. And He did.
Now, before you start thinking I’m crazy, hear me out. I’m not saying the heavens opened, and I saw a light, and God’s voice started thundering the answer. Nope. In fact, I actually went about it all wrong for YEARS. I was trying to Google it, I was trying to read lots of books, and I was asking everyone I knew. It is wise to get opinions, but the contradictions can be overwhelming and confusing. What I have learned after all this stumbling is that it isn’t that hard. My mistake was that I was trying to figure it out on my own. I needed to go back to simple. If I wanted to know why I was created, wouldn’t the simplest thing be to just ask my Creator?
So I did. I stepped away from all MY research, all MY thoughts, all MY conclusions, and I just asked Him. I prayed for Him to guide me to the answer so I could start living my life for His purpose, not mine. To seasoned Christians, this sounds like something obvious, I’m sure. But honestly, it was new to me. I liked to tell myself that God gave me intelligence and I should use that to figure everything out on my own. So this simple prayer seemed silly to me at first.
But as soon as I gave up control of this quest and really trusted God to point me in the right direction, He did. And I will tell you how He did, but I also must mention that this was a turning point for my life. Learning that concept of giving up control, of doing what I can and then giving the rest to God, has been critical to my growth, my happiness, and my joyful relationship with God. It has been so important to finding my path that you will see it repeatedly on this page!
So how did He tell me? Again, He chose simple. Because really, that’s all I can handle and comprehend–simple. He pointed me to His Word. The morning after I prayed that prayer, I opened my Bible and landed on the page with this verse.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
~1 Corinthians 13:13
This is from the famous “Love Chapter” of the Bible. Its passages are used in weddings every day, so this is probably nothing new for you. But have you ever really read it? It meant so much more to me when I read it while searching for the purpose of life. It was like I was reading it for the first time. I encourage you to get out your Bible, or search it online, and read the entire chapter right now.
It basically says that you can do all these great, important things, but if you don’t have love, none of it matters. This is key for me, because even though I know now that the answer is simple, my human brain continues to try to make it more difficult. The purpose must be grander! It really must be harder! And indeed, once you experience unconditional love, there is much work to be done. It must be shared. We are to serve others, and help the poor, and witness, and make more disciples. And when I start trying to figure out all the ways to do that, I get overwhelmed again.
And so I come back to simple. Back to The Bible.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
That’s what we’re striving for.
Without love as our starting point, nothing else matters.
God created us for love.
Because He loves us and He wants us to love Him.
That’s a pretty amazing purpose for being alive.