The Quest for Purpose

Cat PurposePurpose. I’m learning it’s important to have one. With that, and after a longer-than-expected break, I’m eager to jump into the blogosphere once again.

Turns out that I had much to learn during the past few months. Truth be told, I had planned to wait even longer before blogging again—likely until this school semester ended so I could help my husband with writing assignments. Once the holidays ended and “normal life” resumed, however, I discovered my interest in writing plays a bigger role in my life than I previously knew. I learned I’m created to write, and when I shut down the writer in me for too long, I actually shut off part of who I am.

Purpose and Self-Worth 

A conversation with an awesome blogger friend recently reminded me how purpose closely intertwines with our self-worth, and losing sight of either may equate to poor self-care.

Proper self-care, as I’m now finding, includes finding a passion we can enjoy and look forward to throughout the week, even if our passion does not directly contribute monetary value. For me, writing is that activity.

Let me break it down even further. Keeping ourselves busy with tasks does not lead to proper self-care. I like tasks—probably too much so—but no amount of them will bring fulfillment if I’m not excited about their purpose. I spend many, many hours throughout the week doing housework, planning meals and making errand lists, prepping food for myself and my husband, exercising, washing clothes, etc. The tasks keep me busy and certainly provide value for our family, but by themselves, the tasks do not ignite much passion.

Writing, on the other hand, does help provide the excitement I need in daily life. Unfortunaly, I often internally argue with myself over whether or not the activity has value. I will begin to tell myself that because writing doesn’t bring in money—or at least not much in comparison with a full-time job—it’s probably a waste of time. This. Is. A. Lie.

More Than Dollar Signs

Ladies, gentleman, stay-at-home parents, homemakers … lean in for a minute. Where did we get the idea that our value should have dollar signs attached? What happened to investing in people, our faith and spiritual lives, our health, our communities? If I spend my days focusing on life’s non-monetary value, why do I feel like a cultural outcast?

The same awesome friend I mentioned earlier helped me brainstorm a list of valuable activities that usually do not directly earn money. It’s not exhaustive by any means, but here’s what we came up with:

  • Faith Builders—attending/leading bible studies, praying regularly, maintaining church involvement, staying in fellowship with believers, reading God’s Word and other edifying books/devotionals
  • Health Preservers—planning/cooking nutritious meals, gardening/growing food, researching/experimenting with diet to suit your lifestyle (Paleo, vegan, etc.), exercising regularly, looking up reputable doctors and providers, attending counseling for mental health (as needed), resting and investing in self-care appropriately
  • Community/Relational Strengtheners—meeting with and encouraging a friend, visiting grandparents/elderly/widows, calling out-of-state relatives, volunteering and ministry work (food pantries, homeless shelters, etc.), hosting dinners and community gatherings

Investing time in these areas won’t bring in cash, but I’d argue they bring in much more. Faith building and spiritual growth keeps our souls nourished and at peace, helping us to live life with a meaningful, eternal perspective. Health preservation keeps our bodies strong so we can better serve our families and communities, putting less burden on those who would otherwise need to care for us. Relational strengthening keeps us united with those around us, allowing us to identify needs and address them at a personal level.

Beyond these three non-monetary categories, there’s also value in saving as opposed to making money. Ways to do so are endless, but some examples include cleaning/house upkeep, making meals at home, planning groceries/errands to save on trips to the store, using coupons and money-saving apps, purging clothes and trading in for new, making homemade gifts for birthdays and holidays, and caring for kids at home to save on daycare.

Purpose in God’s Eyes

Pursuing our passions, using the gifts we’re given, practicing proper self-care and investing in our families and communities means nothing without God’s overarching purpose for His people. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, it should all give glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

God never says earning money is bad. When used for His glory, money is an extremely useful tool. And as image-bearers created to spread God’s glory, we can use our finances to honor Him in all of the same categories I listed above.

For those of us who aren’t in bread-winning positions—the stay-at-home parents, the homemakers, the sick or disabled—I hope you’re encouraged by the fact that God doesn’t see you in terms of dollar signs. He loves you because you’re His, and you can honor Him in all you do without having a dime to your name.

That, my friends, is true purpose.

Peace and blessings,

Kat, (semi-professional) insomniac

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