HOPE IS IMPOSSIBLE without purpose or, better put, we only come close to realising our God-given potential when we live life with purpose. This is easily illustrated. Depressive symptoms, for a whole range of reasons, manifest themselves in the evaporation of purpose, meaning, and therefore hope.
Here is a simple acronym to help focus on our purpose:
1. PAST – what’s our life been telling us so far? So many of us are drawn into moments of guilt, resentment, fear, materialistic envy, or the need for approval. Our pasts, and the people we’ve become, have set up default patterns of thinking and these run cross-grain to, and distract us from, our true purpose. First, we must analyse and reconcile our pasts.
2. UNKNOWNS – can only, in the ongoing reality of things, be revealed by God. These unknowns often present as barriers. Yet, they needn’t hinder us. There will be many things about life that we will not understand. We just simply let them be. In acceptance is patient wisdom.
3. REFLECTION – as a key step toward discovering our purpose. This is where the fun begins; seriously. Who of us, and how often, have taken time out to reflect over God’s purposes for our lives? These are nothing lofty or bold; they are probably simple and circumspect. The gorgeousness of reflection is it’s time alone with God.
4. PLANNING – we cannot live a purpose-fulfilled life without planning it. As human beings we have a rich desire to be in control. Planning is that control—a God-anointed control. In other words, God wants us to, indeed insists that we, take this sort of control. This is the critical mid-step between reflecting over our purpose and achieving it. Like reflection, we never rush the planning process.
5. OBSERVATION – every good plan is checked; we need to reinforce the veracity of the plan. We can only do this when we stand back and observe the plan in the context of our entire lives—our relationships, present vocational situations, aspirations, and capabilities.
6. SIMPLICITY – all plans need checkpoints. After we’ve observed the logistics of our plan we need to check it for its achievability. Only simple plans are achievable, and in simplicity is power.
7. EXECUTION – all the planning in the world won’t bring about change. We must have the tenacity to bring about the plan’s fulfilment, one day at a time. As we do this we continue to reflect and plan changes via observation and checks against the wisdom of simplicity. It’s vital our purpose is maintained and sustained.
Purpose provides meaning and hope. How better than analyse and reconcile our Pasts, acknowledge the Unknowns, Reflect and Plan, Observe life, Simplify the plan, and then Execute it. Living hopefully is simply being deliberate and intentional. The rest of life sorts itself out.
Even little things, done purposefully well, engender a firm inner confidence.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.