For the past half-hour or so, I’ve been swinging on a porch swing enjoying the weather and thinking about my purpose in life. If it were, say, 6 PM, and I’d just gotten home from work, I’d probably have been thinking about something else. But it’s 3:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, and I no longer have a job. Being bi-polar eventually made that impossible. As of this time last year, earlier really, I stopped being able to work a regular job. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened just the same. By God’s grace-and I mean that sincerely-my husband and I have managed to pay all the bills without either of us having a regular job. He retired from the military about 3 years ago and was unable to find work, and I lost my job last year. I get disability, and he gets a retirement check but those funds, while welcome, don’t come close to equaling the income we had made when we were both working, or even when I alone was working.
This would all make sense I suppose if we were in our sixties, but we’re only in our forties. We’ve left the door wide open for God to direct us, show us the next step, fill our days, but other than telling Joel to keep working on his Internet prospects, He’s left no clear signs. So today, in the middle of the day, while most of my friends were at work, I wondered why I had the liberty to sit in a porch swing and enjoy the sunny afternoon. God reminded me that from the time I was very young I had been working hard to survive. And He told me that he wanted me to stop for a while and take the time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I struggle with this notion because nearly everyone I know is working all the time or at least a great deal. Nor am I the only one to struggle through a difficult childhood. But God teaches us all in different ways and meets us where we are.
I was in survival mode and had been all my life. As a bi-polar, many days still feel like a fight for survival even without a job demanding my attention. This afternoon, God showed me that I don’t always have to fight. That sometimes I can rest. That I can just be still and know that He is God. As for my purpose, it isn’t defined by capitalist society though sometimes I think of it in those terms (i.e. I don’t have a purpose if I don’t have a job). My purpose is to live and serve God, whatever form that takes. Right now, he’s telling me to rest. He doesn’t want me to fill my days with random tasks because for too long I’ve thought that if I had a task I had a purpose. He’s trying to show me otherwise.
My purpose is not to survive. It is to thrive, even when living is a struggle – especially when living is a struggle. I came to think of it this way. When I go a family vacation or a trip, I don’t work a job or (hopefully) follow a clock. I visit the local attractions, view the scenery, and spend time with friends and family. I am only visiting, so I try to take it in and enjoy myself. This world is just a place I’m visiting too. I’m only here for a short while. So I should appreciate the beauty, enjoy it whenever possible, and spend time with friends and family. Life is, after all, the ultimate trip.