Living the Dream or Living the Purpose

Once upon a time there lived an elephant in the jungle. Every morning he went to the nearby gently flowing river to quench his thirst and to have a refreshing bath. He made friends with a fish and would often talk with him about the splendors of life in the forest. The fish became curious.  He wanted to escape the serene waters which were his abode to explore life in the mysterious, dense forest. The fish continued to cherish that dream and finally the momentous day arrived.  A duck got a hold of the fish in one of his expeditions and dropped the fish on a tree in the dense forest. From the tree the fish was fascinated to see the world of the elephant. Suddenly, though, the fish realized that something was wrong. But it was too late…

Everyone has dreams for their lives. Many base their dreams on what others are saying, doing, or having.  Some are very demanding and want their dreams to be fulfilled exactly as they want it and in a timely manner.  They may feel like they have failed because of the realization of their life couldn’t keep pace with the speed of their imaginations.

How ironic it is that we invest our energies and lives in chasing our dreams only to find out that their pursuit adds to our anxieties and worries?

Why is it that often people who achieve their dreams still find life unfulfilling?  This fact is even more remarkable as it has become common to hear people talking about a mid-life crisis or an existential crisis in spite of strident endeavors to achieve their dreams.

How ironic it is that we invest our energies and lives in chasing our dreams only to find out that their pursuit adds to our anxieties and worries? Do you find yourself in that category? If so, what went wrong?

Many times we weave our dreams based on what we see around us.  We see someone involved in something impressive and we assume “That is good; I’ll do that too.” Or we may see someone possessing something enviable and so we assume “This is good; Let me also have this.”  But there is a danger in assuming that what others have or do is necessarily good for us as well.

If we were all robotic creatures, it would make more sense to follow an indistinctive life built around the standards set by the world.  But make no mistake friends! Such a life would be extremely boring, nearly equivalent to death.  We have been given the abilities of intellect, reasoning, and discernment to live a unique life, to know and pursue the purpose for which we were meant.  Life is worth living when we follow that principle.  Not only does following God’s plan for us add value and direction to our own lives but also to those around us as they observe us seeking God’s individual and unique purpose for us.  Dreams are not inherently bad but when our dreams lead us away from our life’s direction we are left in a pitiful state.

Following our true purpose requires more than just resisting conformity to the world’s values and views. 

Here comes the question of the ages!  How can I know my life’s purpose? One guiding principle to answer that question is explicit in Romans 12:2- “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  When we try to adapt our life to be like those of others we see around us we are moving further away from our own life purpose. This can occur either actively, by striving to mold our life based on the outlook of the world or, passively, when we try to go with the flow of life around us or when we allow those values to imperceptibly fuse into our own.

Following our true purpose requires more than just resisting conformity to the world’s values and views.  We need to actively change ourselves to have a renewed orientation so that we can know, test, and prove our purpose of life.  Isn’t it amazing? Though it may sound puzzling, the verse we saw in Romans states that one can discern their life purpose.  It is not like the fish going out of the water only to realize his dream resulted in his death.

Maybe it is wise to take some time to reflect on your life.  Do you know the purpose of your life? Are you just striving to identify your life with the dreams and achievements of others around you? Are your dreams and purpose of life on conflicting poles?

Let’s not forget that an accomplished life is a life lived to its purpose.

Dijo John – Renew in Knowledge Core Team Member