Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Living with a Purpose

What do you live for? When you wake up each morning, what are your thoughts directed towards? When you reflect on your week, what did you spend the most hours doing and to what avail?

So many of us live our mundane lives and go to our lackluster jobs to only return to our homes and rest so we have energy to do the same thing the next day. We allow those around us and society to determine what we do and how we live. We chain ourselves to a notion of what we should be, based on what the media dictates. It allows us a sense of security because we "fit in" and have a role. 

The bigger question is, what is the point of your individual life? Do you have a specific purpose and if so, how do you find it?

William Wilberforce is a name unknown to many but one that represents a man who went from living for himself to changing the mind of the British Empire in regards to slavery. Elected into Parliament at an early age, Wilberforce described his early years as his having done "Nothing to any purpose. My own distinction was my darling object." Wilberforce began to reflect on his life and he began to realize the opportunity he had to make a difference. He became absorbed with the issue of slavery. 

Slavery became a profitable industry for the British Empire, particularly during the 1700's. According to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. Slavery was second nature to the British and the prevailing mindset was that slaves were less than human. This allowed slave-owners to feel justification.

Wilberforce tackled this challenge and presented Bills to Parliament opposing slave trade. Initially all twelve bills were blocked. He continued to rewrite and propose bills of Abolition and in 1791, 1792, 1793, 1797, 1798, 1799, 1804, and 1805 his propositions were again blocked. People saw the slave trade as extremely profitable and Wilberforce's attempts to change the ideas of a nation were not well received. It was not until 1808 that Parliament passed the first act to outlaw slave trade. As you know, it was not until 1863 that America followed suite with the Emancipation Proclamation.

I tell this story, not so you can "oooh" and "aaah" over another famous person. Wilberforce was not that. Think of him as "Will" or "Kelly or you. He was an ordinary person who decided that normal and average were not good enough. He saw a travesty and he set out to fix it. He failed so many times, but he knew what was right and he stood up for what he believed. 

Sir Francis Bacon said, "It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else and still unknown to himself." Wilberforce admitted that he didn't know who he was or what his purpose was, but he set out to find it. This is what I encourage you to do. Life is full of opportunity. Living in America (the land of opportunity) gives me no excuse. There are problems all around us. The question is are we brave enough to step out of our comfort zone and do something about them? Are we willing to do the uncomfortable? Are we willing to make a difference in the world?

I encourage you today to find your purpose in life. Although I am not saying your life purpose will be laid out for you, I do believe we can find the purpose for each day that is towards a greater good. For me, my relationship with God allows me to understand my purpose. I am a traveling nurse. Where I will live next year is unknown. I could still live here or I could be in Malaysia. It is not for me to necessarily know my future, but to know that I am where I am supposed to be at this moment. It takes a lot of faith to find your purpose the way I do, but God has never let me down. The way I figure, if He can successfully design an entire universe and keep it running for this long, He probably has a pretty good idea of what I should do with my life. Find your purpose!

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