Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

This is how to find the sense of purpose you’re missing

This newlywed season is strange and lovely, the end and birth of two lives at once. I hoped and prayed for years to be here. Now, I wouldn’t change it for the world. But there are some things that surprise me about this season, longings unexpected sprouting up.

Huge life changes breed questions of near-existential proportions. The one welling in my chest: where, now, is my purpose?

Finding Purpose in the Past

I hate it when clichés turn out to be true, but they are, after all, cliché for a reason. The idea that it’s easier to focus on the Lord and seek first the kingdom as a single seems to be one of those realities.

I was free to be uprooted, roam states and cities and continents in search of purpose, and I found it. There was Paris, Bangkok, Atlanta and that summer in Florida. There was pastoring, worship leading, mentoring the incredible young women at a residential treatment center.

I do miss traditional ministry. I also miss the travel, my heart scraped raw by extreme poverty, being brought face-to-face with my Western affluence. I miss the inability to take life for granted, the culture shock, the risky business of adapting in order to better serve. It seemed much clearer then, how purpose was woven into my life.

Finding Purpose in the Future

Our first months of marriage have been heavy with dreams.

We’re making plans for the future, living lifestyles of freedom without debt or weighty financial burdens. We talk about a house on some green acres, filling it up with people to be loved to life and wholeness. We scheme about radical generosity, a dream of being able to give far more than we need to live, because money is best used to bless and love others.

Then there’s family: motherhood and fatherhood, bringing our own littles into the world and seeing them grow big. Adopting, because, as my husband loves to remember, we were adopted into the family of God, and there are so many who need to be loved.

And there’s career and calling. We discuss growing his photography business, serving his couples better; we mull over how to reach more people, encourage and bring hope through my writing. There are big things we’d love to see come of all this that ultimately let us bless people all the more.

But we’re not there yet.

Finding Purpose Right Here

While I’m deeply grateful for today and wouldn’t trade this season for anything, the landscape of my life is different now that I share it so fully with a person. There are things – seasons, cities, people, jobs – I’ve loved and left behind.

There are still so many hopes and prayers unfulfilled. I wait for the days we live those dreams of impact together, raise our babies and live and give with radical generosity.

But today, I am here.

My head may drift in the clouds of future dreams and past joys; still, my feet stay planted in the present. I’m still living between now and not yet, still tasting tension I suspect will never fully let up.

The truth is this: purpose isn’t a job description or some limited category of vocations. It’s not reserved for those with glamorous titles, children to raise, or big bank accounts that enable more giving.

Purpose belongs to all of us, right where we are.

It doesn’t find us just in certain seasons. It doesn’t wait for us while we’re moving through transition, thinking, someday I’ll be there. It is made, found, cultivated every. single. day.

There is purpose in preparation – getting ready for those future dreams. Right now, that looks like getting out of debt and saving, growing in our respective vocational skills, and investing deeply in our fledgling marriage to make sure it can withstand these future dreams. Setting ourselves up for success in reaching those big dreams starts now.

But there’s also purpose in impact on a daily basis, if we’re open to the opportunities. For us this week, that’s looked like giving the neighbor kid a tennis ball when he lost his; helping another neighbor move a couch; and taking Pepto Bismol, toilet paper, and breakfast to a sick homeless lady and her son.

Meaning is found in the little moments, the unexpected opportunities that cross our paths. There is joy in every season. I refuse to miss the beauty of this season in discontentment, wishing for the good of the past or the dreams of the future. I choose to find my purpose right here, in the midst of tension and imperfection.

6 Replies

  1. I wouldn’t wanna be in the here and now with anyone else, my love.
    Adore you


  2. Carol Horton

    Beautiful words, and so true. We’re not always (or maybe even not ever) going to be the superhero standing on a mountaintop, capes blowing in the wind, after saving the world. We can all do big things, but those big things don’t happen now and then. We just have to remain true to ourselves and share that in the ordinary moments of every day.

    1. I love that idea, Carol – just being “true to ourselves” and sharing that with those around us. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Carol Horton

    * only happen now and then

  4. Love this reminder that we’ll likely always be living in tension and that if we keep thinking of our purpose as some far away land we’ll miss a lot of joy in the present! Thanks for writing this!

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