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The Promise Driven Life

May 21, 2009

Rick Warren became a nationally known figure in the 1990’s when his book “The Purpose Driven Life”  became a runaway best seller. No doubt we all need things  toward which we can aspire.  There is nothing wrong with having goals as they help us extend our reach and influence beyond what we can reach at the moment. Goals give specificity to the things we have to do in order to reach a certain destination. It’s in the reaching that physical and moral muscle is stretched and strengthened. By such exercise we grow and become more mature. 

But where does a sense of purpose come from? By what are we driven? What gives us our zeal and passion?  The thing about having goals is that they help give direction but can they give us passion and energy for life?

At the beginning of the new year we have a tradition of setting New Years resolutions. Supposing we decide on new goals for ourselves. How soon thereafter do we find that we have lost all interest in keeping the new years resolutions? How long before we see that we are failing and give up in resignation?  The interest I once had no longer exists.  My sense of energy and zeal fails me. What happened?  Could it be that having a purpose for my life may be the right answer to the wrong question. If I believe that my need for meaning is satisfied by having purpose and goals. Then I might ask what is my purpose.  But what if that is the wrong question. What if what gives meaning and zeal and passion for life is not having goals and direction and purpose but something else altogether. What if the fuel that energizes your life is not purpose but promise.      

The thing about purpose is that it is something that arises from within the self, but the energy for that thing within has to come from somewhere else. Does it not? The passion that arises from within depends upon an energy source  that comes from outside the self. I suggest that promise and not purpose is what drives your passion for life. A sense of purpose comes from within the self, but it is fueled by promises. Promises have to do with your relationships: your connection with God, community, spouse, child, brother, sister, colleague, friend and even the enemy.  Promises are what inspire, motivate, transform your life. These are the things that make for passion, for a life worth living.

Promise is what drives purpose; know who is important and then the purposes of your life will fall into place.

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