I think for many of us, the desire to find purpose and meaning in our lives equates to the longing for fulfillment in something other than what we are currently doing. Thoughts like “if only I could find my passion, I’d be happy” run rampant in our inner and outer dialogue. For some, it drives us to search for fulfillment. For others, it results in feeling apathetic towards the circumstances of their life. Instead of showing up for life, life is allowed to pass them by without much engagement. The problem with apathy is that it only leads to complaining about the idea that something is missing from our life without motivating us to do something about it. I fell into the searching category. I couldn’t sit back and let life roll by. I went looking for an answer.
I, then, found myself in a situation where I was motivated, but I wasn’t inspired. I was in this state for many years before the key to inspiration was revealed to me. In retrospect, I can see that I was chasing after fulfillment, instead of being led from a state of fulfillment. The difference is one of perspective. When I viewed myself as lacking meaning and purpose in my life, I felt incomplete (I was looking to fill a hole). I was held captive by my ego’s perspective. It wasn’t until I was freed from this illusion that I was able to consciously acknowledge my wholeness through spirit/God. This is the point at which my perspective shifted from ego to spirit, in this regard. One incremental shift in perspective turned out to be monumental to my ability to assign and feel meaning and purpose to my life.
Once I was able to consciously recognize myself from a state of wholeness, I was no longer chasing after fulfillment. Instead, I was operating from a state of fulfillment, which is an entirely different ballgame.
When we are in a state of seeking fulfillment, we are being run by our ego. In this stage of the game, it is all about our ego’s appetites and desires. When our happiness or fulfillment is dependent on something outside of ourselves (different job, bigger house, newer car, better body, perfect partner, etc.), our happiness/fulfillment is subject to change based on whether or not our specific desires are in place. We are chasing after the proverbial carrot, when it comes to securing happiness or fulfillment. We will never realize sustainable happiness or fulfillment through this approach. Instead, each time we feel as if we have secured our happiness/fulfillment through the attainment of one of ego’s desires, it will last up until the point that ego decides something else is needed to sustain our happiness or fulfillment. Ego wields its desires over us like a drug—every time our happiness ceases to no longer be, we scramble for our next “fix”.
I was no different when it came to my ego’s ability to wield the illusion of incompleteness over me. I thought that I needed a purposeful mission to feel fulfilled, so I searched for the mission that had been perfectly suited for me. The problem was that I was selfishly driven to find fulfillment through a mission based purpose versus seeking a mission as a part of God’s will. At this point in my journey, God was nowhere in the equation. It was all about my ego and what would make it happy.
The shift occurred when I surrendered my will to God’s will. This is the point at which I showed my willingness to shift out of ego into spirit.
I was able to recognize my wholeness through God (versus seeking wholeness through an external search). It’s not to say that I no longer fall prey to seeking wholeness, fulfillment, happiness, and/or peace through external things, but it is to say that I am now able to recognize these behaviors as being driven from ego (which means I can course correct).
When I say operating from a state of wholeness is an entirely different ballgame, it is because we willingly enter a realm of uncertainty, trusting that we are being guided by an intelligence that is far greater than our own. We toss our ego driven plans out the window (knowing they will never lead to lasting fulfillment) and open to the ways in which God can work through our life to complete His will—true fulfillment of our purpose for being here. We stop trying to figure out the “what”, and instead, open to being led.
In reading Chasing Daylight by Erwin Raphael McManus, the following quote resonated deeply with me:
“Once you’re moving in a direction that is aligned with the character and heart of God, you find God’s personal mission for your life begins to come into focus.”
Once we clear ourselves of ego’s desires, we reach the root of our being—love. We are able to express ourselves from the space, where our thoughts and actions are aligned with the heart and character of God. Because of this, all that we do becomes purposeful and meaningful. We begin to see that every moment offers us the opportunity to give meaning to it by simply choosing to respond from a place of love. Voila—no more feeling incomplete through a lack of purpose!
As we embark on the process to clear ourselves of ego’s desires, we begin to root out all the ways in which we have trouble expressing ourselves from a place of love. All of our relationships, experiences, and circumstances offer us opportunities to expand our capacity to love by showing us where we find it most difficult to express love. When we choose love as our goal, the space for this choice becomes visible to us. Our everyday experiences become fodder for growth. As we reflect on these experiences, we begin to see opportunities to choose love, where we previously chose differently. Awaking to and aligning with love becomes our purpose. Every encounter with someone, whether it is a stranger, lover, or friend, becomes an opportunity to choose love as our goal in our thoughts and actions towards the other person.
Resentment and bitterness are magnified in our awareness as forgiveness becomes the option to align with love. Guilt, shame, and self-loathing are also magnified in our awareness as self-forgiveness becomes the option to align with love. The desires to be right, understood, loved, validated, approved of, and recognized are magnified in our awareness as sources of fear and the choice to let go of these illusions of ego in favor of love is magnified in our awareness. The choice to shift from a “what’s in it for me” mentality to a “how may I be of service” mentality becomes apparent when we choose love as our goal. The expression of love can come in many forms. These examples mainly deal with shifting out of ego into spirit, which is all a part of the process to spiritually awaken. When we awaken we are restored to love, which is the point at which we become instruments of love in the ways in which we are individually guided to do so. Love is the goal. The expression of love is our purpose for being here.
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