It’s the first week of the new year which brings resolutions, new plans and hope for a good outcome by this time next season. I spend much of November and December focused on the business planning cycle to help our clients evaluate the year past and position for success in the year to come.
Why? What’s the point? What exactly is the purpose of what we do?
I read a lot over the Christmas season and had several chats with friends where people shared their views on what they want to do or accomplish. Some seemed focused on what they were not doing or accomplishing. The New Year’s Eve worship service I attended included a sermon about how we find our value. The Pastor appropriately highlighted how often we look for affirmation from the wrong sources: other people’s opinions, social media, economic status… These are rotten places to seek affirmation.
Answering the Why Questions
As we pray for our family and friends and consider how to guide both our personal and professional plans, I believe it is absolutely critical to answer the questions of Why? What exactly is the purpose of what we are doing? Writing these questions feels kind of cheesy but the reality is most people don’t sincerely consider the answers.
So how do you answer these questions? Should the answers be different between personal and professional? I have found a lot of people experience tension in life by trying to manage too many distinct compartments/circles in their lives. Family is separate from work, is separate from social, is separate from spiritual and so on. The more distinct you keep your circles, the more difficult it is to manage and accomplish your true purpose in each area. Would it not be more effective to align your circles where they overlap as much as possible?
Aligning Your Priorities
Rather than try to manage distinct circles/compartments each with unique priorities, design your circles/compartments such that the priorities are the same to the extent possible. It’s a subtle but major shift in how you apply your personal resources of thought, time, energy.
I can work on learning to juggle more balls or I can work on aligning my life’s priorities so that I have fewer balls to juggle. Aligning my activities to match my values and integrate the circles of my life allows me to increase capacity in all areas without a direct requirement for more effort in each area.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism states “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Whether you are of a Reformed Tradition in Faith or not, this is a great statement for prayer and meditation. I should know how I “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” in all that I do. In my family, in my work, my social life as well as the obvious circle of my spiritual life; it should all be my spiritual life! Bring the circles together.
The Sole Purpose of All That We Do
The specific purpose of what I do in all areas of my life is to “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” That’s the why, the point and the purpose of all that we do as a confessing Christian.
So as a grounding point for all of our new year’s resolutions, business plans and hope for things to come, be clear and confident in why you do it. Avoid the pitfall of seeking affirmation from public opinion, social media or even your net worth. Work toward integrating the pillars of your faith into the foundation of all the parts of your life.
Recognizing the true purpose of everything you do and keeping the circles aligned will provide you a path to purpose and clarity that pays dividends in more than just your bank account.