Purpose Above Circumstance

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

                Setting aside such logistics as finances, practicality, and suitability, what is that one vehicle that you would be driving today?  I was driving behind a car that might fit your dream, or mine.  It was one of those higher-end automobiles whose sticker price would cause many of us to wince.  What would a car like that do to your insurance premium?  Nevertheless, it was a very nice ride. 

                So I had to chuckle at the bumper sticker it displayed – yes, I thought the same thing: “Who in their right mind would place a bumper sticker on a 6o thousand dollar vehicle!  The message was simple:  “I’d rather be driving a Titleist.”  For those of you who may not know, Titleist is a brand of golf ball.  So apparently, he drives a dream car, and golf drives him.

                If people are passionate enough about a thing to warrant branding their vehicles with bumper stickers, we can learn a lot about them!  “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.”  What about those proud parents: “My child is an honor student at …” I saw one that read, “If you can read this, thank a teacher;” and a similar one in a small print, “If you can read this, you’re driving too close.”

                What is it that drives you when your feet hit the floor each morning?  We awaken with certain obligations which call for our attention, but what is your true passion?  There may be three or four passions in your life, but likely not more than that.  True passions tend to consume us; they are the matters of life around which everything else exists.

                Recently in the news was an elementary school teacher.  Most teachers I know love their job, and many see it as more of a calling than a career; and they love their students.  Hearing of her high school daughter’s tragic accident less than a mile away, she immediately left her class and was at her daughter’s side in only a couple of minutes.  Even our passions are set by priority.

                What do we do, then, when circumstances bring significant challenges in to the mix of life?  How do we cope with discouragement, with setbacks, and with what the world might call failures? What is our response when it all seems out of whack?  Does your frustration ever push you to the edge?

                A passion is usually some matter in life for which we are willing to sacrifice, to bleed, possibly even to die; it drives us, motivates us.  Our passion provides for us a point of reference when we become uncertain about who we are or what we are supposed to do.  A bumper sticker for it might read, “Purpose above circumstance.”  Our lives should be driven by purpose, and not by circumstances.

                Looking at it from the perspective of Christian faith, Lloyd John Ogilvie writes, “When we are filled with the depression we often feel resulting from our own judgments on ourselves and others, He comes and shows us that He has a task for us which is part of His strategy for changing the world.” 

                Too often we allow circumstances to distort our perspective which alters our thoughts and emotions.  It is true that there will always be challenges in life that upset our plans and practices.  Rather than living ‘under the circumstances,’ I choose to live within my purpose.  Therein is found the will to persevere, the courage to keep moving forward, and a peace of heart and mind, knowing that I have stayed the course of my life’s passion.  

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