Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Purpose

I'm going to try something new. This is something that's been on my mind, and I'm going to work it through by writing out my thoughts as they come out. I've always been of the opinion that editing often removes some of the most important parts of writing, so you won't see much of that here.

A few weeks back I was asked to give a spiritual thought from Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel. As I am no longer a missionary, and I wasn't addressing missionaries, and I didn't prepare as much as I should have, I had to prepare on the fly. The chapter is titled, "What Is My Purpose as a Missionary?" which I felt prompted to change, for my presentation, "What Is My Purpose as a Child of God?" And it sort of fit. I also brought up Matthew 5:13, which reads,

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

I took it to mean that we are meant to live up to something, and varying from our potential leads to a pitiful unfulfillment. Since questions can be good teaching aids at times, I asked, "What is our purpose, do you think?" I really should've expected the first response, but I didn't; someone responded, "To get married!" Not the course I wanted to take, even to the point that I said later on, "You can get married, but if you're not rooted in the Gospel, that marriage will waste away, and you won't live up to the potential that God sees in you." Harsh, maybe, but I had to think things through while giving that spiritual thought, and marriage wasn't on my mind at the time.

After the activity, I had someone ask me if I intended to say that everyone had one identical purpose. Yeah, it kind of sounded that way. "I believe everyone has a unique purpose in this life and in the eternities," I answered. That's more along my line of thinking. But another friend came along and brought up marriage again. And I felt something in me that taught me something: once we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost upon confirmation, that Spirit will teach us what we must do to achieve our potential. And when the time is right, the Holy Ghost will prompt us to get married and do all the steps that lead up to it.

So that's where I am now. Sometimes I can stay up late pondering my purpose, what good I can--and am meant to--achieve in this life. And it's the Holy Ghost that can tell you. God knows our hearts; He is not bound by time or the petty biases that plague our simple minds. It's just a matter of listening and acting. Agency takes a big role at this point. Isn't that fascinating, that each of us are created for unlimited greatness, yet we can choose to live up to that or live for something else? That scripture I quoted says that we can either be full of savor, or else we are good for nothing. Jesus doesn't lie; there are things I do which are the equivalent of throwing away something that will end up bringing me great joy.

Then what does it all mean? Is happiness worth the obedience? As surely as we were created for boundless opportunities to grow, we were created to know joy. It seems a little circular now, right? We were created to achieve something, we achieve that something to reach a potential, that potential will make us happy, which is why we were created. So is happiness even the end gift of the Plan of Salvation? Maybe not. It sure feels good, though. Well, our purpose then is to continue in this pattern of becoming what we were meant to become. We are happier, and we continue to grow.

I sort of feel like I've deconstructed this to absurdity, but I have to remember how God feels when He sees His children fulfill their potential. That's got to be a happiness much greater than when I keep a commandment for myself. Something's missing from my little circle, which is progeny. It transforms the circle into an upward, exponential spiral. And happiness is no longer a selfish thing, some extra step in the process that we can glut in. And for me to find progeny...

...I need to get married.

What the heck? This isn't quite what I was expecting to conclude with, but the irony is too great for me not to end right now. Irony is a wonderful balm.

Inside you've got the light to guide / Your faith decides, the world's your gold to find

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