I was impressed with Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church when it was published in 1995. In contrast his Purpose Driven Life book bored me when it appeared later so I put it aside although it seemed like everyone I knew was reading it. Last week’s newsletter indicated that I finally had read and learned from the revised version, titled What on Earth am I Here For? What follows are random highlights that could be helpful for ourselves and our work with students, coaching clients or others.
- Page 173 presents a key idea that challenges some of our long-held views of success: “Many Christians misinterpret Jesus’ promise of the ‘abundant life’ to mean good health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, full realization of their dreams,” plus, perhaps, professional acclaim, impressive resumes, influence, business success and affluence. Some believers assume that these often come through faith and prayer. That “self-absorbed perspective treats God as a genie who exists to serve us in the selfish pursuit of personal fulfillment [and success.] But life is not about you,” Warren writes. We exist for God’s purposes.
- Those purposes include serving others as best we can and focusing on relationships. Warren writes that “relationships must have priority above everything else…. How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.” I, Gary, believe that my legacy will not be about the talks I’ve given or the publications that have been written. My legacy will be the lives I’ve touched—especially those who are impacting others.
- Busyness is a great enemy of relationships. Thoreau wrote that people have lives of quiet desperation but today we more often live with aimless distraction, ”like gyroscopes, spinning around at a frantic pace, never going anywhere” (page 36). Sound familiar?
- Two powerful traps especially prevent us from being fulfilled, content, or able to know our life purpose. First is the envy trap that comes from making comparisons that leave us feeling cheated, angry, jealous, discontented and doubting that God knows what’s best for us. Second trap is the people-pleasing addiction. Whatever the reasons, when we constantly try to please others, they set our agendas and we miss God’s ultimate purpose for our lives.
There’s a lot here. Please comment—even if you don’t feel you have anything useful to share.