Melvyn Tan
September 22, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

What Is Your Purpose In Life?

[blockquote source=”Isaiah 40:30-31 (GWT)“]Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall.  Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.[/blockquote] Today’s […]

[blockquote source=”Isaiah 40:30-31 (GWT)“]Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall.  Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.[/blockquote]

Today’s message in Church was about how to put God top of mind while living in the secular world.  I was struck by how relevant today’s message was to me personally at this juncture in my life.  Time after time, I have questioned how can I mix my spiritual world with my secular world.  Do I, only on Sundays; and that is if I do attend church, be totally immersed in my spiritual world, only to have the rest of the six days deeply absorbed in the secular world.

That was primarily how I have lived for a great length of my life thus far.  Up until very recently, I still could not see how this two world does not have to be different, distinct, mutually exclusive.  In fact, one can not only see the secular world through the lens that God has given us; we can also see how by performing up to expectations and beyond, we are indeed bringing glory to God’s name!

In order to have this a reality, one will have to understand that our behaviours are not just based on our capabilities.  To illustrate, all of us are capable of murder (capability), but we do not it (behaviour) is because we believe that it is morally wrong to kill another person (belief).  Additionally, these beliefs are in turn derived from our identity as well as our spirituality.

The central idea behind this concept is the Logical Levels of Change in NLP.  Essentially the concept states that change can happen at one or more of these six levels.  However, to have lasting change, you will need to understand how this works at all six levels:

  • Environment: describes the situation
  • Behaviour: refers to how people respond or react in accordance to the environment
  • Capabilities: describes the knowledge, skills, and competencies that enables people to perform within the environment
  • Beliefs and Values: these are things that are true and important to these people within the environment
  • Identity: the people’s sense of their roles
  • Spirituality: the people’s connection to a higher purpose

Let’s say you want your people to be more innovative.  However, if all you do is to mount a series of training programs, then it is likely that your people are not going to be any more creative than they were before they had the training.

Let’s say you want your child to be more responsible for his learning.  However, if you as the parent, are always packing your child’s bag for school, then it is highly unlikely that your child is going to be any more responsible.

Hence, some of us (or in fact, many of us) in the secular world want to not only survive, but also thrive in our work; but the kind of activities that we engage in may sometimes get us ahead only temporarily but over time will wear us out and we may even find ourselves being in regressive mode.

What I am suggesting is this.  In order to see lasting change, we need to work from the inside out.  In fact, we need to always connect ourselves to God and His purpose for us.  Allow me to illustrate this with a personal example.

One of my roles in the secular world is being the “consultant” (identity).  What I believe that are true and important to me is that I should be able to add, maximise, and create value for my clients (beliefs and values).  How I will accomplish this is by synthesising existing materials and creating new knowledge (capabilities) and then designing frameworks and solutions (behaviours) during face-to-face consultation sessions (environment) to help my clients solve their problems.

Now, these are all good, except when you keep doing the same thing over and over again, at some point in time, you are going to feel tired.  It is going to be boring.  The novelty will wears off.  The challenge is dulled.  It is no longer as exciting as before!

As the Bible says, “Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall.”  And that’s what happens to me when I did not make the connection to my spirituality.  Until I can see why my role (identity) as a consultant is to help others solve problems is connected to my purpose in life, it is like what King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:14 (NIV) “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Dear God, help us make the connections of the roles we play on this earth as a spouse, as a parent, as an offspring, as a member of our community, as a member of our organisation to the purpose that You have identified for us.  And for those of us who have yet to uncover what that purpose is, may You so gracefully guide us to learn about it and to have the courage, strength, and wisdom to live it.  We pray all these in Jesus’ name, Amen.