Purpose vs Goals

From the age of thirteen or so, George had a certain goal. He wanted to be a farmer like our Uncle Jelly. Sure, there were some occasional variations in that aim, like the brief period of thinking the law would be a better pursuit. But, the persistent and consistent goal of being a farmer always returned to consume. When that goal was reached another appeared further ahead. The next goal was to be sole owner of the farm. That goal was reached and another goal arose. This one was to own the farm next door. When that goal was accomplished the next one was ownership of the next farm and on and on the goals stretched. And then something happened.
That something was the realization that the goal post would always be moving and the result would be a total lack of satisfaction. There would never be a point at which he could kick back and savor the accomplishment as completed. And then came the understanding that each new accomplishment would began to be less satisfying than the last. The dream just seemed to evaporate and it was eventually lost entirely. After that came an extended period of disillusionment and disappointment as each new possibility morphed into another unfulfilled dream. What goals arose never had the power to generate the all consuming interest the farm had held. Life would roll past for nearly 30 years with no real goal. There would be occasional ambitions, but that was it.
In 2003 I was encouraged to read a new book; “The Purpose Driven Life”. I did read it and I have continued to read it, again and again. I eventually came to the realization that although I’d had goals, there had never been a purpose for those goals. Goals are merely stepping stones to fulfilling purpose. Real, God appointed purpose for the gift I’d been given was a source of never ending happiness, sense of accomplishment and moment to moment, minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day satisfaction with life. To lie down at night and wake up each morning with a subtle smile in my heart is a joy I never imagined in all those daydreams of the past.

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