A few days after Ash Wednesday, my longtime best friends, “the CKhristines”, Juci (Kristine), Chris (tine) and I embarked on a 40-day Purpose Driven Life (PDL) journey.
I’ve always wanted to read the book (papa’s copy has just been sitting around the house after he read it a couple of times — wonder how he found it though bec my friends and I had some significant reactions towards Catholic vs Christian teachings), and I’m glad Juci invited us to read a chapter a day and to meet up via Zoom every night to discuss.
It was a 40-day virtual bible sesh that I have been craving for since I stopped attending my doctor’s group bible study due to the pandemic.
A couple of weeks back, we finally ended the nightly PDL meet ups (we had to push back a couple of times due to our work commitments aka e-numan sesh with clients lol) and I think I am having withdrawals, not only from my friends, but also from the new learnings about FAITH and GOD.
This PDL journey, although not perfect has taught my friends and I valuable (some are hard to swallow) truths about our faith and Christianity. I want to re-read the whole thing to understand it more or perhaps to discover hidden messages that I might have missed out the first time, or see teachings in a new light.
Nonetheless, here are some of my key takeaways from the book that I will be forever taking with me wherever I go:
- It all starts with God – The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. I’ve read something similar before and I wrote about it HERE. Our beginning and end is God, but somehow, due to our worldly ambitions, we kind of forget that and we try to make our whole life revolve solely around US. We fail to see things in a bigger perspective which is why we are so engrossed to making more money, making projects that aren’t for God or doing things for the glory of us. We can be so focused on finding our purpose, which we think we will discover when we find ourselves; when the one Being we should be looking to get closer to is God. When we do that, we discover our PURPOSE. Mic drop! Char!
- You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for His purposes, not your using Him for your own purpose. Yes, it can be really trickyyy! *cue Tiktok This or That challenge. char. Answers will not become clear to us, unless we first accept that we were made for God’s purpose. All our mundane accomplishments on earth are mere mini-games in our life of a campaign mission. I brought this up to my friends early on during this nightly meet-ups and I asked them, “How does an fetus who died before he/she was born able to fulfill his or her mission?” Similarly, “How can we tell if a street dweller who dies in an accident was able or not able to fulfill his/her mission in God?” These might not be clear to all of us, but regardless of the length of our lives on earth, we all have a purpose and we will get to know it, once we become closer to God.
- You are not an accident – Your parents might not have planned you, but God did. – When I read this, I felt a warm, comforting feeling inside of me. It made me feel special, knowing that we were conceived in God’s mind way before we were conceived by our parents. How does that make you feel? You are that important to none other than God Himself! Every part of your body, your race, gender were all thought of by Him. And He created us not because He was lonely, but because He wanted to express His love! If you’re feeling unloved or sad or even depressed, perhaps you can remind yourself that you are loved by God and that He is a god of love. The very essence of His Being is LOVE.
- Benefits of knowing your purpose: 1) It gives meaning to your life, 2) It simplifies your life, 3) It focuses your life, 4) It motivates your life and finally 5) It prepares you for eternity – This chapter also specifically emphasizes that “Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth, yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life, but what God says. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity. When you die and stand before God on the judgment seat, two things you will be asked are: “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?” and “What did you do with what I gave you?”
- When you live in light of eternity, your values change. – We are given a fleeting moment here on earth. Somehow, because of the problems and challenges we face on earth, we feel like a decade is too long or 80 years of living is too long, but when we focus on the life in eternity, we might think otherwise. We will begin to see these problems as trivial and insignificant. I remember watching lots of the outer space movies which have been a fad in Hollywood for a time and seeing the world from outer space feels like your problems don’t matter. Seeing the world from a plane’s window makes you feel insignificant in a world this big. This is how we should look at our lives. Our time on earth is too short to waste on anything less than loving God and loving our neighbors. Easy to say, right? That’s what I told my friends that I want to achieve for myself after our 40-day session ends. It is hard, but I want to be reminded of how we should live our lives here on earth.
There are still so many things that have been pointed out by Rick Warren on this book and I have to admit that some of them we already know, but we tend to ignore.
I remember sharing to my friends some sentiments about my faith. I told them that whenever I watch the film, “The Passion of Christ”, I feel a huge amount of regret and guilt after crying my eyes off during the second half of it. Then, I start thinking to myself that I should really change my ways after seeing this film. And that has been my initial reaction whenever I finish watching the movie and I think I’ve seen it several times. But what I fail to do is to follow through on those realizations. When problems arise, I lose all of what I have learned and realized during the film and go back to my old ways. What a waste!
Now that our PDL sessions have ended a couple of weeks back, here are some of the things that I want to achieve for myself:
- I want to be closer to God – in order to achieve this, I need to learn more about Him and the best way to do this is by READING THE BIBLE. My friends and I agreed that Christians are waaaaay over and beyond Catholics when it comes to understanding the Bible and that is one thing I wanna be better at as well.
- I want to fulfill my purpose, which is basically, loving God and loving others. Easy enough? Not at all. It is hard to do this when you aren’t completely in love with God. I can be a complete hypocrite and I want to change that. I don’t want to do all of this for show, because after all, when my life comes to an end, it will just be God and I and there is nothing I can hide from Him. He knows everything.
- I want to live my life for God, for in God, problems, loss, failure will all be bearable. With God’s grace, we can get past whatever stumbling block we have in front of us. I remember offering God my greatest challenges at work lately and I know some of those seemed impossible to achieve with the time constraints and all, but because He allowed it to, I was able to fulfill this work duty with excellence.
3 simple things yet I find so difficult to fulfill. Of course, I know I wouldn’t be able to do it alone. This is why I want to always be reminded of the things I learned in PDL and to ask for God’s grace to help me to these things before I die.
Funny, how a change in our mindset can also change our priorities and goals in life. Perhaps soon, I can finally let go and say “Thy will be done, Lord!”