Living Life on Purpose

My heart is a scrambled mix of emotions and my words, a jumbled mess. I have no idea how I’m going to get through this blog, but I feel as though I must write. Memories don’t fade easily when they’re inscribed in ink, as well as on the heart. And I definitely don’t want to forget the lessons learned from life, death and all things in between.

I thought my research for Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most had taught me a lot about the brevity of life and the need to live life on purpose, but sitting beside my mom’s hospital bed has magnified the message Solomon uttered millenniums ago. Life truly is but a vapor.

Defined by the dash between the year of our birth and the year of our death, we have just a short time to live a life of purpose…to make a difference in this life we all live under the sun. Our birth certificate may inadvertently come with a life expectancy, but it isn’t guaranteed. Tomorrow may never come. So what should we be doing with the days the Lord has given us? Which dreams should we be pursuing? How then should we live?

Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Paul told us to set our affections on things above, not on the things of this earth. Living for Christ…that is to be the motivating factor for our lives. Nothing else matters when they’re calling in Hospice.

But how can we really begin doing more than just talking about making a difference in the lives of others…fulfilling God’s call on our lives and reaching this world for Christ?

1. Analyze Take a good hard look at your life. What is it you are called to do? What steps are needed to get there? What are you doing (or not doing) that’s preventing you from fulfilling that which you were born to do? How many irons do you have in the fire? Write down your dreams and goals. Think about what you want to accomplish and begin charting a course for your destination. If you have no target, you have no aim. Living life on purpose requires honest self-evaluation, but be ready to implement some difficult changes.

2. Simplify Eliminate the excess baggage. Cut the pork. Get rid of that which consumes your time and prevents you from being what God has called and gifted you to be. We are much more effective when we narrow our focus to that which we know we need to do, rather than trying to do a little bit of everything. For me, it means taking a social media break and fasting from television. For some it may mean shopping much less and spending more time on honing the skills or stirring up the gifts God has given them, for others, it means getting rid of the stuff that takes too much time to take care of. What ever it is, just simplify. Just remember…not every door is ours to walk through.

3. Organize I blogged about it earlier this year, but it’s a good idea to make a “life list.” Have a clue about where you are going and what it takes to get there. De-clutter. Get your finances in order. Believe it or not, being organized is a time saver. It doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your plan til death do you part, it just means you have one and you have chartered your course from point “A” to point “B.”

4. Get Busy Good intentions are just that…intentions. We have to do more than talk about what we want to do; we have to put some feet to our prayers and begin to pursue our plans. Actions do speak louder than words. If you want to work with the homeless, go to the local shelter and see if you can help. If you’re called to women’s ministry, begin seeking opportunities to minister to women. Go to the local hospital and see if they could use a volunteer. Pour your life into young mothers at the women’s shelter. Do some research in your area. You’ll be surprised what opportunities are available for those who are willing to serve. Get busy.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that my mom was cheering me on while I played softball…tucking me in when I was afraid…always challenging me to buck up and be strong. It feels like yesterday when she and her best friend took a wild ride across country. Oh, how time truly flies. What a lesson to learn as I tearfully watch my mom transition from this life to the next.

We only have one shot to do this thing called life. It’s not a dress rehearsal for the real thing…it is the real thing. Oh, how short this life really is! We can’t allow our resolutions to become just good intentions. After all, living a life of purpose means we have to live life on purpose. Seeking God, living for Him, fulfilling our call, running the race, finishing the course He has set before us.

What is it that you do to live this life on purpose? Share your resolutions. Make them public and hold yourself accountable to follow through.


  1. My DD and I read the same verse this morning—if we are not holy, we cannot see God. This year we are going to
    1. Be holy (a constant gift)
    2. Listen/see him
    3. Obey without fear (of consequences)
    4. Enjoy!

    I hope you have the best possible days ahead with your mom. Both my in-laws passed away within five days of each other recently, and it was wonderful for my DH to be able to sit with each one and hold their hands as they breathed their last breaths. Especially beautiful was the look of peace that passed over my MIL's face about four minutes before she passed on.

  2. This is a beautiful, heart-felt, and powerful post! I'm actually going to PRINT it out to ponder it for a while. May the Lord direct you through His anointing and wisdom in this new year.

    HAPPY 2010!!!

    Blessings to you!

  3. Thanks for this beautiful writing from your heart. I am in a very similar place as you right now. Hospice is nearing for my mother, too. She has not wanted me to advertise it, though. Thus I have not tweeted or posted this info yet. (Until this comment, that is.) But when I saw your tweet, I just knew I had to come read. Glad I did. Blessings to you as you travel this road.

  4. This is great, Stephanie! Thank you … I needed this reminder about focus.

  5. Hi SallyHanan,
    Thanks for sharing your very personal and tender story. Your heart for the Lord is evident.
    Eternally His,
    Stephanie Shott
    Phil 3:7-14

  6. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for the encouraging words. I just pray that God can use everything we go through to glorify Himself. My mom's still hanging in there. She's such a trooper.
    Thanks again,
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

  7. Hi Karyn,
    It's not an easy road to travel, but God's grace is sufficient. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect. I've called on Him to strengthen me many times recently. I pray He will strengthen you, as well.

    Thanks so much for sharing this difficult time in your life.
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

  8. This was so special and such a reminder of my need to be faithful in sharing the Gospel with others during this coming year. Christmas of 2008 I had the special privilege of spending time with my daddy for the first time in 4 years – we are missionaries in Chile, South America. How thankful I was for those precious, but difficult days. This year was Daddy's first Christmas in heaven. I can't wait to join him!

    Thank you for sharing your trial,
    Phil. 4:1-7 It works every time!

  9. Connie,
    Your comment, “This year was Daddy's first Christmas in heaven” blessed me more than I can say. It cast a new light on a way to celebrate her entrance into heaven. I may just throw a party for her each year until the day I get to join her as we see our Savior face to face.

    By the way, I'm a missionary girl too. We minister to Guanacaste, Costa Rica and the Guaymi Indians of Panama. I've got a couple of blogs to help churches be more effectively involved in missions. Please take a few minutes and read them and see if you think I should add anything. The titles are “Mission Tips for Mission Trips” and “Mission Tips for Mission Ministries.”
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

  10. Thankyou for sharing your heart Stephanie. My mom went to be with Jesus 3 years ago and I was blessed to be able to be with her during a few of her final days. She lived in Minnesota so I couldn't be with her on the day she went to be with Him. That time really changed my heart towards the elderly. I have always liked “old” people but God has so softened my heart after seeing what my mom had gone through and witnessing so many of the goings on at her nursing home.

    I love this blog and I plan to read it often.

  11. Hi Kim,
    Funny how we've crossed paths after all these years! Thanks for sharing your own story with me. It has been an encouragement to hear from those who have walked this road before me and how God used it for good.
    I'm sure we'll be seing each other soon. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call me.
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

  12. My mom has been struggling with many health issues, and we've been sure we'd lose her many times in the last couple of years. It can be stressful caring for grandchildren, children, and parents. So glad we have Jesus to hold us up and carry us when needed.

    It sounds like you've been walking my walk with the simplifying and the decluttering and the need to make a difference in this life. AND my life verse is Philippians 3:13-14! Along with Psalm 27:4. One thing.

    Thanks for coming by and being the first to post on my new blog. 😀

  13. this post nearly brought tears to my eyes. I keep hearing the SAME message over and over again right now…start walking…take action! The fact is I would like to write and maybe even speak. But I'm still trying to figure out if that is what God wants for me or just ME! I struggle wtih confidence…not with abilities, but with the confidence that I have nothing valid to share and that others I know would harshly judge me because they know I've struggled and who am I to encourage others? On days when I feel ambitious, I quickly get defeated by seeing others already sucessful with speaking and writing. I know it's silly, but I assume they just “whip out” speaking topics and books….like all the knowledge is already within them. I am realizing my rambling and have NOOO idea why I wrote all of this:)

    BTW, I found your blog from the TW2 group.

    Thanks for this post…and actually, I am very much organizing my life this year!

  14. Flamingo Mama,
    Sometimes my blogs are painfully personal, but I feel as though I have to transfer thoughts from my hurting heart to the blank pages on my laptop. Maybe for me…maybe for others…always for God to use how He chooses.

    Your struggle with trying to figure out where and how God wants you to serve Him is a familiar one. I've definitely been there and done that. At times I revisit that battle as I desperately ask God to give me clarity, anointing and open doors. I finally asked God to define my life according to His plan.

    Being a speaker/teacher and a writer doesn't mean you're perfect, only that you know the One who is. It's His standard that you communicate…His truths…His principles…Him. Your failures and areas of weakness only make you as human as those you are sharing with.

    I pray God will clarify His will for you and then you will allow Him to use you to the fullest for His glory. It sounds like that's the desire of your heart! What an awesome Savior we serve!!
    Eternally His,
    Phil 3:7-14

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