When I was neck deep in Christianity the quest of purpose was my extreme focus. What was my purpose? I posed this question to God on a daily basis, asking, sometimes demanding an answer, a reason, something. It was during this time I read all kinds of books on purpose, all with a religious slant of course, and would adopt aspects and latch on exclaiming “I found my purpose!”
Needless to say, I hadn't, I always wanted to do his (Yahweh’s) will, so my purposes’ was in line with that, i.e., becoming a minister, working with the poor, mowing widow’s lawns, serving communion, building churches in Honduras, ramming Christ down family members throats, becoming a warrior for Yahweh, judging others by biblical standards, etc.
Sense I no longer have to satisfy an invisible sky daddy in fear for my soul, my focus on purpose had to be modified. I've found that releasing god’s purpose for my life, I found that my purpose wasn’t that much different in the “what” but more in the “why and for who”. So, without a supernatural force directing every step of my life, except for the ones that he doesn't, where do I start, how do I answer the question? Revelation #1 – IT’S ME DAMMIT!
My will shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force: I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice, my responsibility; win or lose; only I hold the key to my destiny. ~Elaine Maxwell~
I am responsible, when you reject the notion of a god(s) then who else is there? There is so much power in personal responsibility. Everything I think about, act upon, manipulate, etc. is my fucking fault. The way I perceive the day, interact or react towards people, places and things is all on me, not god, not my parents, not my wife, not my boss, not my dog, not Facebook posts and not on Obama (or Bush is you like). This is the first concept to get through that thick skull of yours, it’s your fault, all of it, yep that too. The number one step in finding your purpose, is finding your level of responsibility for your own actions and reactions. How do you expect to find your purpose when “your” is just a placeholder for some other agenticity for “you” to hide behind.
“Agenticity”: the tendency to believe that the world is controlled by invisible intentional agents. We believe that these intentional agents control the world, sometimes invisibly from the top down (as opposed to bottom-up causal randomness). ~Michael Shermer~
Agenticity isn’t just god(s) it’s any unsubstantiated entity, New World Order, Santa Claus, New Age, Fate, Destiny, etc. This was and still is a huge pill to swallow for me, the only one to blame is me, good and bad, if I am going to begin to steer this ship I need to put my hands on the wheel.
Revelation #2 – DON’T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER! As with any pendulum the swings from side to side can be monstrously huge, and my pendulum was no different. When I released myself from slavery to Christianity I rejected everything that had anything to do with it, or that ascribed to being a part of it. So all those things listed above, gone, rejected, which was a boneheaded move on my part and caused some needless pain.
I learned that what I considered god(s) purpose was really just my purpose that I gave agenticity to. I like helping people who need it, now I don’t limit it to the poor and homeless that frequent shelters, but to anyone, my friends that are in a slump. I can still mow widow’s lawns, minister (non-religious) to people; I can ram science, logic, reason down people’s throats instead (kidding). I found out that the reason god(s) always agreed with my interpretations was because they were my interpretations. Dugh! I dare you to test that on yourself.
So, what is my purpose? Well, for now it's simply to leave this world and the people I come in contact with better off because of my existence and interaction. To be the best husband, father, friend and businessman I can be in the moment I'm in. I no longer feel that my purpose has to align with someone else's interpretation of what that should be. Is that so different than others? I would have to say yes, because it's my purpose, and I work towards it without fear or guilt being the motivator. For better or worse, I'm at the helm.
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. ~William Gibson~