When people don’t have meaning in life that’s what makes life so unbearable. Even if you have a very pleasurable life. Even if you suffer in life as long as you have meaning in your life it can move you.
So what is the real purpose and meaning of life? Throughout my stages in life (as a women, a mother, a friend, etc.) I found myself asking these questions and more…
- Is it to make a lot of money and have a successful career?
- Is it to marry and raise a family?
- Is it to own lots of material possessions.. nice car, big house, jewelry, etc?
- Is it to make lots of friends, be popular and socialize?
- Come home, eat dinner, watch TV/surf the internet, and go to bed day after day?
- But is that all life is about?
- Does my life and work serve for the good of the world or self-satisfaction?
Is there no greater meaning or purpose to this amazing gift of life? For some, maybe these sources of meaning and purpose are enough. But do they “really” fulfill ones God’s given life? I don’t know about others, but I have always felt something very deep within me says “there is more to life than any of these, that there is something very great and meaningful to why I am here”. But what is my purpose in life?
Corinthians 8:28 promises us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So, it’s true God has a purpose and we have been created as part of that purpose and for a purpose.
And Jesus tells us what that purpose is – to love and serve God, and to love and serve others – and it’s repeated three times in the Scriptures (Matthew 22:36, Mark 12:29, and Luke 10:25). It’s really so very simple.
When we are fulfilling that purpose, then that place deep down inside of us fills up and we experience peace and happiness. When we’re not, and we begin focusing on our own self and our own needs exclusively, then other emotions start seeping in.
My life purpose… It’s to be a Secular Carmelite… Love and Serve God… By: Loving and Caring for my Family… Loving and Praying for All People… Being Kind… Being Generous… Sharing the Catholic Faith full of Gods Love… And so much more…
Thank you God for all my graces! I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.
Living the 10 Secrets to Happiness
By Pope Francis
“Live and Let Live”- Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”
I found instead of jeopardizing my own happiness by trying to change or control the lives of others. At first you don’t realize you’re even do it, but now that I see it and I’ve stopped (sometimes it takes time), I am a much happier person. I had to remind myself on what God is asking us to do. Jesus said it a little more bluntly by asking “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3.
“Be giving of yourself to others” – People need to be open and generous toward others, especially those in need, brings us into an intimate encounter with Christ, who is the source of all joy. Jesus assures us that whatever we do for the least of our brothers, we do for him (Matthew 25:40). Whenever we share material goods, offer emotional support, extend a helping hand, or provide spiritual sustenance, we not only ease someone’s burden, we also discover that the experience enriches our lives, too. Pope Francis warns that “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnate water becomes putrid”.
How have you experienced happiness through reaching out to help others? Myself, I have increased my giving of myself to others through volunteering and sharing of my faith with others. The meaningful connection’s to another person brings so much joy to my life.
“Proceed Calmly” – Happiness is jeopardized when our lives become hectic and out of control. The pope uses the image of a quiet pool of water and urges us “to move with kindness and humility, calmness in life.” In trying to cultivate calmness in life, it is important for us to understand that life is not governed so much by what happens to us as it is by how we react to disruptive influences.
One way I maintain calmness (no matter what is happening) is establishing a deep spiritual life. When I am centered on God, what happens on the surface of my life may ruffle me a little, but it will not disturb my deep inner peace and relationship with God. I encourage you to pray as I do… Pray for the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life.
“Develop a healthy sense of leisure” – We live in a secular world that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many of us deal with stressful job demands and other commitments. Pope Francis notes the real fear that the pleasures of art, literature, playing with children, and spending time with family members are being lost in the busyness of daily life. Leisure activities give our bodies and mind a chance to refresh and renew themselves, and give us a chance to reconnect with one another. It is important to set aside time to turn off the television, communicate with one another, read together, engage in playful activities, and eat dinner together as a family, as well as explore the arts, culture and nature.
How have you developed a healthy sense of leisure? Myself, I leave work at the office and don’t let it spill into my leisure time. I plan to to go on two or more retreats a year, visit family members, do things that are outdoors (walking, hiking, the beach, biking, etc.), taking day trips, road trips, and more fun to come. This year I am planning to leisure around at Disneyland and Universal Studios for a milestone birthday.
“Make Sunday a Holy Day” – Pope Francis suggests that the surefire way to find happiness is to reclaim Sunday as a holy day. He also suggests that Sunday should be a family day. You can start to make Sunday holy by going to Mass every week. Making the rest of the day holy will depend on your lifestyle. If you work indoors, outdoor adventures will allow you to enjoy God’s creation. If you’re active all week, you might build some quiet time into Sunday.
Yes, I am reclaiming my Sunday’s! I always start my outings with Mass, prayer time in adoration, quiet time, family/friends time, relaxing with a good book, or just plain napping. I sometimes slip and do chores, but I’m a lot better than I use to be. Observing Sunday as a holy day has given me the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual side of our existence, appreciate the blessings of family, and discover true happiness.
“Create jobs for young people” – We find purpose in our lives through meaningful work; we are encouraged to take that one step further and ensure that young people have what Pope Francis calls “dignified jobs”. We can start the process early in our own families by assigning to our children household chores that teach them the importance of making a contribution to the family.
We can involve preteens and adolescents in volunteer service projects where they can use their God-given gifts and talents. “We need to be creative with young people,” the pope urges, “in order to prevent them from slipping into drugs and despair. When we find ways to raise them up, we will discover in them and in ourselves a deeper sense of happiness.”
I see that young people are being lost in the world because everything is being done for them and the need for instant gratification is stunting their growth of patience we all need in life. Young people need to be taught the joys and reward of hard days work. As a single parent I wanted to make sure that my children had chores and learned the value of hard work. They are now grown with great work ethics and appreciation for the things they work for to live and enjoy one life.
“Respect and take care of nature” – We are the stewards of the God’s creation, and we have a responsibility to preserve and protect it — not just for ourselves, but for future generations — including clean air and water, wetlands and forests, farm lands and natural resources. Pope Francis asks the question: “Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?” We can start in our own homes, schools, and workplaces by recycling, reusing, and cutting back on pollutants and waste.
Our personal campaign should be to respect and care for nature, which brings happiness to all. Because taking time and important steps to respect and preserve our environment is the future of our planet.
What is something you can do to become a better steward of God’s creation? Myself, I recycle and try not to buy products that take up space in our landfills. I reuse whatever I can and do my part not to cause any pollution (maintain my automobiles).
“Stop being negative” – Constant complaining, biting criticism, back-stabbing and gossip are like poisons that kill happiness. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem.” Pope Francis explains. “That means, I feel so low that instead of picking myself up, I have to cut to others down. It’s not easy to change from being negative to being positive. The first step is awareness that being negative or positive is a personal choice. The second step is making a concerted effort to stop ourselves from negative thoughts and words as soon as possible. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy, the Pope adds, and it leads to a more positive and a happier outlook on life.
What steps can you take to eliminate negativity in your life? My personal choices, I have never been one for gossip and just find changing the subject or walking away works wonders. I don’t like hurting people (we all have our struggles) and who am I to talk about other when I’m a not perfect and a sinner. Growing up and now I have always been a “look at the positive” side of each situation. It takes way too much energy to be negative and it sucks the life out of the other people around you. I’ve found that usually people that are negative are unhappy with their lives, some how they think complaining will make it better. NOT!
“Respect others’ beliefs” – We all have family members, friends, and acquaintances who do not share our Catholic beliefs. Yet, nagging and pressuring will not bring happiness for anyone. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating,” Pope Francis explains. When we live as authentic witnesses to Christ, other people are attracted by the inner peace and joy that emanate from us. They want that peace and joy for themselves. Whether or not they ever come to share our beliefs, when we treat them with respect, we create a bond of happiness between us.
How do you respect others’ beliefs and at the same time witness to your own? I inspire others through living the faith daily (actions), sharing my life stories (verbally or written), how much happier my life is, listening to others beliefs (it’s acting very interesting) so that we grow our friendship/relationship through the kindness of communication and actions. My spiritual leader and friend Fr. Gary Sumpter once advised me to “Live the Word of the Lord” as a devout Catholic, others will witness my happiness and love for God… Let God do the rest.
“Work for peace” – We are called to stand up for peace: “The call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet; peace is always proactive,” Pope Francis says. We may not be able to bring about peace on a global scale, but we can pray for world peace, peace in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and places of employment. When we take a stand against violence in any form, we become peacemakers. Jesus calls peacemakers “blessed” and gives them distinction of being “children of God”. (Matthew. 5:9)
We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.
I have always stood up for the less fortunate and the underdog so to speak. I despise bullies! Having experienced many bullies in my life from childhood to adulthood and this present day I still deal with bullies. I pray that the evil spirits that live within them are banished into hell. From stepping between two “very large men” to stop them from fighting in the presence of young children to stepping up in neighborhoods to stop violence and thieves. The worst are adult bullies, especially the ones in the workplace, messing with the lives of people trying to raise families and put food on the tables. I have been blessed with being a peacemaker and I take it very seriously.