June 6, 2013

Pursuing Purpose & Finding Peace

Do you know that feeling of overwhelm? When you have an infinite to-do list scrolling through your mind over and over, like a stock ticker at the bottom of a television screen? When you’re furiously rushing through a task just to reach the next one and mark it off the mental list? I experience this chronically.  

Last week, though, I think I finally found the “off” button for that to-do ticker. 

I was racing down my list of tasks for both work and home, feeling the pressure of a dozen empty check-boxes that seemed to be multiplying. I was stressed, fatigued, and feeling defeated because there was no way I could accomplish everything before the day was over. 

Then this question whispered its way through my mind: Why is all of this so important?

For almost all of the tasks that most burdened me, there was a basic purpose: to save time, to save money, or to save face. Do you find this to be true?
  • We rush to get something done now with the goal of creating more time for ourselves later.
  • We do “extra” work with the goal of saving money— growing our own produce, making homemade cleaning products, line-drying laundry
  • We sometimes pressure ourselves simply in the twisted hope of saving face. (What would friends think if they stopped by and there was dust on my doorframes?)
Once I had recognized this immediate purpose, I wondered what I would actually do with all that time and money and reputation I was supposedly saving.

I couldn’t think of an answer. There was no significant, big-picture purpose for the rush on all of those “to-do’s.”

That was the moment when the ticker stopped scrolling.

In pursuing purpose, I found peace. 

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