I’ve been thinking a lot lately (I think most of my posts begin with those words) about purpose, and living a meaningful life. I used to imagine an adventurous life, maybe that of a missionary, or of a modern-day Francis of Assisi…you know, live in poverty, not really have a home, wander the world with my friends. I used to think that maybe I would live in another country, or a bunch of other countries. Or maybe I’d really pursue music, and travel the country singing my songs. Most of my plans involved major sojourning.
Then, for the last two years of college, I lived in a big old house with a bunch of girls, and for the first time got a taste of life in community. Suddenly, I realized I wanted to have a home base. Maybe I’d still be a vagabond most of the time, but I wanted to have some place to come home to. I thought maybe I’d always live in community, but in a more purposeful and meaningful way than I experienced in college. I loved to have a safe place into which I could invite other lost souls. A home for the homeless, even if they were just homeless on the inside.
Then I fell in love. Got married. Moved into a new city. Found a new church. Built new community. Had a baby. Got pregnant again. And even though there’s still the same thirst for adventure in me, I think I’m realizing that adventure is not just the big stuff. It’s not only to be found in a new country, or in a wandering lifestyle, or in a grand, sweeping life choice. Not only that, but the mandates of scripture for the believer are geared more toward the quiet, the every day, the mundane. I’ve begun to realize that a purposeful, meaningful life lived completely wrapped up and immersed in the gospel and faith can be adventurous and mundane at the same time. My ambition is no longer to seek adventure in the far corners of the earth, but to live a quiet and peaceful life, loving the people around me as best I can. And I don’t feel as though I’ve traded my adventuresome side for the boring life of a homemaker, either.
That’s what’s cool about finding your place in the life you have right now. It may not look like the life you dreamed of when you were 19, which is not to downplay the vast, scheming dreams of youth. But simply because my life is not exactly what I expected doesn’t mean it’s not exactly what I want, what I need, what I’m called to do. I still dream of the future, what my life will look like when my kids are in school, graduated, on their own. Maybe Matthew and I will get to go abroad someday. Maybe we will move into the country and have a little farm for our grandkids to visit. Maybe we’ll plant a church in the country when we move. And until then, I work and dream and live in the content that comes from knowing that growth is always an adventure. Even when the growth is measured in crumbs swept from my kitchen floor.