24 | Finding Meaning and Purpose: UNpacking and REpacking your pack

If you were heading out to canoe for two weeks in the Boundary Waters, a series of pristine lakes up around Ely, Minnesota, you would be unpacking your gear and selecting what you need to go into the canoe with you. You would not want what you don’t need. You would wish for what you need and no more. 

It would be REALLY hard to decide what to take OUT of your bag and what to put INTO your bag if you did not have a strong sense of WHERE you were going. 

Beach? Flip-flops. Mountains? Parka. Sabaton Concert? High-fidelity ear plugs. Canoe? Waterproof bags. 

We’ve spent a number of episodes on meaning and purpose because it’s essential to your vocation as a Christina. Your vocation: that thing God is calling you to do. It didn’t stop when you decided to be a priest, nun, brother, friar, married, single, or whatever. 

God’s always there, inviting you out into the vineyard, which is the world, to be swept up into His plans, to be a part of it all. To love, to serve, to Be. THAT vocation. 

That’s a reference to the vineyard where the master hired laborers at different times of the day. He kept going to the market and seeing people standing around. No! Come join us in our labors, he said. That’s the parable that John Paul II leveraged in Christifideles Laici, which we’ve been quoting in these last few episodes because it connects vocation, your relationship with God, your work for the Kingdom, and your sense of purpose and meaning together. 

What a blessing to have an opportunity to make your own unique contribution to the kingdom. Based on who you are. Your gifts, talents, strengths, values, preferences, inclinations, experience, history… the whole ball of wax, meaning you. 

Meaning and purpose are central to your well-being. To be able to do more than just cope to flourish. 

There’s a lady we know that’s retiring. She has to decide where to live and what to do with that house that’s in the family. Sell it? Rent it? Move there? Put one of the relatives in there? There’s a lot to sort out.  She’s not in the mood to play around, she wants to move to the next big thing in life; she’s very strong and mission-oriented. Wow, so cool. 

The thing is, she can’t make any big decisions until she decides: what’s my purpose now? What’s Next for me? That might take a little experimentation. We are so excited! What’s going to be her new direction? She will make it an excellent one, we know that much. 

That’s what articulating purpose does for you. Helps you strip away what’s not needed and holds you back. And pack-in the things you need now. Goals. Commitments. Relationships. Work. Play. Place. Roles.

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We are Karen and Curtis Herbert, founders of The Catholic Midlife. Our mission is to spark a catholic midlife renewal and help YOU to step into your next season with purpose, hope, and a clear vision for the rest of your life.

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