Recently as I was driving in the car, listening to one of my favorite podcasts, my heart almost seemed to stop beating. I”m in the zone listening and watching the road. In the next second, I hear the words, “we focus on self-preservation over perseverance.” At that moment those words hit a nerve. I frantically tried to figure out how to write down these words knowing how SIRI loves to mess with me when I use voice memo.
I couldn’t get these words out of my head. I began to ponder what they meant in relationship to our purpose. So I asked myself, “Is your purpose tied up in self-preservation”? Now I am asking you all the same question. Have you thought about what it looks like to always hold onto those perfect moments you experience in life? Do you think you are missing out on something more?
Here’s an example of what I mean. The days each of my sons were born were life-changing. I could easily freeze that moment in time but at what cost? I would have missed out on being fully present for their growing up years. Their wedding days would look like just another day because my focus was on preserving one moment in time at the cost of all the others.
A recurring message throughout this podcast was for us to give ourselves permission for the seasons to change. When we do this, I believe we allow God to work more fully in us. It gives us a better chance to reach the purpose He planned for us. There is nothing wrong with self-preservation in other contexts such as when facing life or death, or accomplishing a goal like running a marathon. But for the context of this post, we need to hold onto self-preservation loosely so it does not overwhelm the purpose God planned for us.
My life in the last several years looks a little lost on the outside. But if you could peek into my heart, a beautiful work is being done. The season of my life changed when I retired and my purpose looks different. What many might not see is how God takes the time we give Him and uses it for good. This work is all about surrendering and embracing the new life that God promises. Letting go of the idea of “is your purpose tied up in self-preservation” opens the door to the work God plans for you.
[Tweet “Purpose occurs when we let go, let God lead, and move ever closer to Him.”]
God works in and through us no matter what our age. He moves us forward as we surrender pieces of ourselves to Him. In the moment we invite Him to be our Savior, He not only rejoices but provides opportunities for us to honor Him. As much as we love the comfortable and familiar, we need to let go. God’s call is not easy or comfortable. Hanging onto those precious times of life that brought us great joy is trying to freeze frame our future. Purpose occurs when we let go, let God lead and move ever closer to Him.
Chrystal Evans Hurst was the guest on the podcast. Here are some wise words to remind you that who you are is worth everything to God. He loved writing your story and enjoys seeing you fulfill your beautiful purpose.
If you are still here, you are supposed to be here.
Grace to yourself and your circumstance to always rescue the girl.
You need to have something to pour out to other people.
Live your life and show up like you are supposed to be there.
Reimagining our purpose is a journey of accepting the new even when the old is our happy place. It looks like surrendering those perfect life moments in order to live more fully in the here and now. Letting go of self-preservation makes room for a life in vibrant color rather than one that is fading or yellowing. Seeking purpose is about letting God lead even when it looks nothing like we imagined.
Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. Matthew 23:8-10 MSG
Blessings on your week!
To catch up on the whole Reimagining our Purpose series, click HERE.
Podcast link-Revelation Wellness-Episode #250
Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash
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“Live your life and show up like you are supposed to be there.”
And that Matthew verse in that version really spoke to me!
Don’t you love those words you quoted. We forget that God created us uniquely to walk with Him and honor Him with our lives. So let’s go out and be the best version of us we can be!
Oh wow, I needed to read this today. I want so badly to move forward with God, but find myself “self-preservating” and hanging on to the good from the past. But I may very well be missing out on the good right in front of me.
Change is so very difficult especially when we are faced with a lot of changes in a short period of time. God meets us in the place of transition and reveals our purpose if we look forward and move ahead. I pray God continues to show you what is ahead and how wonderful it will be. Blessings dear friend!
There have been so many times that I would have like to push “pause” as in I like this place right here and would very much like to stay here awhile. God often…okay usually….has other ideas that often involve change. If we are to be growing to be more like Christ it isn’t going to happen if we’re standing still. It does take change, growth, perseverance, and all those hard things we’d rather avoid if we could. Like you, I’m trying to take hold of the righteous right hand and say, “Okay Lord….I’ll go with you.” Great post!
Thank you for always sharing so honestly. I smiled while reading “God often…okay usually.. has other ideas.” Absolutely! Life would be easier if we listened the first time, right? I have always said that saying “yes” is the easy part. Following through is the hard part. May we take hold of God’s hand and be ready to change, grow and persevere. Blessings!
Change is always hard and so we resist it, opting for our place of comfort, but comfort often leads to complacency so we need to be like Abraham, who was willing to get up and go when the Lord said Leave. thanks for a reminder to embrace whatever comes our way and to look for God in new places!
I love Abraham and his courage to persevere even as he approached 100 years old. Amazing! Change has never been easy for me so I default to that familiar, comfortable place in my life. I pray we seek God first and allow Him to lead us in this journey of life. Blessings!
Self-preservation comes as natural to us. It is part of our being. Our own make-up. The problem happens when we make it our only purpose in life.
A big “yes” to your wise words. We are a fight or flight people so self-preservation is necessary. God, though, is our safe haven and strength to guide us toward His purpose.
This is such an interesting topic, Mary! I can definitely see where my resistance to change is rooted in self-preservation. Thankfully, I can also see where my fear and resistance has lessened over the years. I think as we grow in our relationship with Christ we learn to trust Him more and recognize that change is often the catalyst for growth in our faith journey. His way of slowly revealing and moving us toward our purpose. I love that you mentioned how much of His work is being done in your heart, where others can’t see. Hidden growth is one of the topics I hope to touch on in my Winter series. I love how these conversations of faith get started and how God speaks to each of us right where we are with just the words we need to hear! Blessings on your day, sweet friend!
I am so thankful that God is patient moves me slowly toward my purpose. He knows me well. I also love that when our faith grows we are able to overcome fear and resistance with the truth of God. It is so beautiful.
Love having you share your own insight into this conversation. I am blessed that you are willing to share and I hope God gives you the words to write about hidden growth.
Mary, wow! What an amazing podcast that must have been. And your reflections on what you heard are inspirational. I haven’t really considered if I’m making my purpose self-preservation, but it’s a question I’m pondering now.
This quote really spoke to me:
“This work is all about surrendering and embracing the new life that God promises. Letting go of the idea of “is your purpose tied up in self-preservation” opens the door to the work God plans for you.”
It’s only as we let go of preserving ourselves that we find our purpose, and we discover how God preserves us as we walk with Him.
If you like Chrystal Evans Hurst, you will love the podcast. I also think you would love Revelation Wellness if you listen to podcasts while you are walking especially.
I would love to hear more of your thoughts after you spend more time reflecting on self-preservation over perseverance. It’s easy for me to get lost in the past especially when thinking of my parents or other special moments from growing up. But I am learning that when I don’t focus on the present I can miss so much.
God has so many things planned for us and it is humbling to know that it doesn’t matter our age, race, gender or status. Praying you find God in your day to day moments and know that He will meet you there.
Thank you for this thought-provoking insight, Mary. I love how you self-examine yourself and inspire us to as well. This line especially touches me – “Purpose occurs when we let go, let God lead and move ever closer to Him.” Oh, how we need that. Love and hugs to you!
I am a work in progress and God is constantly challenging me to dig deeper in order to discover the truth of myself and God. Purpose seems to be an endless topic that pushes me to look at many different perspectives. May we continue to let go and let God lead the way. Love you friend!
So many good thoughts here, Mary! “Seeking purpose is about letting God lead even when it looks nothing like we imagined.” Sometimes God leads us in ways we didn’t expect, but when we follow we are blessed even though it may take us through a difficult time. He is working in our lives and He gives peace and contentment. Blessings to you!
I have had some “I never imagined” moments with God. But the beauty is that He already knew and His plan is always good. Life is much more interesting when we let God unfold His story for us and try not to figure it out on our own. I pray we know God’s peace and contentment by seeking God first in all.
Oh yes, your thoughts resonate so deeply in me also. Moving into a new season can sometimes sound so exciting. But when that new season “looks nothing like we imagined,” well the surrender to let go of that self-preservation can feel so scary. Thank you for this encouragement to look at it from God’s viewpoint, to know that He has the best in mind for us still!
I love hearing that the words resonate with you too. I know our circumstances are different, but God has a way of speaking words we need to hear whether we hear them directly from God or through others. God always has our best interests at heart and loves nothing more than to show up and lead us. Thank you for your insight friend!
Thanks for this wisdom, Mary. I don’t tend to look back to the past, but I’ve noticed it’s more of a temptation now that my second child will fly the coop in August, a month after our trans-Atlantic move back to Texas! I look around at our apartment and remember their childhood. But your words remind me that God has something new, and I for one don’t want to miss it!
You are in a season of letting go. It is a challenging season for sure. I am just a bit beyond it but still find myself facing new experiences since both sons are married. It is a beautiful thing to be present in the moment so as not to miss anything. I’ll be praying as your daughter prepares to move forward. May your momma heart be ready to let her fly.
My immediate response when I read your title was, “Wow, I hope not!”
This is such a great distinction. I want to persevere in faith, trusting God to preserve and protect!
Thanks, too, for the podcast link.
I hope not either but it is interesting to reflect on and see what this looks like in your life. It has been a chance for me to dig a little in my own life and decipher the difference between self-preservation and perseverance. I know you like podcasts. Revelation Wellness is more of a faith and fitness podcast but I find it to be just what I need whether I am out walking or listening to it in the car.
I agree, we need to let go of self-preservation when it’s holding us back from stepping into God’s purpose. That was one of my lessons in my year of surrender when I realised I was clinging to a church situation that wasn’t really working because I was scared of losing control if I let it go. The alternative was too uncertain and scary, but finally letting it go is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve been blessed in ways I’d never have imagined and I feel that I’m where God wants me to be.
It is always hard to let go of what feels familiar and comfortable. But as you stated it ended up being one of the best decisions. God honors us when we honor Him with our “yes” even if it is scary and difficult. Surrender is teaching me that what I think is never as good as what God has already planned. He takes our fear and shows us that it is nothing compared to the reward of a life with him.
Facing death…well, it isn’t self-preservation that motivates me so much as it is the need to find my limits. Pain and fatigue and discomfort are irrelevant; the question is how far can I push to still be useful without collapse?
It’s clearly a moving target. Push too hard and I become more of a burden than I already am; push harder and I die. But on the other hand I can’t be too gentle with myself, and leave the potential for useful work untapped.
Tough problem, and I’d rather not be here, but there ya go.
I am so glad to see you today, Andrew. You are always in my prayers. You are fighting quite the battle and one that doesn’t benefit you too much either way from what you describe. But I love how you still feel some purpose to push even if it is just a little bit. May God use you as you fulfill His will.