More on Purpose: Cleaning My Glasses and Faith

I’ve had my glasses less than a year, so I still occasionally get compliments about them and I don’t mind them much yet. But for someone who can be OCD, glasses are a terrible thing; how does anyone keep the lenses clean for even an hour?! Mainly I have them for driving, but I’ll bring my glasses along anytime I might have a meeting or presentation or any other situation where distance focus might be advantageous. Heaven forbid there are spots on the lenses, because not only will they drive me nuts if I don’t have a cloth to clean them off, but practically, they’re obscuring my vision — the very thing they are supposed to be correcting. I feel like this spotting and smudging often happens with my faith.

Faith is like glasses

In a lot of ways, I think faith are life’s glasses. The object or belief in which I place utmost value puts the rest of the world in a certain focus. Faith is the thing that helps us make out that purpose on the horizon. And it’s faith that helps us make that next step when the world grows dim. It’s faith that helps us define focus from distraction. And while I claim faith in Jesus, we can place our faith in nearly anything.

Where’d my purpose go?

But sometimes that faith gets smudged. We cloud the lenses with insecurity, doubt, or the myriad other distractions available to us today. The purposeful life is quickly lost when I can’t see beyond my own need to be liked. In those times when the glasses get dirty, I can try to keep on following the purpose I may have defined pretty well, but my vision is only as good as it is unobscured.

With purpose, it takes a village.

It’s time to dust off that faith. Rather than a rag, I have my Bible, wife, church, and friends, that remind me to pull my head out my butt or dust myself off and help point me back toward the purpose I lost amidst the insecurity or the doubt or name the distraction. They help sweep the specks off my lenses so I can get back on the road. But what’s important to note is many of the sources I listed are others, are community. Cleaning off the glasses in life usually is a group effort.

Purpose requires increasing the prescription.

Over time, I’ll need to change my prescription. Pretty soon, I’ll find the faith through which I view my world just isn’t strong enough or needs some tweaking here or there. I can’t really hope for this to happen unless I continue to have and invite people into my life to challenge that faith or just provide input. Sure, I’d love to play doctor and patient here, but that’s not how it works. I’m also not saying that to grow spiritually one needs the equivalent of a faith doctor. That just sounds atrocious. No. Growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Without outside observation, I have no reason to change. And life just gets blurry.

Purpose will become blurry.

Though, sometimes when we grow in our faith, the purpose we were chasing after becomes blurry. This is life. This is not the time I should be freaking out and forgo months or years of progress. It simply means we have outgrown that old sense of purpose, so stop, take a look around and find that new point on the horizon, and keep going. Yes, there’s comfort in the old purpose, as I often define myself at least in part by that purpose. But I — and you — are much more than our purpose alone. Let the old purpose go. It did its job and got you as far as it did. Now let the new do its. We’re talking purpose, not destination.

This is where I leave you today: my not talking about defining purpose doesn’t mean it’s not important. The truth is quite the opposite; defining purpose is too important to tack on to a post like this. But that purpose must be defined through the lens of faith, as the rest of the world around us inevitably is. But more on definition soon. Where have you placed your faith, friend? When was the last time you sought to dust it off? What is clouding that faith’s lenses, obscuring your view of the purpose ahead? Can you see that purpose at all through those lenses? Perhaps it’s time you cleaned off those lenses or maybe reexamined your purpose altogether.