Are You a Fixer-Upper?

683c5-majorca-85448_1280I watched a home improvement show the other day, in awe as the host “re-purposed” several ordinary items and made them beautiful. A couple of those things definitely belonged on the trash heap, in my humble opinion. But when she’d finished, those items became a focal point of great interest, on the walls of the home she was redecorating. The total effect–beautiful.

That set me thinking again about purpose. Earlier this year, I wrote about purpose in our lives. Purpose gives you direction. Purpose gets you out of bed in the morning, dressed, and on the road. Sometimes that purpose is earning an income. Other times, that purpose is serving others.

Re-purposing your life can mean a course-correction. The day comes, when we may have to reevaluate our lives, because we sense that something’s “just not right.” Maybe it involves a job loss or people leaving our lives. These are moments of conflict that require concentration and planning. Jump too quickly, and you could make a disastrous mistake. A knee-jerk reaction isn’t the answer.

My first step is to pray. I spend time in quiet meditation and ask God to show me my purpose. Am I on the right track, or have I veered too far from the original plan?

A course correction can be painful. Re-purposing that ordinary junk took some pretty intensive labor, but in the end, the beauty of the object was undeniable. It was worth the labor and the time. What is required to re-purpose our lives? Time–in prayer, meditation, study, training–sometimes, a complete overhaul. Work those muscles. Clean the house. Get rid of all the junk that weighs down your life.

old-stove-896285_1920With a clean slate, redecorate. Find what is salvageable and re-purpose it. It’s amazing how energized I feel when my house is freshly cleaned.

If you’re feeling “stuck” — make a change that will freshen your spirit and strengthen your heart. Go for a long walk. Don’t rush, just take your time and use that time to reevaluate your purpose. Pray and ask God to show you what to do to bring about a change in your life. Then listen. Don’t talk, just listen.

Sometimes re-purposing is laborious. It’s uncomfortable. You have to change position, or even move your residence. Other times, you can take whatever life has brought your way and turn it into something truly beautiful and cherished. Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” will take something that looks like junk, clean it up, display it on the mantle, and it becomes a focal point. A treasure. It’s been re-purposed. It has worth.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Sit still and wait, or keep moving forward, but don’t stop. God has a purpose for you. Maybe you just need to clean yourself up and find a new purpose, so you can “shine…like stars in the sky…” (Philippians 2:16).

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. — Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV

The Importance of Being Earnest

According to, the word earnest means: serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous.

On Purpose StickyLast month, I blogged about living life on purpose (with purpose). I will admit, it isn’t easy. I’ve had a post-it note stuck in front of my nose for days to help me.

In my decisions: choose to make a difference in the lives of others. Whenever possible, I’ve made an effort to spend time with my family instead of holing up with my latest work-in-progress. That might mean babysitting or conversing with my school-age grandkids whenever I’m blessed with the opportunity.

To maintain this intent and purpose, I’ve needed to spur myself and stir up the zealousness when I only wanted to retreat. You see, we make a daily choice, whether by habit or intent, to get out of bed and go to work. We go because we need a paycheck, or because we know our work is necessary for the good of others.

school-teacher-148135_1280I had dinner with an elementary grades teacher last night. She takes her work seriously. She’s earnest in her calling. She’s inspiring young minds and helping mold their future. Those aren’t just cliches to her. They are her purpose. It’s not always easy. I’ve spoken to teachers suffering from burn-out. They were discouraged, and had lost their zeal for the work that once described them and gave them purpose.

So it’s important to maintain our purpose. That’s the real importance of being earnest.

Did you wonder from my title, if I was going to reference Oscar Wilde’s play by the same name? Well, you’re right, I am. The subtitle of Wilde’s original work is “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” The play was originally performed in London on Valentine’s Day, 1895. It was originally described as a “satirical farce.”

I had read the thing a number of years ago, but it had fallen by the wayside in my memory until spurred by the 2002 movie with Rupert Everett and Colin Firth (among many other brilliant and funny actors). If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a watch. It’s cute, lighthearted fun, though it does carry a message and an obvious play-on-words.

So, in closing, what changes would you make to your life, in order to pursue a more earnest, purpose-driven lifestyle?

Maybe you’d need to be more present in your own life. Put away your phone, tablet, laptop, etc., and make actual eye contact with your loved ones or coworkers. That droning sound you hear as you’re texting a smiley-face to your best friend? That’s your spouse talking to you about his day. Wake up and let him know you care about him and what happened to him.

ripplesStop what you’re doing, whenever possible. Touch your child’s face and make eye contact. Respond to their need for attention with love, instead of impatience. Be earnest in your affection. Make a difference and you’ll hear a splash and see the ripple effect on the surface of your life.

I don’t play accurately – anyone can play accurately – but I play with wonderful expression. — Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest