Over the last few years, I have struggled to find meaning and purpose in my life. My husband and I have been unable to have children, and I have had a hard time getting my career off the ground. I spent my days thinking, "Maybe tomorrow my dreams will come true. I will finally have children. I will finally have a career. I will finally have a purpose." But then days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, and nothing had changed. Eventually my dreams didn't provide me hope anymore - instead, they began to feel like a cruel joke.
I had been teetering on the brink of feeling utterly lost and completely joyless. But then a few weeks ago, my pastor began his Sunday sermon by asking the question, "What if the fulfillment you are looking for is found in your relationship with your neighbors?" He reminded us that the greatest commandment in all of Scripture is to love - love God and love others - and that when we choose to give love we enter into God's divine infrastructure where we are loved in return.
As I listened to the message, I felt things inside me begin to shift. What if I stopped looking to the future and started focusing on loving people today, right where I am? What if that would give me the sense of purpose I was looking for?
So, I walked out of church that day with a new mindset and a new plan: I would do at least one small act of love for another person each day. On Monday, I shared a recipe with one of my neighbors. On Tuesday, I emailed a friend and told him all the things I appreciate about him. Now I am on week five of intentionally loving my neighbors, and it's amazing - as simple as these acts of love are, they have given me an incredible sense of purpose. I wake up each morning with butterflies of anticipation, wondering who God has planned for me to love that day.
Today I feel my hope, my joy, my sense of fulfillment being restored. I haven't given up on my dreams - maybe someday I will have children, or an awesome career. But either way, I know that I have discovered my very greatest purpose: to love.