I started this year praying for God to give me the strength and ability to focus on a handful of areas in my life in this season: faith, friends and family, food and fitness, and fun. Yes, they all start with the same letter. I like alliterations, okay?
This evolved slowly as the months went by, as I read more and more about intentional living and talked about it with a good friend of mine, we developed our own manifestos. Being challenged to write one compelled me to take a deeper look at what I believe and what I want my life to look like, and this is what I came up with.
Purpose Statement: Intentionally live a simple, vibrant, joyful, sustainable life as a slave of Christ, unapologetically devoted to giving toward, growing toward, and going toward the broken corners of the world to usher in grace, love, freedom, and restoration.
Intentionally live: I will wake up every day with renewed purpose and drive to live the life I feel called to live, giving myself grace for the moments I stray. I will move with intention, remain with purpose, and interact with meaning. My circumstances are not coincidence or accident- they are divinely orchestrated in great detail and with great purpose, with which I want to be burdened and motivated every day of my life. I will take the limited time I have here on this earth seriously, knowing I have been entrusted with certain gifts and abilities to be used for God’s glory. I no longer want to passively live my life, blindly doing what is simply expected of me, but actively live—making decisions with confidence, knowing my purpose, taking steps to reach my goals, evaluating choices through the lens of my God-given purpose.
Simple: Less is more. I will focus on the things that matter most to me, eliminating both physical and emotional clutter and distractions. I want to slow down and enjoy the simpler pleasures of life, choosing to live well right where I am, seeing the beauty in the mundane, the peace in the chaos. I will eschew the world’s definition of success in favor of my own, refusing to accumulate excess or strive endlessly for more of the trivial material possessions and achievements that my contemporaries work for, instead pressing on toward the ultimate prize, running with endurance the race marked out for me. If I have loved well, my life will have been a success, and nothing else will matter.
Vibrant and joyful: I will choose joy, forgiveness, peace, boldness, courage, love, and fearlessness each and every day as I follow Christ and His example. By God’s grace, I will exude joy, happiness, and optimism in a world full of hurt and darkness, seeking opportunities to bring about a better world, welcoming others into the process. I will make a point to find and share the silver lining, the glimpse of hope, and the positive side of things, especially in the face of sorrow, pain, and brokenness.
Sustainable: The pursuit of well-being in every area of life is vital and interconnected. As a caretaker of God’s beautiful creation, I will respect and care for the earth we inhabit. I will move at a pace that is consistent and healthy in our harried culture, both working hard at whatever task is before me and embracing rest. I will choose to reduce my consumption, reuse what I have, and recycle what I cannot. I want to lead a healthy lifestyle in a concerted effort to nourish the body I have, treating it as a temple, not a trash can, and encouraging others to do the same.
Slave of Christ: Jesus is better. I will take up my cross every day, steadfastly following the path of my God, being devoted to going wherever He may lead, making Christ Lord of every area of my life. I long to be so convinced of His supremacy over my life that I will surrender my own will and rights, instead honoring only His. In everything I do, I must work for Him, look to Him, listen to Him, rely on Him. I will seek first His kingdom, finding my identity solely in who I am in Christ. I will not become enslaved to my reputation, job, friends, dreams, plans, or what society and others tell me I should be. I will be willing to have my life poured out for the sake of others, for I have not attained anything in this life on my own and owe my everything to my Lord and His cause, and the salvation of even a single soul is worth everything I have to give. I will diligently work alongside my God to repair the brokenness of my world, counting it as joy to suffer for His sake, considering everything else rubbish that I may know and gain Christ.
Unapologetically devoted: I will be willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world for following my God and the path He has marked out for me, persevering through any ridicule or persecution that comes my way, to the point of death. I will choose to be a good steward of all I’ve been given, living every day with reckless abandon to my God and the purpose He has blessed me with, living like I believe another world, a better world, is possible.
Giving: I will give up some things to be able to invest more fully in things that really matter. I will be generous in giving of my time, money, and skills to do what I can to bring about a better world, by God’s grace, because love does. I will seek His direction in discerning where I should invest my time and resources in every season of life. I will give to promote community, hospitality, life-on-life relationships, and real conversation, giving others permission to do the same. I will invest in experiences over possessions, being willing to pass up opportunities to acquire more material possessions in favor of collecting memories. I will be diligent in maintaining a budget and paying off debt, so I can make the most of what resources I have.
Growing: I will grow toward the person God and I want me to be, a person more like Christ. I will seek the Lord’s face and heart, rely on His strength instead of my own, live my life boldly by His grace, stop analyzing and just do. I desire a life of resting in Him, waiting on Him, and living in constant expectation of God doing something unimaginable. I strive to stretch and challenge myself to reach new goals, continually moving forward. I will expect authenticity, embracing vulnerability and imperfection, first from myself, and then allowing others to do the same. I will spend time with people who bring out the best in me, encourage me, and challenge me to become who I want to be. I need to make a regular habit of trying new things, and not timidly step outside of my comfort zone, but leap outside of it! I will strive to never stop learning, never quenching my soul’s thirst for more inspiration, more adventure, more creativity, more of Christ.
Going: I will go out boldly into the world, moving with conviction and purpose, using the Holy Spirit as my compass and the Word as my map. I will go boldly in the direction of my God-given dreams, embracing the unexpected turns, and never stop dreaming big dreams. I will bloom where I’m planted in each season of my life, wherever that might be. Learning to enjoy the growth and breathing room of the scenic route instead of feeling stuck will be my goal, for as long as God has me there. I will be present. I will serve. I will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unloved. I long for a more just world. I will be the hands and feet of Christ, providing for both physical and spiritual needs of others, recognizing these people are in my life for a reason, not by accident.
Grace, love, freedom, and restoration: The world needs more of Jesus. I will go out into the world every day, prayerfully seeking opportunities to extend God’s grace to those who feel like they are too far gone, love to those the world has labeled as unlovable, freedom to those who are caught up in destructive lives of lies and deception, and restoration to those who are broken.
Do you have a purpose statement or manifesto for your life? If you don’t, what would you put in yours?