Too Much Potential, Not Enough Purpose

June 22, 2011

I finally figured out what’s wrong with my generation.

Well, maybe not everything that’s wrong with us.  But a huge chunk of it hit me on the head last weekend while I was reviewing a not-yet-released book.

I finally looked around and saw what so many people, including myself, sense deep in their guts is wrong with the world.  Why are we so bored so much of the time?  Why are we agitated and depressed?  Why are we so often not happy with our lives, our work, ourselves?

Our problem is we think we’ve got too much of one thing, and not enough of another, and they’re both really important.

Too Much Potential

Since the time most of us were children, our parents told us we could do anything we wanted.  My parents told me I could be President someday, if I put my mind to it.  They told me I was very smart, and I was a smart kid.  I grew up thinking the world was just waiting for me to grow up and bless it with my unending gifts and talents.

I was full of potential.

And most of us went to church where we heard from our pastors and youth leaders and Sunday School teachers about how God had a great and glorious plan for our lives.  He had created us with wonderful talents that we just had to unlock.  God wanted our lives to be an incredible adventure!  It was exciting to think of growing up and finding out what God had in store, especially if it meant blasting into outer space.

Everywhere we went, whether it was school, or home, or church, we were told that we were beautiful and unique and above average and full of potential.

Not Enough Purpose

Then we grew up.

Being adults was a lot harder than a lot of us predicted, I think.  Lots of people I know, including myself, earned a college degree that we ended up not really using.  It’s been…interesting trying to make our way in a high-unemployment economy.  Everywhere I look, I have one friend who’s going nuts trying to find a job, and another friend who’s going nuts because he hates his job.

It’s easy to blame the world.  As I was rejected time and again by employers for asinine reasons, it became easy to tell myself that they didn’t deserve me.  After all, I’m awesome!  They’re the ones who suck.

And as my generation has struggled to become responsible adults, we realized our parents probably over-encouraged us.  I could never be President, even if I wanted to be.  I’m not as smart as I thought I was.  And as smart and talented as I may be, I’m at the mercy of employers who may not be looking for someone as awesome as me.  So my potential in life is really only measured by a stranger’s potential to make snap judgments about me.

Even bigger than the realization that our parents were wrong was the suspicion that our pastors were wrong.   What if God doesn’t have a glorious plan or purpose for our lives?  There are certainly days when it feels that way.

That’s why so many people are bored with life, or disenchanted, or anxious, or depressed, or abuse themselves, or have walked away from church, or hate their jobs.  We still hold onto the hope that we have a lot of potential, but the reality of the day-to-day is we’re desperately short on purpose.

Maybe Purpose, Perhaps, Doesn’t Come From a Store

How do we get it back?  A sense of purpose?

I don’t know.  It’s really hard to feel purposeful when you don’t feel useful.  We’re unemployed and underemployed.  We work a lot of jobs we don’t like to buy stuff we never have time to use.  Everything in our culture tells us that our purpose is to buy stuff, but ironically, we can’t buy as much as we used to.  Our church theaters are full of superstars being watched listlessly by a disengaged audience.  I can’t tell my friend that his situation will get better soon, because I don’t know that it will.  I know I was at the end of my rope until just a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe we have to change the definition of “purpose” or “plan.”

Maybe it’s like how the Grinch realized Christmas doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe your purpose doesn’t come from a job or paycheck, or anything you’re doing right now at all.

What do you think?  How do you define your purpose?  Do you get to be paid for your purpose, or is it something completely outside your job?  Tell us about some of your worst, least-purposeful jobs you’ve ever had.

By the way, the as-of-yet unreleased book is here.

48 responses to Too Much Potential, Not Enough Purpose

  1. I was at work today wishing I was doing something more meaningful with my life. Probably because I just came back from vacation! Anyway, a coworker noticed my stature and said, “Cheer up, it’s only work.”

    I’ve been struggling to work in a manner that is worshipful. Moreover, to understand work as worship. It has been difficult to do so, but I must remember that God has me in this specific company for a very specific purpose: to be a witness.

    If I can’t be content with what God has graciously given me, then something in me is wrong.

    Thanks for the post. Timely, as always.

    • “to be a witness”

      Could you clarify for this atheist what you mean by that phrase? Do you mean that you see your work primarily as an opportunity to evangelize to others in your company? I assume from the way you’ve written your comment that you’re not working in a religious setting, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • That’s the typical understanding of that phrase, yes. Not to necessarily overtly “evangelize,” by leaving Jesus tracts around, but to take opportunities to discuss faith, or be there for someone in need when the opportunities arise.

        • I guess my confusion, then, is why (presumably) hobbl3s doesn’t think that God’s purpose in putting him/her to work in this company is to make sure that purchase orders are filled out correctly and in a timely fashion, that quarterly reports are easy to follow and well-presented, etc. — whatever it is that his or her job entails. I understand why a Christian would care a lot about their opportunities to spread their beliefs, but if you really think that is God’s purpose for your life, why not become a preacher, an apologist, or a missionary? Is there some basis for believing God wanted you to be inattentive at this particular office job while you spent your efforts trying to convert your coworkers (those of them t hat aren’t already Christian, or are the wrong kind of Christian, I guess)?

          • Sure, you make a great point. Oftentimes, the search for higher purpose is a way to deal with a present job or situation that isn’t all that pleasant, because we don’t want to believe that our highest purpose in life is to fill out purchase orders. So we find some higher purpose in our situation, or we say that it’s preparation for a higher calling down the road, or something like that.

            I don’t know why everyone doesn’t become pastors, but I’m sure glad they don’t. We need purchase orders to be filled out, houses built, toilets unclogged and trash taken away.

    • See, I want to agree with you, that contentment with what God has given us is the goal. I just can’t decide if contentment is more godly than ambition.

  2. So, I don’t believe that there is a god out there, much less that there is one who has some grand purpose for my specific life. I’ve never been quite sure what it is that religious people, most often Christians in my everyday experiences, mean when they talk about purpose in this sense. I’m not even sure what you mean — but then, you say you want to redefine it to something you’ve not yet determined.

    You write,

    Even bigger than the realization that our parents were wrong was the suspicion that our pastors were wrong. What if God doesn’t have a glorious plan or purpose for our lives? There are certainly days when it feels that way.

    I’d be very interested in some follow-up on this idea. You sort of just let it hang. How did you convince yourself that your pastors weren’t wrong about this? It sounds like you still have those sorts of days.

    I don’t think I have a “purpose” in the sense I understand religious people to be talking about it. I don’t think I’m a cog in some giant universe machine, churning toward some very specific, predestined end. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have any purpose on a smaller scale, within my own life. I’ve written my take on this before and I don’t want to drag this comment on any longer. 😉
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    • Good question. I guess I am trying to define “purpose.” I suppose another way to put it is – what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Are we here just to work jobs we hate to buy crap we don’t need? Or do our lives have consequences. That is a universal human drive, I think. The need to matter, to be important.

      • Sure. We all want to matter. As far as I know, though, there’s no sound reason to believe that there is a “meaning of life” any more than there is a meaning of purple, or a meaning of cucumbers. We just are, and then we die. The meaning in my life is meaning that I put there, because I want to enjoy the time that I have here and die without regrets. I think my life has consequences in the lives of others, and I work to make those consequences as positive as possible. But if you reason your way all the way out to the eventual heat death of the universe, I guess at that point nothing we do “really matters.” And that does sound depressing, but I sort of grew out of that with the rest of my teenage angst. I’d rather face the reality of life and actually enjoy it for what it is than spend my short time here inside made-up stories that comfort me.

        • Just one more comment. :) And I’m not trying to grill you, I promise. I just found your comment really interesting.
          I notice you say you “grew out” of that angsty, depressing thought that nothing we do really matters when the universe ends. Why did you “grow out” of it? Was that an immature attitude? Or just too depressing to live in every day?

          What I find interesting is that you try to enjoy “the reality of life for what it is” without comforting yourself inside “made up stories.” But it seems that by “growing out” of the reality you know to be true – that the universe will end and we will not matter, that you are doing the same thing that you think religious people do – constructing a meaning to life. Your meaning is to “enjoy life and die without regrets.” Well, why should you enjoy life and not have regrets? And how could you regret anything if life has no meaning? Why do you care if your life impacts people positively? The universe certainly doesn’t care.

          I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy life. That a perfectly reasonable meaning of life. But it is a reason, nonetheless, that people create for themselves, to justify their existence.

          Just a thought. You can respond or not.

          • Great question! You’re absolutely right that I am constructing a meaning to life. There is no ultimate, grand significance to whether I enjoy myself. There’s just significance to me. I like being happy, so that’s what I try to do. I have friends and loved ones, and I care about whether they are happy (and as far as I can tell I know they enjoy being happy), so I try to do what I can to make that happen. I don’t claim there’s anything “true” about this meaning. “Meaning” is maybe the wrong word to use for it. I suppose it gives my life purpose, but it’s a small purpose, like going for a walk in order to enjoy the autumn leaves — not like the purpose of a tiny spring inside a wristwatch movement, helping the watch perform its essential functions.

            I think the difference between that and religion is that most religious people don’t say, “I just personally enjoy reminding myself of what I decided is my inherent sin nature and talking to my invisible friend who I like to pretend died gruesomely two thousand years ago and somehow redeemed my wretched self. That doesn’t have any cosmic significance, I admit, but it’s what I like to do.” I mean, it would be pretty weird for religious leaders to be open about how the meaning for life that they preached was “constructed.” Don’t Christians generally believe that there is an actual god out there with an actual plan, factually speaking?
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  3. Hi Matt,

    Just tried to comment a moment ago, but my machine lost it. I’ve got to learn how to use this thing! I’ll try to reconstruct what I just said, if I can remember:

    Who do you know who earned his living by growing mosquitoes?

    I did.

    For years I raised them for test purposes.

    Talk about an exciting, meaningful job!

    Yet, as far as being bored is concerned, I can’t ever remember being bored in my whole life (except maybe in a doctor’s waiting room). There are too many interesting things going on in the world around me, too many interesting things to think about. No one needs to be bored ever.

    As far as purpose is concerned, Jesus is my Lord and if He needs cannon fodder, well, ok. I’m not thrilled with that prospect, but it’s ok. No sin in being ordinary. In being one of the herd.

    I think we are all tempted to be great. I want to be the best damn Christian since Nero. Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes. As a writer, I want Stephen King to loose sleep worried that John Cowart’s books are going to out sell his.

    But God has not called me to be best; He calls me to be His.

    Sometimes that’s harder than trying to be a superstar.

    The will of God is simply to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. For myself, anything extra is religious froth.

    John

    • Excdellent sixty-second sermon, John.
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    • John, when you mentioned growing mosquitoes, I was reminded of a joke.

      Why did God make mosquitoes?
      To get people to slap themselves!

      Hee hee hee.
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    • Doctor’s waiting Room + SmartPhone = Exciting! 😉
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    • Wow! I have never heard of someone raising mosquitoes. If anyone needs any, I’m always trying to chase them out of my yard. But your point is well taken. Few people are happy with everything they have. One person thinks their life is boring and meaningless, but to an outsider, it’s fascinating. I would love to know more about raising mosquitoes, no matter how boring it would seem to you to talk about it.

      • Hi Matt, You asked for it:

        I love to talk about mosquitoes.

        There are 54 species of mosquito here in Florida. Each thrives with its own preferences in a slightly different environment. As disease vectors mosquitoes have killed more people in Florida than alligators, rattlesnakes and sharks combined. Without mosquito control, our state would be virtually uninhabitable.

        Why did God create mosquitoes?

        Well, their existence kept me gainfully employed for a number of years; other than that I have no idea.

        Here’s an insider mosquito control joke:
        How do you spell psorophora?
        B-U-G.

        What is God’s plan and my purpose?

        St. John said, “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is…”

        Ok, if I am to be like Christ, does that mean God’s will for me is that sometimes I get to ride the donkey while people acclaim that I’m a neat guy and spread flowers in my path? Wow! I’m a successful Christian…

        But sometimes God’s will for me in being like Christ means that I am to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…

        Screw that.

        Surely God has a wonderful plan for my life that doesn’t involve getting crucified.

        Doesn’t He?

        Not to strain at a gnat, but let’s have another look at those plans. There’s got to be a loophole somewhere.

        John

  4. Unfortunately, we plant the seeds of disillusion and discontent when we teach our kids that they are wonderful and can “do anything.” Better to teach them how to cope with the realities of life with the help of the Lord.
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  5. Being told you have potential is not necessarily a complement. As you point out, this is important to understand.

    By the way, you have become quite the banner fiend.
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  6. Did you ever see the show The Pretender? That guy could actually do anything. It was literally ridiculous, which probably explains why many people don’t know about it.

    I think one reason I enjoy teaching and am still crazy enough to pursue it in this environment is that it goes beyond the obscurity of “purpose” and helps the educator focus on specific skills and abilities. “You can do anything” is just not helpful,nor is “You’re funny. Why don’t you become a comedian?” My parents were good at identifying our individual strengths and talents and giving us honest, specific praise to that end. I mean, I don’t know about the rest of you, but my potential is pretty darn limited. Maybe we need a moratorium on doing “anything.” I think refining skills is better than focusing on purpose as long as we don’t substitute “purpose” with “being useful.” Teaching has developed my patience and listening skills, among others, and I don’t need to earn a paycheck paid to use those. In the end, I’m constantly reminded, it’s all about character.

  7. And we all have the same purpose: to serve others and God. How that looks specifically, well, I rambled enough about how I feel that works.

  8. Wow…great post Matt!…

    I don’t know if purpose can be paid for?…it be really difficult…cause in my opinion (even though havent gone through it)…once you start getting paid for your “Potential”, can it still feel the same as when you first started? or does it become just like everything else…obligated?

    It’s tough…

    We all know what the bible calls purpose (the great commission)

    But it’s fitting this into our day jobs and routines that maybe whats missing….maybe? i don’t know…

    But I DO agree that this is the root of the problem…
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  9. When I was a teenager and hearing about God having a “plan” for me, I was expecting it to be like a very well-laid-out set of instructions–go to University X, choose career B, and then I’d be doing whatever it was God wanted me to do and everything would be okay. Conversely, if I made choices that were contrary to God’s “plan”, terrible things would probably happen to me.

    The problem was, and this frustrated me to no end, no one ever gave me a clear idea of how God would communicate that plan to me. Was I supposed to get some kind of sign? Hear a voice? Would all the other options just ‘happen’ to fall away? None of those things happened. I wondered if I was doing something wrong–was God trying to tell me something but I was missing it for some reason? Maybe I wasn’t praying correctly?

    I did end up going to University X and I now have career B. On one hand, it pays well, my job is relatively secure, I’m able to provide for my family and I like my coworkers. However, I often feel kind of ill-suited for the work I’m doing–I’m fairly mediocre at it, not great, but not in danger of getting fired. I sometimes wonder if God had intended for me to do something else, but at this point I’ve got people depending on me so I don’t think a career change is a good idea.

    Perhaps God’s “plan” right now is for me to do the best job I can where I am right now; I just wish He spoke to me more clearly sometimes.

    • It’s always seemed to me that no matter what happens, it’s easy for religious people to conclude that that was God’s plan. After all, it couldn’t have happened any other way, right? Nothing happens except for his will, and all that. The unfortunate thing is, people use this as an excuse to refrain from intervening in times when it would be beneficial (don’t want to alter God’s plan) when it just as easily could have been that God’s plan was for them to have stepped in and done something.

      I don’t know how anyone is supposed to tell when they are deviating from God’s plan or when they are following it. As you point out, you’ve never really gotten a clear message from the heavens, but you’ve made the best decisions you can and things seem pretty okay. Sometimes, Christians say that you’ll suffer if you go against God’s will, so it seems like that’d be a way to tell — except they also say that suffering might be a test, or that it’s God’s way to help you mature and grow as a person, etc., so it’s not a reliable indicator.

      That’s why the “God’s plan” concept seems to me like a completely unverifiable, unfalsifiable, unhelpful hypothesis. How does looking for God’s plan actually help you live your life and make decisions? I don’t see how it possibly could. I don’t know … please tell me if there’s something here I’m totally missing.
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    • Yes! What was frustrating for me was being a smart kid, making what seemed like good decisions, only to spend my 20s working on plan B. My first college choice wasn’t a good one, though I met some lifelong friends, so I’m glad I went before I transferred. My first degree wasn’t fully utilized. I got halfway through seminary before realizing I wanted to get a teaching certificate. Then it took 2 jobs in 2 years to get a job that is halfway decent, though still not a dream occupation by a long shot. Still probably not living up to my potential, but working on it.

  10. Wow, Matt, this one hit home so much, I’m left pretty speechless. I’m going to share this and think about it. Thanks.
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  11. This post is why a lot of people our age (I’m a few years younger.) watch a horrifying amount of television. I don’t dare think very far outside the box as far as “conforming” and being a “Yes!” man at work. I have student loans and I need all the shifts I can get. :-)

    I don’t get paid for my purpose because I haven’t really got my purpose figured out. I think I see inklings of my purpose when I try to give 110% at work (even though I’m walking around aimlessly because the girl that “trained” me seemed to think I was a bother.)

    P.S. If this is the same unreleased book you have already mentioned in passing a couple of other times, it must be a must-read.

  12. I have always found it fascinating that Noah worked and preached for 120 years and the results? 8 people. 8 people saved and they were all family. Could I be satisfied if my life work was to influence 8 people?
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    • Absolutely not! We’re told to have a “kingdom influence,” and in our American, capitalistic minds, that means that we have to reach a lot of people, or we’re failures. Noah reaches 8 people. Jesus dies with 12 disciples. They would be utter failures as pastors in America today.

  13. If we look at all the people in the Bible, most led pretty uneventful lives. There were a few super-stars, but even someone like Ruth, who has a whole book in her honor, spent her time in the fields and raising kids. Not too glamorous. Sarah’s big contribution was giving birth to Isaac. What did she do during the century she waited for that to happen? She wandered around in the desert with her husband and a bunch of sheep. And as Brian just pointed out, Noah only managed to save 8 people, and his sons weren’t exactly stellar examples.

    Our human time frame is so limited. Perhaps God has us here for some purpose we won’t see until it’s all over and we’re with Him in heaven.

    I think books such as The Purpose-Driven Life raised our expectations in unrealistic ways. Sure, some of us know exactly what God wants us to do, while the rest of us may have no clue. The key is to stay tuned, so if He does call us aside to see a burning bush, we don’t miss it.

  14. Since my mom died and I am no longer taking care of her, yet am still unemployed, I have felt rather purposeless in the past year. Perhaps this sounds lazy, but I have started to think that maybe God is just letting me rest a bit to gear up for when my purpose becomes apparent.
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  15. Great blog, Matt!

    It is interesting how we try to pick jobs, careers and that sort of thing. We chase after likes, and some of us stick with it. Others change their likes. I used to like motocross, and now my knees hate it. I used to love to play hockey, now I want to retire to Florida where there is no ice. So, I like other stuff now.

    The idea of purpose is sort of a Rick Warren thing – you know, if we get saved, we’ll have purpose. Not really.

    My parents said I would never amount to much. It wasn’t true.

    What really changed my life, my purpose and my level of satisfaction was hearing from God. I went to a Christian career counselor and he identified why I always felt like I was nowhere after a few years at a job. He said I needed a changing environment. So we prayed and God spoke about a career in computers – Macintosh, Photoshop and software. I have been doing that for just about 20 years. The technology changes every few years, and I find that challenging.

    I used to go to church and hear that god had a plan for me – a ministry in fact; one where I could serve him. The preacher’s said that we all had that. I couldn’t figure it out! I just did what I was good at (guitar) and tried to get involved with some of the other outreaches. The Baptists said I should witness, so I did with no results. The Episcopalians said I should feed the poor; so I did. I was cool, but I wasn’t passionate about it. Others church emphasized other aspects of Christianity – but it didn’t do it for me.

    Then one day a friend took me to see a prophet from PA. He prophesied missions, prophesy, writing, and teaching. I was skeptical – but in that very year it all began to happen. Everything he said started t fall into place. I was joyful, and it didn’t matter what anyone said, I loved doing it. I have written close to 1000 blogs, been to 13 countries and ministered/taught in just about every denomination known to man. I have purpose!

    An yes I have had some bad jobs that were not a fit for me. I love computers and yes I have gotten paid for ministry too. The difference is that I never plan on getting paid for the work in the Kingdom. Other days I just make tents.
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  16. I think this is one of your better posts, and judging from the comments, others struggle/ponder with this question too.

    Purpose, passion – it’s fairly similar. Kingdom Bloggers are writing about that this week. Check them out at http://www.kingdombloggers.com.

    For me, my purpose is to do the works of the Father, which he prepared in advance for me to do. So first, I need to be a daughter to the Father. Simply be. I don’t spend much time pondering what my purpose is in my natural family. I’m a daughter and that’s enough.

    Second, the Father is always working and I’m joining the family business. Again, it’s about being a son or daughter, knowing what the family business is and participating.

    Perhaps my answer seems weak – to my natural mind, it seems weak to me too. My spirit man (or woman as it pertains to me) is satisfied ONLY when I am with the Father. I don’t care what we’re doing, as long as we’re together.
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  17. Oh man, you really hit on something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. I actually just wrote my own blog post on it, although I couched it more in terms of calling. But really, I think we’re talking about the same thing here.

    Right now I’m trying to be okay with the possibility that my purpose may encompass encouraging my just recently laid-off husband, nurturing and caring for my two youngish children, doing laundry & cleaning a house, and playing viola on the worship band at church.

    There are lots of things I’d think I should be, to have lived a “successful” life and to even reach my potential… I wanted to be a rockstar electric violist or some amazing author. Or a really amazing pathologist or research psychologist.

    You know what? I’ll be 31 in less than two weeks. Chances are most of those will never happen. Maybe none of those will happen. Does that mean I didn’t reach my potential? That I didn’t lead a successful life?

    Hopefully it means I did reach my potential– just not in ways I originally thought, planned, or hoped. And hopefully, I lived a fulfilling, purpose-filled life, not necessarily a “successful” one.
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  18. Dude…I wish I had more time to write at the moment because this post is dead on the mark.
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  19. Ha! Matt love this. And I can’t wait to read this “yet-to-be released book” in which sparked such insight :) I bet the author is devilishly witty and handsome at the same time.

    We are a generation drowning in potential, and possibilities, and Jeremiah 29:11 about God’s big plans for our life. But when those “big plans” find their way into a cubicle, or serving coffee, or broke and unemployed on the couch watching re-runs of Saved by the Bell, becoming extremely frustrated that a guy like Screech could make it big and you can’t even pay rent (I might be speaking from experience here).

    We are in long, drawn out process of redefining success, expectations, and God’s plans. It’s not easy, but it’s good…
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  20. nice post…You mean there’s not an app for that?
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  21. Good stuff. Personally, I just did a post on “Why potential is overrated.” When you’re young it’s OK, to an extent, but as you get older you’ve got to develop that potential into something tangible. With great talent, should come great responsibility. Talk it cheap, let’s see some results.

  22. This brings to mind a a few ideas:
    1. God gave us three main job descriptions: love Him/worship Him/obey Him, love and respect others, take care of what He has given us. God uses the wordly work we do to help us live out these three jobs. It took me about thirty-five years and four kids to drill this in my limited brain and even now–squirrell!!!–I get distracted from it.
    2. Every job has a certain level of crap in it. As a parent, this is sometimes literal, but usually figurative in terms of listening to whining, arbrating fights, fighting the endless battle of keeping the house in some semblance of order. In my pre-kid job, it involved reading customer requirements and determining if we could make something that met them. Sometimes those requirements were pretty basic and sometimes, especially if the government was involved, those requirements were put in a document so tedious, redundant, and dry that it made your most tedious, boring college book read like _Harry Potter_. Even my husband, who has a couple minor patents to his name has really boring stuff to do at work, especially when one of his projects gets shut down.
    3. We aren’t meant to get the dream jobs right away. We need to be trustworthy in the little things before we get to the good stuff and I think our attitude is a big part of making us trustworthy. The life of Andrew Carnegie really drills this point home. So do your best at the job you are currently or will be doing and trust that God, who knows the desires of your heart, will fulfill them.
    So now that God has reminded me of these things, I am off to ask Him to help me with my focus and improve my attitude so that I can graciously ask my kids to do things for the four thousandth time because that is REALLY how many times it takes to get into a good habit.
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  23. Wow. Thank you for writing this, Matt! I’ve been struggling with the exact same thing for some time now. Either I’ve been continuously under employed or unemployed and looking (like I am now) since I graduated college in 2006. That really does a number on one’s self-worth.

    But the fact of the matter is, we shouldn’t be putting so much value in a career. Over the past 5 years my husband and I have strengthened our marriage, made a difference in our friends’ lives, and grown in our walk with God. Maybe we aren’t as far ahead in the corporate world as the people we graduated college with, but I think God has been teaching us the value of relationships. In the end, that is truly what is what life is all about.

  24. I think you’re younger than me (I’m 40), but Tina Fey addressed this in her new book “Bossypants.”

  25. Conversely, if I made choices that were contrary to God’s “plan”, terrible things would probably happen to me. Either I’ve been continuously under employed or unemployed and looking (like I am now) since I graduated college in 2006.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Wednesday News and Topics | Hermit of Bardstown - June 22, 2011

    […] My blogging friend Matt Appling has another great post today. Too Much Potential, Not Enough Purpose How do we get it back? A sense of […]

  2. Who I’m ____ing Right Now: June Edition | Tamara Out Loud - June 30, 2011

    […] his thoughts on our being wired for beauty and then again with his idea that our generation has too much potential and not enough purpose. If you’ve never visited The Church of No People, get in there […]

  3. Blogs you need to read, part 1 | The Screaming Kettle at Home - August 12, 2011

    […] him to call things as he sees them. He’s also a funny dude. You should check out his posts Too Much Potential, Not Enough Purpose and How I Fake Being an […]

  4. The Unassuming Life — Compost - January 20, 2012

    […] all want to “make a difference.” We all want our lives to count for something. As Matt, over at TheChurchOfNoPeople.com recently wrote, “We still hold onto the hope that we have a lot of potential, but the reality of […]