MEANING is defined as:
- What is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import
- the end, purpose, or significance of something
- full of significance; expressive
PURPOSE is defined as:
- The reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
- an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal
- determination; resoluteness
The definitions do not separate these two words by much…
I see the difference as follows:
- Meaning is defining, Purpose is executing
- Meaning is psychological, Purpose is spiritual
- Meaning is motivation, Purpose is potential
- Meaning is passion, Purpose is drive
- Meaning is dreaming, Purpose is action
Many of us have asked the question, “what is the meaning of life?” (725 million times on Google).
What I find interesting is that the question “what is the PURPOSE of life?” has 1.14 BILLION hits! It seems that we are more interested in what our purpose is than what it all means.
I am here to argue that in order to live your best life, you cannot have one without the other.
Why? I don’t know…
Just kidding, but that is what it’s like when someone goes through life without meaning, without definition, without dreaming, without passion. When they are asked why, they have no answer.
Is it because that’s what their parents told them they had to do? Society? Their manager?
How many people are stuck in job that was supposed to be a stepping stone to something greater and ended up being their “career?” Somewhere along the way they lost their meaning and became blind to anything that is not right in front of them, allowing their purpose to become that one thing… over and over and over…
I think Pablo Picasso said it well:
I spent many years trying to be someone I am not. Letting the world and others define me. It wasn’t until I took the time to focus on me, what my goals are and what my meaning is for my life, what are my gifts that I was able to then find joy in what I do and be able to give away the joy to others through my work, my actions and my relationships.
For me, I found meaning once I drew closer to Jesus. In learning about Him and the gifts he blessed me with, allowed me to exercise those gifts and my life transformed. I am still a work in progress and I will be until the day I die, but I know where my meaning comes from, which gives me confidence to pursue my purpose with reckless abandonment!
Romans 8:28 says: And I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
If the creator of all things, who has no doubt the meaning of it all as He defined it all, has blessed me with specific and certain gifts intended for me to serve out MY purpose in my world in harmony with HIS purpose for THE world, who am I to not lean into that truth fully ! Who am I?