Tuesday, October 28, 2008

what is it for?

last sunday in journey's worship gathering i said that my fellow journeyer mike lawrence had suggested in a journey somethingorother some time back that the right question always to ask, about every decision, about everything you or i feel led to do, or want to do, or are already doing, is: What's it for?
as i live intentionally, and with attention to what i'm doing and why, i find that this question is more and more satisfying to ask. i like it. i mean, i DON'T like it when what i find is that there's really no good reason to do something ... or, that there's every reason NOT to do something i like doing.
  • journey i.f.c. exists and operates, for over 4 years now. what's it for? what does it accomplish? why is it here?
  • marriages exist. what're they for? what do they accomplish? why do they continue? why put effort into them?
  • there's a friendship. what's it for? what does it accomplish? how is the world different because it exists? what if it didn't exist?
  • your business, where you work - what's it for?
  • your house, or apartment, or mansion - what is its purpose? how are you using it, and for what?
  • the way you eat, or drink, or read, or play, or ride a bicycle, or knit, or garden, or watch movies or tv - why? what does that pattern accomplish?
  • your money, and what you do with it - what's it for? what does it produce? what does it achieve?
for me, this goes more and more and more to the real issue, which is awareness. consciousness. attention. i don't know everything about why i do what i do, but i can learn more and more. sometimes when i look back at certain decisions in my life, or patterns, they might be things that for years i saw as train wrecks, and now i see that they meant something. if i hurt someone or hurt myself, it may have been that my soul was trying to work something out. that's what it was for. i can go back, and make amends, and forgive myself and others, because i don't need for that decision to be anything other than what it was.
there are other negative or hurtful things i've chosen, and i don't see any redemption in them at all ... what i see is that i wasn't in awareness when i was in the middle of it. i was hurting, so i was hurtful. can i learn from that, and make different decisions next time? yes. i hope so.

jesus was all about awareness. he was a mirror. a mirror with god in it, but a mirror nevertheless. he'd ask people, "What do you want?" and then he'd say, "Your faith/trust/hope/guts brought about your healing." you were willing to look deep into what you have been choosing, and why you've been choosing it, and decide. and you decided healing and hope and possibility. you chose to get up and walk. you chose to trust something bigger than yourself.

what's it for? god asks us. like god in the garden of eden, after adam and eve had done the thing god told them not to do, and god says, "Adam, where are you?" god asks me, "What are you doing? why?"
when i am strong and patient and compassionate with myself and others, i can look honestly, and own whatever it is, and what it produces, and what it's for ... and ask, is this a good thing?


David said...

This post is another one that is really relevant to me. I have lived YEARS without awareness of the underlying motivations for my choices (and lack thereof). I have adopted roles for myself, rather than to really try and be authentically the mess that I am. It all comes out, sooner or later...

So, thanks for this post. Asking "What is it for" is simple, but it just might be the key to growing in your understanding of who you really are and what is making you tick.

I've been asking the wrong question!

Anonymous said...

The question is, how do you answer yourself? And how do you know when your answer is something worthwhile and acceptable, versus something that's weighing you down? How do you know when you're doing the right thing? Or is there a clear-cut answer?

Joe Rutland said...

Excellent post, sir. "What's it for?" is, like, a deeper, under-the-surface question that -- in my opinion -- all spiritual paths (yes, including Jeeeee-zuhs and plain ol' Jesus) lead me to ask myself. It's not good enough anymore for me to just say "Aw, fuck it" and move on. If I choose to live with intention and aware of who I am and what I'm feeling in my body and guts, then I am living. Fully alive. "What's it for?" then leads to other questions ... and, well, a-hem ... there's my work.

Hugs and shrugs --

Grace and peace --