The Accidental Life and the Purposeful Life
He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. Matthew 3:11
Whenever I’ve accomplished something that required hard work, I’ve looked back with pride at the effort it took to get there. I didn’t get here by accident. I got here by working for this. Whenever I’ve failed significantly though, inflicting misery on myself or loved ones, I’ve looked back with surprise. How did I get here? This didn’t go as planned. Why?
It took my most obvious destruction – losing my job and going to treatment due to my addiction – to realize an obvious truth: If I want to be somewhere tomorrow, I must walk in that direction today. If I don’t like where I am today, I need to look back, understanding the direction I’ve been going, and I must go a different way.
This sounds obvious, but it’s a mystery to many addicts. We didn’t set out to burn our lives down, yet that’s what we’ve done by just doing what comes naturally. Simply following our nature – living accidentally – led us to disaster. If we want to know a different life then, we must daily walk in a new direction. We must live purposefully.
John the Baptist didn’t live accidentally. His life was focused directly on Christ and he lived accordingly. John didn’t follow his appetite for comfort, sex, or popularity. He daily lived in such a manner that pointed others to Jesus. He knew his life’s purpose and every day, he pursued it.
In my disaster, I wanted a different life. In my desperation, I asked God what I must do. The life I wanted, he said, was to be found in daily following him instead of me. I still fail often, but daily, I make a genuine effort at pointing my life at God, faith, and recovery. I don’t want to return to the life that happens when I live for what just comes naturally, so today, I’ll live purposefully, walking in the direction that I want to be tomorrow.
Life doesn’t change instantly when we turn around. Change takes time. If we want our lives to be different tomorrow though, we must turn around today. Today, and every day, we must follow God to life, faith, and recovery. Like John, we must live on purpose, with our lives pointed at God.