The fourth thing our kids need to know when we send them out into the world is what it means to live with purpose. As my oldest son, Russel, is preparing to leave for college after he graduates this year, I am more focused in on how important this is, than ever before.
Like many soon-to-be college students as they embark on the next season of their lives, he is asking himself a lot of questions, such as, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” He is realizing his answer to that question will drive what he studies and majors in. He is asking how much he wants to make, what kind of lifestyle he wants to have… all great questions. On top of that, colleges are scouting him out, offering scholarship opportunities and petitions for him to come to their school. It’s a lot to process through for any high school senior, much less one who is graduating a year early at the tender age of just sixteen.
As my son is pondering these things, my heart is pondering many things as well. I wonder, have I poured everything into him he needs? Have I helped him understand enough who he is in Christ, how loved he is, and how important it is to live a life of surrender to God– for His glory? When our pondering moments come together and we talk through the transition that is coming, I listen and then I try to slip in a little nugget of wisdom… I try to plant a seed to steer his soul-searching in the right direction… and sometimes I outwardly remind him that the most important thing in life is to live within God’s will, fulfilling the purpose He created Russel to fulfill in this life.
That is my hope for my children — that they live within God’s will and that doing so matters to them. In my prayer time, I ask God to set them apart, to consecrate them for His glory, to use them in amazing ways to further His kingdom here on this earth. I want nothing more than for my children to seek God first in all things as it says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” And as they seek God first I trust He will meet their every need. To seek God first… there is nothing more noble than that.
I also think on verses like Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This verse reminds me that we all have a void that only God and eternity in Heaven with Him can fill, that nothing on this earth can satisfy. My heart’s desire is for my kids to turn that void to God and not look to worldly things, careers, achievements or relationships to fill it.
My absolute dream for my kids is that they live successful lives on this earth, storing up for themselves treasures in Heaven that moth and rust cannot destroy. I do want them to do great things, have a good lifestyle, find a career path where they can live out their gifts and talents and pass on God’s love to those around them, but I want them to do it from a place where they recognize none of these things in and of themselves are their purpose. But rather, their purpose is who they are day-to-day as they walk out all they do in all the hats they wear.
That brings us back to our family mission statement I started with in the first Parenting on Purpose post. I would love nothing more than to see my kids grasp and carry this out in their lives. That is — “We, the O’Donnell’s, live to unveil God’s love and glorify Him in our everyday lives.”
For me, I feel if my kids grasp this as they head out into the world, they will start that journey from a place of wholeness — a place of knowing where their identity lies — a place of knowing there is nothing better in this life than reaching Heaven and getting a big hug from our Heavenly Father along with a precious, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” As a mom, nothing would bring greater joy.
What does success look like for you as you prepare to send your kids out into the world, and how do you explain living with purpose to your children?
Copyright © 2014 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved.