The Intention Driven Life

imagesWhen Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, was published in 1997, I had no interest in reading it. No disrespect, but his spirituality holds little appeal to me. That did not stop many people from giving me a copy; I had at least four copies at one point; all very well intended gifts.

No – I never did read the book. And the whole purpose driven thing remains suspect in my mind. Yes – we need a purpose, but something about the title does not set well with me.

About a week or so ago, I read a newsletter and saw a familiar name. I thought about how fond I was of that person; he is someone I really respect and admire – and I genuinely like him.  He had a positive influence on me when I was in grad school. That said, I do not know him so well. On a whim, I decided to email him and see if we could meet for coffee or something. He replied in the affirmative, and we set a date/time for today. I decided to take the day off from work, so I had no timing issues to deal with.

As it happened, I needed to meet with another friend, who just happens to work across the street from where I needed to be. I saw her, which was delightful, and then walked over to this gentleman’s office. It occurred to me as I walked over that I had no real purpose for this visit. I just genuinely wanted to say hello and have a conversation with this person. Suddenly I became nervous – my whim of an appointment had no purpose! Would I be wasting his time? He is kind of busy as I understand it. I began to wonder what I was thinking. Could I make up a purpose? That seemed wrong at many levels – not to mention, this came to me as I walked in the main door of the building where his office was.

I was graciously welcomed by his assistant; he was on the phone. It was a little anxiety provoking as I wondered how I would say that I had no purpose other than wanting to have a conversation.

Since when did two people having a conversation need to have a real purpose?

Moments later he was at the door way, welcoming me in,and offering me a seat. Figuring that small talk would get in the way of real talk, I outed myself, saying, “I don’t really have a purpose today. I just wanted to talk to you.” A broad smile spread across his face, kind of like a time-lapse photo of a sunrise. Phew! Was I ever relieved!

As it happens, he was actually very pleased that all that we were going to do was talk about nothing in particular. Thus our conversation began, with no real small talk. We traversed many topics – faith, life, politics, faith again. We spoke about things that we had done, and about a shared experience that we had, which was more or less how we knew each other. He spoke about a retreat the he had given (which I wanted to know more about, but we never got back to that). I know someone who used to work at the retreat center where he was, which is not in our area. Bringing this up, we discovered we had this mutual friend. (OK, he knows the man in real life; I only know him via Facebook and blogging.) We found this shared connection to be a small gift – like a small “s” sacrament that we shared.

Suddenly an hour had ticked by, but it felt like minutes. We discussed so many things, we touched on some deep and difficult situations, and we also laughed and spoke about the joy of life.  As I got up to leave, he thanked me for making the effort to come to see him, and said that we should meet up again.

As I left, feeling very happy, it struck me that what so often can seem like purpose is really something else. While that something else may not always be bad, it is not always good either.

The full title of Rick Warren’s book is, “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For?”  So – what are we here for?

What I think I am here for, what I hope for, is more like an intention driven life. The kind of intentionality that brings forth the Spirit in life is a beautiful thing. This is the intentionality that calls us to lives of generosity and service. If I have a “purpose” I hope that that it is to live with intention, which seems to have a more powerful place in my heart. There is so much to discuss there, that is another blog post, or another 20 blog posts.

Today I am just happy for a lovely day, all built around having a conversation that was full of intention, purpose or no purpose. As the day draws to a close, I can saw with gratitude, there may not have been a real point today, but there was always that intention.

PS – I did have a third social event today – I had a meet up with fellow blogger Allison, from Rambling Follower! She and her son were here, they are on a journey. We had met before. In case you are wondering, she is great!


9 thoughts on “The Intention Driven Life

  1. Yes! Well said. I often think God is in the interruptions. Being purpose-driven can be over-rated! Good for you for listening to your inner heart and following it. Now I want to know who you saw!?

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  2. I see the purpose of your meeting with your friend as keeping the connection between the two of you, and I think that he had the perfect reaction to your going there! I miss having a face-to-face chat with some of my friends.


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