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  • Writer's pictureshelisloterbeek

A Message for the World

This quote drew my attention the other day:

"Here is one way to look at yourself through spiritual eyes: you are a message. When you wonder what existence is all about, when you ask about your purpose in life, or when you feel small in comparison to the troubles of the world: remember that you are a message sent by the Spirit into creation. What you say, what you do, how you think and feel: your whole life is a long and sustained message for others to encounter, experience and receive. You are a living message: sent to touch more lives than you can imagine."
-Steven Charleston, Episcopal Bishop and Native American elder of the Choctaw nation

As a spiritual director, I hold space for others as they explore their lives. A topic that comes up often is What is my purpose? or What is my calling? What if I don't get it right? and sometimes even the question Why do I even exist?

The questions seem large and looming. And for those who feel the pressure of "getting it right" the questions can be paralyzing. Rainer Maria Rilke encourages us to "“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Bishop Charleston reframes the narrative of purpose as message. But not as one specific message, as a message of the whole self - words, actions, thoughts, feelings. Opening ourselves to the permeation of Christ through our whole self. The permeated message then overflowing and receiving in each person and situation encountered along the way.

This isn't a life goal or a mission statement, but acknowledging the creativity of the Spirit within you. The message crafted as you journey on. It's not a to-do or a force of will, but an overflow of what is formed within.


What "messages" have you encountered in others?

Have you wondered about or questioned your purpose? How does thinking about your life as a completely unique message for the world resonate with you?

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