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  • Writer's pictureDavid Knell

Your Machine and Your Mission

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Eat your vegetables. Clean your room. Work hard. Say your prayers. Find your passion. Make the world a better place. Be mindful. Get things done. Floss.

What’s it all for?

Lately, I’ve started to think of it this way:

Everyone has a purpose, a reason to exist, an aim to spend a life striving for.

One aspect of this is the same for everyone. In a nutshell, I believe that universal purpose is to have joy. True joy comes by, among other things, growing and becoming better and learning to love others enough to help them grow and and become better. There are things God asks all of us to do to help us most fully achieve that joy.

A second aspect of this is unique to each individual. We each have different areas of ourselves that need improve. And we each have different talents that we need to develop into skills and use to help others. There are things God asks each of us to do, if we will ask and listen, to help us most fully develop and use our gifts to make a difference of good for others.

So we have this two-fold way of looking at our lives: what we all have in common and what is unique to us as individuals. Here’s a way to look at how to begin and continue going about them, and it’s another two-fold approach:

The machine and the mission.

Let’s say you have a car. What’s the purpose of that car? Pretty easy answer: to take you where you want to go. That’s it. You may do other things with a car, like show it off or sleep in it, but transporting you to your myriad destinations is its paramount purpose.

But a car can’t do that purpose if it doesn’t work. If the engine dies or a tire pops or even if the wiper fluid runs out. You have to take care of the machine. If you do, it’ll take you to the places you want to go.

You have a mission in life: to help others, have joy, learn to love God and others, and achieve whatever your personal calling is. The clearer that mission is to you, and the more deliberately you do it, the more and higher and deeper your joy will be.

But to achieve that mission, you need a well-functioning machine to take you there. You need a healthy and energetic body, a clear and firm but changeable mind, a power-filled and clean spirit, a pure and ceaselessly-passionate heart.

If you take your task list and view it through this pair of glasses, with these two lenses, I think you’ll see that all of the “stuff” you pile high for yourself fits either your mission in life or helps your machine run smoothly and well. And if it fits neither, maybe that tells you something about its worth.

Let’s do this with the list I opened with:

Take care of your machine

  • Eat your vegetables => fuel your body

  • Clean your room => a clear mind needs a clean environment

  • Say your prayers => centering yourself in God is the strongest foundation of confidence and clarity there is

  • Be mindful => reminding your mind that you live in a physical world helps keep it quiet

  • Floss => you need teeth to do that first one

Fulfill your mission

  • Find your passion => the activities, domains, topics you love are great places to start to finding your true, God-given talents; your true, God-given talents (once developed into skills) will help you achieve your unique mission in a potent and satisfying way

  • Work hard => your mission will be hard—worth it, but hard; if you don’t do the work needed to accomplish it, including developing your talents into skills to, it won’t happen (hint: there be sadness)

  • Get things done => the work to be done often breaks down into hundreds of little tasks and routines; doing tasks is doing your mission (as long as they’re mission tasks; don’t get lost in trivial pursuits)

  • Make the world a better place => whatever your unique, personal, individual mission is, it will 100% always involve helping other people

Understanding the difference between your mission and your machine helps you discern between the essential and the distracting. It helps you distinguish between healthy self-care (activities that refresh and fuel you for your mission) and self-indulgence (activities, perhaps even the same activities as in self-care, that become distractions from your mission or weaken you so you can’t do it as well or don’t really want to do it anymore).

Is scrolling through social media a refreshing diversion that gives your mind a quick break, or is it a time-suck and mind-blur that leaves you feeling tired and empty?

Does your diet, water-intake, and amount of exercise make your body and mind stronger and clearer, a revved machine ready to take you to the highest places, or do they make you feel heavy, stiff, and sluggish?

Does your level of spirituality empower you to listen to your conscience, that quiet voice within that knows what’s best for you, or do you find yourself ignoring or actively hiding from that voice?

Deception, including self-deception, is all around. But the truth is that you do have a mission, and your body, mind, heart, and spirit are the machine that will take you there.

Find your mission and do it. Be good to your machine so that you can do it.

Thanks for reading. 

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