Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marked For A Purpose

by Donna L. Watkins

Here at La Selva Biological Station a lot of research goes on in the rainforest. There are evidences here and there of some of the projects, such as plastic colored tape on a tree, although there's not an abundance of it, so it doesn't ruin the look and feel of the jungle.

When I do come upon a tree such as this one pictured, I wonder, "What's the purpose? What is special about this tree? Who is watching over it? How often do they get to see the tree and make their assessments? Is growth being tracked? What purpose does this tree have to warrant it's being monitored?"

When we're born, we're birthed with a purpose from the heart of God. We are designed with special gifts and talents that He has given us to use while on this earth. Many times we consider them so 'natural' that we don't value them. We go off trying to be like those we admire. Desiring more of the things we're not, while spending too much time comparing ourselves.

Advertising certainly encourages us to compare ... but it was a problem long before that because the Bible mentions Cane and Abel, where comparison led to murder. Galations 6:4 tells us: "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that ... Don't compare yourself with others."

We are each uniquely made and created with natural abilities (talents) that go along with our purpose. Our focus needs to be on discovering more about ourselves, rather than comparison or envy.

I watched a video clip about purpose awhile back and took some notes. I didn't write down the speaker's name, so I must apologize for not giving him credit. His ideas on discovering our purpose included these:

Think about the ending of life. What would you like on your epitaph? How would like your obituary to read? Sometime those questions give direction on what you should be doing while you're alive. Other questions include:

What am I good at? What am I drawn to? What are the lessons I'm here to learn in life? What have you learned in life? You'll probably have a desire to help others learn it also.

Illustrations could be if you grew up in an abusive home, you've learned a lot about dealing with that and many of those people get involved with social work. If you grew up with an ill parents, you may be drawn to the medical profession. If you had an alcoholic parent, it might lead to being a school counselor or a volunteer as a recovery helper.

A good life purpose can be summarized in a life purpose statement. Who are you? You're definitely marked with a purpose and if you haven't discovered it, take some time to do so. Walking, working and living within the boundaries of our life purpose can make a tremendous difference in how well we live our lives.

Maybe you're not a real people person but you love beauty and seek to create beauty in lives of those around you? When I was diagnosed with vitiligo, I was into beaches and islands. Fun in the sun. With vitiligo you can't be in the sun because you lose patches of pigment and if you tan it makes it very obvious and having no pigment makes it real risky to be in the sun. It's seemed the activities I love were all taken away, but when we moved to the forest, I found a passion for life that I didn't know I had.

I feel that I was born to love the natural world within forests. I feel totally alive in a forest and I enjoy plants, lizards, spiders, bugs, birds, animals, snakes, and anything that God created. The forest is a world of its own within my soul. Having learned to love forests (a lesson from having vitiligo), I want the world to know how important they are and that we must preserve them. They are restorative not only for the planet, but also for the soul.

Close your eyes and picture a woodland walk. Hear the birds singing, the scurrying on the forest floor, and the breeze causing the leaves to clap their hands? All stress melts away as you drift into a peaceful and healing realm that feels so distant from your everyday life. All of that and more is what God put within the forest just for us.

Green space related to health is now being researched. For children with ADHD, research shows that ADHD symptoms are relieved after spending time in nature. The greener the setting, the more the relief. If they had the diagnosis while I was in school, I would've been an ADHD kid. No wonder I feel so good in nature. I feel like I'm all ME when I'm in a forest, like it's where I was born to be.

What and where is the place that you can be all YOU? Have you discovered it? If you don't you'll dry up and wither from the inside out. The world will crawl all over you and eat you up if you don't live within your purpose. This tree had a purpose at one time. See the red tape that is now covered with algae and moss? It's not being noticed or given any care. Is that the way you feel sometimes?

Take time to find yourself and your purpose ... don't live with just the counterfeits, or in trying to be what somebody or everybody else wants you to be. God wants you to be the you that He designed you to be. Even though it seems a bit too easy ... like life has to be more difficult than that ... it's the place to be. Why else would God put those desires and dreams inside you?

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

As I teach in an inner city school with no recess, trees, or grass, I can attest to the truthfulness of the need for children to be outside and experiencing nature. They are trapped in the room and are wild. But when they have the opportunity to go outside - evenif only on the asphalt, they are energized when we come back in.(I sneak them out every day that it is warm enough -Chicago)

Donna Watkins said...

It's sad to think that kids don't even get recess outside any more. I grew up in the 50's and 60's so I guess things are definitely different. I homeschooled our child, so I didn't know public schools don't offer recess any more.

A book that is gaining in popularity (I seem to see it in many places besides bookstores) is Last Child In The Woods: http://richardlouv.com/

The book is now inspiring people to do something about it. Such as the Leave No Child Inside initiatives showing up across the country. This one is in Chicago:
http://www.kidsoutside.info/

As a teacher you might be interested in the Nature-Deficit Disorder Survey:
http://www.eeweek.org/resources/survey.htm

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