The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that “People who didn't have a strong life purpose — which was defined as ‘a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals’ — were more likely to die than those who did, and specifically more likely to die of cardiovascular diseases.”1
From the beginning, mankind has sought its purpose in the depths of the material and spiritual world, failing to arrive at a consensus. Then, God told us that He has instilled the desire to connect with Him as the deepest longing of our hearts. This is where our purpose resides, and our hearts are lit with trust in Him and His infinite wisdom.
It behooves all of us to listen to the elders, scholars, and to others as they speak to strengthen our faith, help us discover and fulfill our purpose, and also find contentment in the larger scheme of life. Keep listening, keep pondering, and then work on keeping the lights on when darkness befalls.
As members of a faith community, we define our purpose as serving at the pleasure of God. The purpose gives us the strength to continue moving forward when it gets hard. Maintaining this singular focus gives us the ability to define hope, and desire for the best.
So, serving at the pleasure of God is not just the worship rituals but also seeking His approval with our thoughts, words, and actions in interaction with the physical world around us. How? Some of us find comfort in serving humanity, making life better for God’s creations, fighting for justice at any small or large scale, and through any legitimate means and abilities that God has endowed upon us.
This purpose also needs to be maintained over time. In my personal experience, I have seen so many of my sisters and brothers become angry and depressed when they lose sight of their purpose and intentions. For example, think about the community volunteers in our masjids. How many in our communities become disillusioned with each other, lose hope, and stop exercising goodwill toward one another in times of community crisis. A simple renewed focus on their initial purpose to do good for the community and serve God, can easily redirect them to hope, and thus lead them to resolve matters amicably.
Through Belief in the Plan
Nothing is more dangerous than thinking of life as a series of random events. The self is then easily unhinged from reality and hope and falls into the desperation of hearts and minds. This leads to a loss of self-worth and undermines self-esteem. Believe that you are where you are because you are meant to be there.
There is an activity that may be helpful. Note any incident of your life on a piece of paper, then draw a map from that point in your life to where you are now, marking all the events in between. Reflect on it. With utter gratefulness to The Creator, you no longer will doubt your place in the larger scheme of your life and may even look forward to what the future may bring with renewed hope.
Understanding the Method
Patience and perseverance with the certainty of faith is all that it takes. Each trial brings a new challenge to our ability to be patient. Our efforts in being patient through the difficulty require renewed attention to remain so. Faith carries us, but these experiences remind us that we endured before with patience, so it can be done again. Patience pushes us to persevere. Perseverance is a state of mind, not just a series of actions. Patience focuses our intents and hearts; perseverance defines our actions with goals and plans. For some, the method resides in remembrance of God in moments of despair, for others deliberate actions to work through a trial. And yet for more a remembrance gives strength to actions. It is up to you to know which one works best for you and how.
Trials that befall us are numerous and come one after another until our soul leaves this material world. For some, life is a desert’s scorching heat; for others, the highs and lows of a mountain range. The beauty of faith lies in the contentment of the heart. A heart that seeks its purpose, a heart that is content with its Creator’s plan for it, a heart that has the methods for acquiring its goal. And that is where you find God as a light in the darkness of longing, sadness, and despair. Those who bask in this light will tell you that there is peace in knowing. Knowing that there is a purpose, a plan, and a method to this madness.
Tayaabah Qazi has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, an AdminI/II Certification from the State of Maryland Education Department, and a Secondary Teaching Certification in Chemistry as well as a CPP certificate. She has served in the education field as a teacher and an administrator of schools. Recently, she served at Community College of Baltimore County as a Coordinator of Adult Basic Education program. Currently, Tayaabah is the Director at Prime Learning Solutions. She has been a long-time resident of Maryland for 17 years, with her family, but hails from Southern California. She is also a staunch believer of the 4 Cs: Compassion. Commitment. Conversation. Cultivation.