Know Your Why
Comedian/motivational speaker Michael Jr. tells about knowing your Why. He says you can have multiple Whats but only one Why. Michael Jr. said, “When you know your ‘why’ then your ‘what’ has more impact, because you’re working towards your purpose.”
I’ve seen the concept pop up in a multitude of ways…sermons, leadership articles, books. Each author approaches the same reality from different perspectives. The fact remains the same—knowing your why, your purpose, your mission—precludes who, what, how, when, and where. And according to Pete Drucker, it should fit on a t-shirt.
I’ve often felt my why is a hybrid of Mark 8.34 and John 15.16. The call to self-denial, obedience and sacrificial love blended with the recognition that this is not something I chose for myself. It might look something like this:
I chose you and I appointed you to go and bear the fruit of selflessness, obedience and sacrifice.
I believe this to be my why. I struggle because I’m better at selfishness, disobedience and self-preservation. I have embraced the call to go and be those things, but it runs contrary to what I’m really good at.
These days offer us opportunities to clarify our why. These days also allow us to consider ‘Other Responsibilities’.
Most job descriptions detail the primary responsibility for the employee. My first experience with a ‘real’ job description was at Camp Hope. The new director spent many hours detailing essential functions for lifeguards and kitchen staff (even though our essential functions were embedded in or titles). More than the primary responsibility, every job description detailed ‘Other Responsibilities as Assigned’.
For some of us, we cannot do our primary responsibility right now. That heightens the ‘other responsibilities’…to care, to trust, to question, to serve, to share, to grow, to rest.
Harrison and I spent Good Friday delivering material and instructions for the mask sewing operation still underway in Door County. Actually, we spent six hours driving around northern Door County delivering material and instructions. It seemed then a drastic departure from the normal sobriety of Good Friday and what I would have normally been doing on that day. I’m not sure how Jesus feels about Biggie Smalls, but I know how Jesus feels about people being safe, secure, and loved. I know it didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my main responsibility as a pastor, but it was fulfilling my Why as a human being.
I hope you have found your Why in the world. I hope these days are filled with you expressing and articulating your Why. If you haven’t or can’t, let me know. There are plenty of opportunities to reach up, reach out, and reach over.
I love you.
[I need you.]
I hope for you.
Please be safe.