Looking for more of a sense of purpose in your life?  Wondering how you can add value first when you don’t know how much you have to give…today you’ll get some insight with an article by Dave Arnold.

Today’s article is written by my friend Dave Arnold, author of Pilgrims of the Alley.

Most everybody likes comfort. We like to feel secure, in charge, drinking deeply of life’s richness. But then something happens unexpected – some trial, a health issue, a relationship problem – and we find ourselves disoriented.

This is the reason I wrote my book, Pilgrims of the Alley: Living out Faith in Displacement.All of us feel displaced at some point. The question is: What do we do when we’re displaced?

The answer: Learn to thrive!

Shortly after World War II, the Jewish Holocaust survivors knew they couldn’t go back home to a normal life. So they were sent to live in Displacement Camps. In these camps, the survivors tried to locate missing loved ones, received support and aid, and attempted to rebuild their lives.

But what was most remarkable about what happened in these camps is the Holocaust survivors didn’t just survive, they thrived.

There were weddings, children were born, schools were started, the arts were prominent, and Jewish holidays reinstated.

In a word, they found hope. And as a result, found purpose.

The Invisible Alley
Photo credit: _Bunn_ via Compfight

When a person has hope they have purpose. And purpose, I believe, allows us to do two main things:

1.       Engage in Meaningful Activity. I believe when we feel displaced in life, when were out of the comfort zone, it pushes us out of ourselves and helps us focus on what matters. It’s natural for people to settle, to get into routines and ruts. But that’s not where we grow. It’s the opposite of thriving. It’s languishing.

I’ve worked with refugees and immigrants the last eight years, and I am so amazed at how many of them – in spite of how much they’ve suffered – are so content and want to do something that makes a difference.

One of my friends, in fact, a refugee from Bosnia, has worked as a case worker for the last thirteen years helping other refugees adjust to their new life in the U.S. I share his story in my book.

2.       Add value to others. Having purpose not only makes us feel alive, it rubs off on others and brings value to their lives. (Tweet That.)

I believe God allows us to go through difficult situations and challenges so that we can use the lessons we’ve learned to impact others. The key is, however, to learn from our struggles and then do something about it; namely, pass on to others what we’ve learned.

In today’s world, it’s not about the best product, the best business model, or the biggest organization. It’s all about relationships and adding value.

People will follow you because you are real and because you’ve learned how to thrive in spite of challenges and struggles.


Questions: How does having hope help you with your purpose? What are you doing right now to add value to others?