Are you an impulsive person? Do you enjoy living dangerously? Do your impulses drive you to do things against your better judgment?
Many of us are impulsive shoppers, impulsive eaters, impulsive talkers, and impulsive decision makers in our daily lives. In a new study, featuring 503 individuals, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Cornell University researchers Anthony Burrow and R. Nathan Spreng conclude that impulsivity may have to do with a lack of deep-rooted purpose in life.
The authors suggest that a purposeful life gives a person reason to delay gratification and prioritize life choices by keeping the ultimate purpose and target in mind. They show that a purposeful life is a healthier life which brings about greater peace and longevity, where impulsivity, suffering from the lack of a grounded direction, leads to a “broad range of risk behaviors and maladaptive outcomes.” A person who does not know where s/he is headed, is easily attracted by every temptation with a promise of immediate pleasure and satisfaction. You can find a report on this study here.
Where do you find your fulfillment? Is there a calling within you that awakens you every day with a purpose-driven excitement? If the answer is yes, you are a blessed person. “Other recent studies have found a sense of purpose lengthens lives, strengthens the immune system, and increases our comfort level with ethnic diversity. Together, they suggest purpose is a positive force both for individuals and society.”
I cannot think of a higher purpose in life than pursuing the knowledge of God. He who knows God knows himself and understands the world in which we all live. He experiences life through a discerning lens that is a gift given by the Spirit of God (Prov.9:10b). Those who walk with God and have an intimate relationship with Him through Christ, live the most adventurous of all lives. Their joy is far more intense, and their pain far more endurable. Afflictions bring them closer to God, for their thoughts and affections are directed toward that which is eternal, union with Christ:
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor.4:16-17)
Those enlivened by the Spirit of God see God’s fingers at work in all circumstances of life. They remember that they are “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Heb.11:13). They know that “here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Heb.13:14). They live life expectantly, for they know that God is full of surprises.
As you reflect on where true fulfillment lies for you, remember that your choices and priorities in life, and how you respond to your impulses matter significantly: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal.6:8).
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