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Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 8: Purpose 1 of 5 - Pleasure

When I first learnt about the book The Purpose Driven Life I assumed that it was about finding your individual purpose for your life. But as the first line says - its not about you. Instead, the book is about the five purposes which God created for everyone.

In the Day 8 chapter, we get onto the first purpose. We learn that God created people for his "pleasure". (I really think Rick Warren could have employed a better choice of words.)

We give pleasure to God by worshiping him. Worship is more than going to church, worship is something we are supposed to do continuously. This can be done by:
- praising God
- dedicating any activity you are doing to God
- carrying out a conversation with God in your head

The first suggesting, praising God, reminded me of the practice of being grateful. Many people keep gratitude journals and one of the websites I read ( has a message board where people write daily posts on what they are grateful for (amongst other things). Many people say there is a psychological benefit to keeping gratitude journals, so I did a google search (of course, because the internet knows all) to see if I could find any studies.

Turns out two blokes at the University of California are doing a study on this very topic (see their website here: and have found a range of evidence that being grateful improves your life eg:
  • "In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events" and
  • "Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life."
To test this for myself I thought I would do some sort of wellness test now and at the end of the 40 days. I did a google search for "wellness test" and found the following site:

I took the test which asks you to assess various aspects of your life and got an overall score of 772, which falls into the range of Excellent. I will do the test again at the end of the 40 days and see if it improves.

In relation to the second and third suggestions:
  • I think dedicating any activity you are doing to God will give it more significance and motivate you to do it better, just because that's what I do when I'm doing anything for somebody else.
  • As our minds never stop thinking anyway, we might as well think of it as a conversation with God.

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