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Column: Living on purpose
by Lauretta Hannon
July 10, 2014 10:51 AM | 6690 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
Q: I just read your memoir and enjoyed it very much. You write about the importance of purpose in one’s life. Can you share some of your thoughts on this topic?

A: Here’s what I know: Everyone is made on purpose, with purpose. Every cell in your body is imprinted with it. You are here for a reason, and you possess an amalgam of gifts, talents and abilities unique to you. These gifts are the clues to your purpose. Once you figure out what you do best and enjoy most, you’ve unlocked the key. Then you must give it away in loving service to others.

Finding your purpose is about understanding who you were literally born to be. The encouraging part is you already have what you need; it’s just a matter of unearthing your authentic self. The tricky bit, however, is in identifying all the thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions that took you away from that self. It can be mighty hard to unravel a lifetime’s worth of junk. But take heart and remember that you came into the world perfect, whole and worthy and still are. You just have some work to do in order to get back home.

Tips for purposeful living

o March to the beat of your own drum. Don’t try to meet the expectations others set for you. Nothing clouds your vision like making choices based on what someone else wants of you. It takes courage to stand in your truth, to not worry about what people will think, but purpose demands it.

o Don’t judge your purpose if it doesn’t look like how you imagined. It may not be something flashy, splashy and grand, but it’s just as valuable. A minister friend confided once she was depressed she couldn’t do more with her ministry because all of her time was spent nursing her ailing husband. “How could a church position be more important than the love you’re giving to your husband?” I asked.

I bet you’ve known someone with a “humble” purpose who made a huge impact. Consider the small-town beautician who does the hair of the recently departed in her community. When families are devastated by grief, she is there, ready to put her skills and tools into action.

o It’s not material. As we recognize our true natures, we see purpose beyond the pursuit of the material. Don’t get me wrong: I agree with George Bernard Shaw that lack of money is the root of all evil. Or as Mama said, “Money isn’t everything, but it sure quiets the nerves.”

The acquisition of money is necessary and wise, but it shouldn’t be our sole aim. Just as an obsession with looking younger or climbing professionally will leave you unfulfilled, attachment to worldly things separates you from what matters most.  

Finally, be assured you have an essential place in the infinite cosmos. It was given to you at birth by your creator.

Yep, it’s a God thing. It’s way bigger than your limitations and doubts, so you might as well just accept it. Surrender will open the door to peace and joy. The plan for you is good, not harmful.

Above all, let’s follow the directions of the poet Rumi. “Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal,” he said. “Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

Send your questions to

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at

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