Protecting Your Purpose

CVS Quits for GoodCVS Caremark announced today that they will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in their stores beginning October 1, 2014. That’s tremendous! As stated by the company’s reps, CVS will be the “first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers.” Their president and CEO, Larry Merlo, said, “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

NYC’s former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, whose mission against smoking included banning it in bars and graphic anti-smoking ads, weighed in:

“CVS’s decision to eliminate tobacco sales is a major milestone in the effort to reduce tobacco use – and it sets a new bar for all companies that market themselves as pharmacies and health care centers. Just as no responsible doctor would put a cigarette machine in the office lobby, no responsible pharmacy should put cigarettes behind the counter. Pharmacies should help heal people, not make them sick. This is a smart and forward-looking move that will help save lives – and force other companies to confront this critically important public health issue.

Let me put this in a little perspective for you: CVS is the nation’s second largest drugstore, is #13 on the 2013 Fortune 500 list, has more than 7,600 pharmacies in the U.S., and estimates they’ll lose more than $2 billion per year in revenues as a result of this trailblazing decision. While $2B represents only about 2% of their net revenues (2012), it is a loss nonetheless and it could hurt their stock price (which is down slightly at the moment) in the short-term.

In spite of the potential hit to this company’s bottom line, they are willing to take a stand against the cigarette and tobacco industry. Why? Because the sale of these products is “inconsistent with [their] purpose.” So I ask… what are you doing that’s inconsistent with your purpose? And more importantly, why?

We were all created with purpose, for purpose, on purpose. Before the semen hit the egg, God already had your purpose in mind.  He designed you exactly how you needed to be in order to fulfill your purpose. Unfortunately, most of us have no idea what our God-given purpose is, so we live lives inconsistent with our intended design. When you don’t know the purpose of something, you are bound to be confused, misuse and abuse it. You can’t even establish healthy boundaries when you don’t know your purpose. So ultimately, others are likely to abuse/misuse you as well. And away goes your self-esteem and respect.

If you want to know your purpose, you need to ask your Creator. Your BFF can’t tell you. Your spouse can’t tell your. Your mom and dad can’t even tell you; they didn’t place the purpose inside you to begin with. And once you identify the purpose of your existence, you must do what is necessary to protect it. This means you may have to let go of some things. You may have to say goodbye to some people- ’cause bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). You may have to stop going to some places. And you may even have to do some things that will hurt your bottom line for the sake of your long-term spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

God has so much in store for you and your legacy. It’s impossible to live the life He created for you when you are a threat to yourself. Set a new bar for yourself and everyone who looks to you as a leader. Make a decision today to stop settling for all those toxic people, places, bad habits and dis-eased lifestyles that are inconsistent with your purpose.

How can you protect your purpose? What do you need to quit for good?

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Sailing the Seas of 2014

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The passage is uncertain. The passengers may change. Despite your good intentions, the course won’t stay the same. Such is the voyage through our sea of life. As you sail upon the unknown waters of 2014, great each dawn with gratitude and meet the dusk with grace. Allow the Son to shine through your heart and light someone’s darkness along the way. No man is an island; we need each other to survive. This year, be present. Be open. Be merciful. Be humble. Be kind.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

  • Travel lightly while journeying from shore to shore. Take the lessons of yesteryear and leave the worries to wash away like footprints in the sand. Unpack those bags of bitterness, pride, unforgiveness, and defeat. Use the cargo space of your heart to harbor blessings- not emotional baggage. It’s impossible to move forward when you’re anchored to your past. This time,  commit to being transformed by the renewing of your mind.
  • Understand the fjords of all flesh. It’s weak. Manipulative. Impulsive. Impatient. Immature. Remember, your voyage is spiritual- not physical. Your flesh will always steer you in the wrong direction.   And it’ll attempt to jump ship long before your faith falls overboard. You know you’ve come too far to turn back to your comfort zones of compromise and discontent. Besides, aren’t you tired of starting over- over and over again? Commit to the journey this time. Allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen you during waves of weakness. Your flesh is not your friend. Be vigilant.
  • And know that storms will come… and storms will go. They’re inevitable… just like their expiration dates. You’ve been through them before and you’ll overcome them again. The winds may howl and the waves may come crashing down, but the Captain of the sea will never let you drown in a hurricane of despair. It’s only when you focus on the current instead of the Captain that you begin sinking. Be encouraged. He knows, He cares, and even when you can’t see His hand, He’s always in control.

So as you sail upon these unknown seas of 2014, may your fears succomb to faith, your excitement outweigh your excuses, and may you live each day in purpose, with purpose, on purpose. This time… this year… take this opportunity to depart from mediocrity and sail into your destiny.  Don’t settle for being a stow-away on someone else’s ship. You were born for greatness. Bon voyage!