Failure or Obedience? (Purposeful Living)

Gold Brush Stroke

With purposeful living, we can at times feel like we’re failing.

At first glance, it looks like I failed at following through with my one word, purposeful, this year. I’ve done very little writing, am spending little time with my husband and daughter, have been sporadic with exercise, seem to be “fitting in” my quiet time with God instead of eagerly engaging in it, am burning the midnight oil to get my work done, and have little knowledge where our money is going. 

Time for Everything: Purposeful Living

Failure or Purposeful Living

On closer examination, though, my lack of accomplishments in the above areas actually provides evidence of my purposeful living. I’m choosing to live intentionally and take action where it is most needed at this time: in my role as a daughter.

For the past couple of months, my parents have struggled with some health issues and needed help preparing and moving to an apartment. Since I have more flexibility in my days than my siblings (thanks to my husband who, when I’m gone, assumes sole care for our adult daughter who has special needs), the bigger share of the care falls to me. And that’s how I want it.

Foolish Thinking

God has made it clear that during this season I am to spend more of my time helping my parents. However, with my do-it-all personality, I tend to get down on myself about not being able to juggle it all.

As if being purposeful means doing it all. That’s foolish thinking!

Walking Out God’s Purpose

Yes, living purposefully can look like failure in some areas, but purposeful living isn’t about doing it all. Purposeful living is about choosing to engage with those things that hold the most importance at that particular time: It’s about walking out God’s purpose for each day.

That’s what I’m doing. For sure, some roles God has called me to have been placed on the backburner (or at least on the slow burner). Because during this season, my time, for however many months I’m needed, will  be largely focused on my role as daughter. And that shouldn’t lead to any regrets.

Purposeful living isn't about doing it all. Purposeful living is about choosing to engage with those things that hold the most importance at that particular time: It's about walking out God's purpose for each day. Share on X

Scriptural Reminder

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds us that 

“There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;[a]
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.” (CSB)

Being Purposeful: A Time for Everything

Right now is my time to plant, to sow love, to embrace, to build on my relationship with my mom and dad. Although I may not be productive in every area of my life, I am being purposeful. And that’s far more meaningful in the end. There will be time for pursuing the rest, all in the proper season, all in God’s perfect timing.

Being purposeful in our days is more important then being productive in every area of life. There will be a time to do the rest, all in the proper season, all in God's perfect timing. Share on X

One Word Purposeful

Reflections: In what season do you find yourself in? Are you being purposeful in how you live? Do you struggle when God calls you to focus on one task/role at the near exclusion of others? 


By His Grace,



  1. Kristen West on June 24, 2022 at 4:42 am

    Really appreciated reading this, Julie! Thank you for reminding me of what purposeful living really is! May God continue to bless your journey!

    • Julie Sunne on June 24, 2022 at 8:36 am

      Thank you, Kristen! Sometimes I get caught up with what I think obedience should look like instead of living what God unfolds before me. I appreciate your encouragement!

  2. cecelialester on July 15, 2022 at 8:39 am

    My word for 2022 is similar to yours. Mine is “purpose”. I have had my time taking care of my dad, my stepmother and a cousin of ours. I had to give up working in the church I was in at that time. Now, my concerns are closer to home- my health and my husband’s health. He is scheduled for knee replacement in about three weeks. His pain level is out of sight and that makes it hard for him to sleep. I hav found that I spemd a lotof time praying for those I hear who are ill or facing trials and personal issues.

    • Julie Sunne on August 16, 2022 at 8:00 am

      I know you’ve been in a difficult season healthwise, Cecelia. Seasons like these bring me to my knees far more than the more comfortable ones. I’m sure that’s one of God’s reasons for allowing them. Continued prayers for you and your husband, friend!

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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