A steel beam has integrity when its purpose, its design, its manufacture, and its use are aligned. Said another way, to have integrity, a beam must be designed and manufactured for a specific purpose—and it must actually be used toward that purpose. We can count on a beam like that, even to bear a heavy and important load, because all its existence is in alignment.
Though considerably more complex and wondrous, obviously, than a steel beam, we humans need alignment too, to have that kind of integrity.
You see, God designs and builds us for specific purposes: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
God gives us natural talents and spiritual gifts and hearts with unique passions. And he shapes us further by our individual journeys. So, for each of us, our purposes, our design, and the way we’re built are always aligned. God does that. Unlike the beam, however, he allows us to choose our uses. He allows us to choose how we spend our lives. If we ask and search, listen and discover what he had in mind when he dreamt us up and knit us together—and then allow ourselves to be used in the ways he intends—we bring our lives into full alignment. If we strike out on our own, though, and follow the world’s “oughts” into other uses altogether, we commit ourselves to living lives of misalignment.
Okay, so what do we do?
Start small and be practical. Come up with a short-term project that requires your unique skills and abilities, your unique spiritual gifts (if you know them), and your unique passions. Choose something with significance—i.e., it helps others. Then, don’t wait. Get going on it.