Monday, June 2, 2014

Finding Your Purpose (Part 1: Are You Ready For your Purpose?)

"When change winds swirl through our lives, especially at midlife, they often call us to undertake a new passage of the spiritual journey: that of confronting the lost and counterfeit places within us and releasing our deeper, innermost self-our true self. They call us to come home to ourselves, to become who we really are." When the Heart Waits-Sue Monk Kidd

We often hear people talk about finding their purpose as if it's this elusive thing that's out there, a concept that has nothing to do with who they are now and from the past. Of course I disagree, finding your purpose is not just something that's out there that you need to chase but more of something that's presently in you and has been with you in the past.  Your life then and now are the biggest clues to living the life you were created to live.  

The biggest challenge is not finding it or realizing it but are you ready for it.  Contrary to popular school of thought, I don't think all of our time is now.  I grow very leery of motivational speakers telling their audiences that their time is now and all they need to do is to step into their destiny.  I don't think we're all ready for living a life of purpose. Not just yet. Some things must first take place before we can get there.  We must be properly positioned to receive and live out God's purpose for our lives.  But we must all be willing to live and daily walk into becoming.  

 Living a life of purpose is not something that can occur overnight but it is a process that requires patience and perseverance. 

Life is the greatest teacher of finding your purpose and if you can't do the time and go through the process and faithfully walk one foot in front of the other, your purpose will continue to be out there and you will miss the magic of discovering what has always been with you.  Living a life of purpose requires honesty as you relate to God, self and others.  But before finding that purpose you must be ready.  

I remember for many years I was impatient with the process.  I would wrestle with God.  Disappointed with myself for missing out on opportunities.  Mad at the world for being unfair for narrowing my options.  But the truth is I wasn't ready.  I had many fears holding me back.  I would succumb to the trap of comparison over and over again and that trap kept telling me: you're not as good as so and so.  I had some personal pains that needed to be addressed.  I had childhood insecurities that continually made me feel like I was 12 all over again.  But I was blind to all of those things and I kept blaming my lack of purpose on others. 

So my question for you is: are you ready to start taking steps into your purpose?  

If so, here are some suggested questions and challenges to ponder to ensure your readiness:
  1. Be honest about your fears.  The longer you allow your fears to drive you, the less likely will you be able to realistically engage in the conversation of your purpose.  Do you have a fear of failure? A fear of not being financially secure? A fear of not measuring up to your family's definition of success?  Take a honest evaluation of your fears.  Write them down and address them one by one.
  2. Get over the trap of comparison. If there is one thing that keeps us from fully living in our purpose it has to be the trap of thinking we have to do it as good as so and so.  I'm so sick and tired of seeing Michael Jordan and Lebron James comparisons.  It's the most bizarre thing I have ever seen, comparing 2 different people from 2 different families, with 2 different unique experiences, with 2 different stories and expecting them to have the same results.  Please stop it.  We're not meant to be the same.  That's all I'll say on this but if you're stuck in this step, you need to address this before and during the journey of realizing your purpose.
  3. Address any personal pains.  I can't tell you how long I nursed personal pain.  And the longer I nursed it, the farther away I moved from my purpose.  Personal pain can also be the trigger that propels you into your purpose. So don't waste your pain.  You can either nurse it or use it as a teacher into the journey of living in your purpose. 
  4. Address the pain of your childhood.  Ok this one might seem far fetched but hear me out for a second.  Many of us are running around in circles because we have unresolved childhood traumas where we created false selves as defense mechanisms to cope.  We are people pleasers, drama queens/kings, damsels in distress, and on and on.  Sue Monk Kidd says: "By naming the inner patterns that imprison us, we come to know them more fully and obtain a certain power over them".  Get to know your false selves, name them and heal from them.  
  5. Let go of control.  Or be willing to let go of control.  If you're in the least bit interested in finding your purpose, you have to let go of control.  Rather than having your hands tightly gripped around your dreams, you must be willing to have your hands wide open for God to give and to take.  Many of us are not at all comfortable with this hands wide open position but in order to get to a place of living a purposeful and meaningful life, we can't be afraid of losing control.      
So go for it.  Take some time to assess where you are on this journey of finding your purpose.  Are you ready to start realizing your purpose?  

Take a step!  

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