I spent many years wandering around my life, doing whatever fell in my lap. Darting from thing to thing, starting, stopping, sighing, knowing I was capable of more and wondering why I couldn’t get something cool off the ground.
Sometimes kids decide your purpose for you, but I couldn’t have them. Corporate jobs solve the direction problem, but uhhhh that’s a can of worms, when it comes to your purpose. They’re not the same thing.
My life’s canvas was a white as could be, which, yes #blessing, but also #confounding in the same way choosing salad dressing at Walmart is.
“What am I even doing here?” I used to ask. “I have endless options and I settle for Netflix and Chardonnay? Lame. Of course some people would die for that, so in addition, why am I so selfish? Why can’t I be content? What’s wrong with me?”
Incidentally, those are all the wrong questions, but do they sound familiar?
A couple of years ago, I decided to lead debriefing retreats for global workers heading back to their passport nations. For the record, I didn’t know how to do that, I just knew there was a need and thought I could fill it.
On Tuesday, I got back from Montana after hosting the FIFTH Intermissionary Retreat. I spent a whole week listening to people tell their REAL stories; you know the ones that live just behind the masks we all wear. Life is so much harder and more beautiful than we let on to each other. It’s no wonder people love retreats.
Anyway, here’s my hunch: It’s not that we don’t know we want to do with our lives, it’s just that our purpose is usually buried under a pile of crap, and 90% of that crap comes in the form of old, bad, lying stories we tell about things that have happened to us. We don’t even realize we do it.
“I can’t write because my fifth grade teacher said I have no stick-to-it-ivity.”
“I’m too shy to be a dancer.”
“I’m not smart enough/good enough/perfect enough.”
But see, I’m not staring at a 1000 different salad dressings anymore, wondering which is the best and safest of all choices. No, I just picked one (French) and proceeded to the cash register. I made something out of nothing and put it out into the world with all the imperfections included. Yes that’s terrifying and I got to deal with all that, but my work is aligned with my values, my gifts and it helps other people. So here’s what I believe:
our joy lives at the intersection of our gifts and our service to the world.
Where is that intersection in your life? Are you standing at it? Are you lying in a ditch nearby? Are you on the couch drinking wine?
God calls each of us to create with him something that doesn’t exist yet. Maybe that’s a piece of music. Maybe you’re raising a kid who will beat childhood cancer and go on to cure it. Maybe your thing is a protest that snaps the world to attention. I don’t know what your creation is. Do you?
Want to figure it out? Want to stop decorating the walls of your rut? Book a free chat with me and we can talk about what you want, why you want it and what’s in your way.
Maybe learn how to dream big again.