God never wastes a hurt. - Pastor Rick Warren
Over the past several months I have been on a "find your purpose" kick. Which has been fueled by what I view on television (Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, whoop whoop), in what I read (currently enjoying a kickass book by Nick Vujicic called, Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action) and through what I listen to when tooling the kids around town (if it isn't our local KLTY (94.9), then it's "The Message" on Sirius XM...which is free to my Kia Soul for TWO whole months, awesome!).
So full am I with positive vibe/comment/energy it's literally seeping from my pores. Which is kinda driving my husband nuts...but, I think he is finally catching on (I recently caught him reading a book that I left on his nightstand a few weeks ago, Jen Sincero's You Are A Badass).
As I sat down with my bowl of popcorn and glass of chardonnay at 9:30 p.m. last night, I flipped on a DVR'd episode of Oprah's Lifeclass (sidenote: total kudos to my husband who allows me to watch what I want on t.v. at night....he patiently plays on his laptop or works in his office (within earshot because he sometimes makes comments about what he is hearing). If he made me sit and listen to sports like I make him listen to Oprah I'd probably have started a revolt a l-o-n-g time ago!).
I chose to watch a rerun of Oprah's interview with Pastor Rick Warren...maybe you have heard of his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Which, of course, lit a fire under my butt to continue on my "purpose quest" by writing this piece today.
What is my purpose?????
HUGE question, right?!
Have you spent any time contemplating this question? When YOU think about what your purpose might be, what do you come up with?
If you have no freak'n idea, here is something for you to consider while you contemplate:
What life challenges have you faced?
Because, as Pastor Rick says, "God never wastes a hurt."
Therefore, in my mind, we should look at the life lessons we've encountered and overcome when contemplating the purpose for our lives.
God does not hand down life challenges as punishment, right? He doesn't say, "Kim you have made some bad decisions the past few months, therefore I am going to punish you with cancer." Not how it works.
At least in my opinion.
I think what actually happens is He wants good things for us, He wants us, not only to seek out our life's purpose, but to live it out to the fullest extent. And it is our human choices which interject the life lessons and help us to figure out our purpose.
If we care enough to seek out our purpose, that is. Some people can, and will, live their entire lives never really knowing what they were put into this world for.
How sad would that be??
Another thing people sometimes get hung up on is: what if what I believe is my purpose looks silly to somebody else? (Maybe it's a spouse, another family member, or a friend...)
Here's a great answer to all of those doubts (again, credit to Pastor Rick):
YOU HAVE TO LIVE FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE.
Think about that for just a minute...
The statement does NOT mean screw everybody else in the world and decide to live selfishly. No. It means when you have discovered your purpose, you pour your heart into it because no one else's opinion matters.
The best example I can give of this is myself...so, here it goes:
Several months ago, someone posted a blog/website on Facebook and I thought it was interesting, so I clicked on it (sometimes I do that...). Anyway, the gentleman writing the post had me very intrigued. His name is Mark Gregston. He and his wife run a ranch for troubled teens on the east side of Texas called Heartlight Ministries (www.heartlightministries.org). Mark has been doing this counseling/ministry work since 1990 and has had 2,500 or so families come to him for help. He takes in sixty kids at a time, they stay for a year.
In addition to his ranch, he speaks all around the country and runs a seminar called, Tough Guys and Drama Queens. The 9-lesson curriculum is concentrated around what it is like to parent in today's very complex, confusing culture. It is geared toward parents and grandparents of preteens and teens. And it is VERY good.
So, after looking around his website, I saw that he sells the seminar (in a DVD study-based program). I bought it. I watched it. And I became super excited about the content and about how it can impact so many families!
So I took it to work with me and began to use it with the families whose kids are enrolled in our substance abuse treatment program. And I see I am not at all wrong about how this can affect moms and dads and their outlook on parenting.
I begin to think to myself...why not try using this same program for parents who's kids have NOT gotten into trouble with drugs? Give parents new and current tools to use so they have a better chance of not encountering drug use or self-harm in their kids at all!
So, all excited, I send out a bunch of letters to parents I know who have kids in the preteen/teen age range. In a nutshell I say, "Come to my house and let's learn and share about the specific challenges we face raising our kids today. BUT, you have to come FOUR times...because this awesome program can't be done in just one day."
How many "no, thanks" do you think I got?
(Insert buzzer sound)...NOPE, TEN TIMES MORE!
But, this post is not about the no's, it's about the yes's! And I got some! And together Tom and I are working on the most wonderful parenting program, AND making new friends.
Do you know how I know it's a good program (besides the fact that these couples have continued to show up at my door...)? Because the dads (who I did not even know before we started this program together), came up to me (at separate times) and sincerely thanked me for organizing the series.
Kids don't come with manuals, right? And when you get out of the physically exhausting baby stage things are relatively smooth sailing for several years before puberty starts. But, when that happens, it's a whole new world. And as parents we are up against a mountain of challenge in guiding our kids to adulthood. Things our parents never had to deal with.
So, through this program I am beginning to get a much clearer picture of my purpose. Because I am realizing my passion lies in helping other parents relate more effectively, and more compassionately to their children. Because I have been there, and am still there....struggling to do the best I can, admitting when I am wrong and giving my all to raising my kids into emotionally/physically/spiritually contributing members of this crazy world!
There you have it, my developing/ever-evolving purpose.
But, enough about me, what about YOU????!!!
This week please take time to think about what YOUR passion and purpose might be. Where the two of those things meet is where you need to begin the search for life's true meaning.
As a bonus, here's a great song that brings home my point: