Today, as I was going through my bedroom and reorganizing I came upon two pieces of cardboard I had wrote on roughly two years ago. As I read it, even with no date attached, it brought me straight back to that explicit day.
It was a frigid, gloomy, fall day in downtown Bend. I worked at a very small stationary store selling knickknacks. There wasn’t much traffic through the store that afternoon, so it was pretty quiet. I had a lot going on in my mind that day, and couldn’t seem to shake it. It was a time in my life where I was going to college trying to figure out what direction I wanted my life to go. I was struggling, though. The thoughts I was having were so pungent. They were grasping to the inside of my head and heart holding on for dear life. I couldn’t think straight or concentrate on the few customers that did come in, so I had to get them out. I found a couple pieces of random cardboard and began to write.
Here’s what it said.
Finding your own purpose.
Learn to find your purpose without letting anyone be part of that definition. Who would you be if you didn’t have a significant other or a friend or family to give you purpose?
Yes it is good, healthy, and normal to have people in your life to give your life more meaning, but who would you be without them?
You might know exactly who you are and your purpose in this life, but most of you probably don’t completely know. You may have an idea of a few likes and dislikes, but that’s where it starts; through taking one step towards what you enjoy using dislikes and rejections as directors to push you in the right direction. You don’t have to have your whole life planned out or even next week. All you need is today. Do the best you can with the knowledge and experience you have to just do something. When you do begin, don’t try to conform to the world’s expectations. Just because the world says you should graduate, go straight into college, get a degree, get a job immediately and live out of the rest of your life, doesn’t mean you have to. Honestly, that is all crazy. The world is way too unpredictable to follow a plan to a “T” like that. Life is going to throw you curve balls and take you crazy places. It never goes the way we think or plan it to go, so be flexible. Move with the waves and wind and don’t worry about going off track. If you have peace in your soul about where you’re at, that’s the only conformation you need. Don’t conform to the patterns of this world for they will only lead you astray. If the only reason you are going that direction is because you have peace and feel like you’re supposed to, then do it. No matter what your friends, your S.O., or your family thinks. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. If you want to go to college to get a better job, then go for it! If you want to go for a year, then decide it’s not for you, that’s okay too! If you want to travel the world for a year, for five years, or thirty years, do it. There are no limits to what you can do. You are the only person or thing standing your way. You have all the power you need to be happy.
So go quit your 9 to 5 job or get a 9 to 5 job if that’s what you fancy. Just don’t let yourself be unhappy any longer. You were made for a purpose. You’re goal in life is to find out what that is.
As I sat on my bedroom floor this morning and read this I felt overwhelmed with emotion. It hit me on such heart deep level. It reminded me of two years ago when I was struggling with my purpose, but trying to hang onto the Lord’s promise he made me for my life. The promise that he would fulfill his promises to me, even though he asked me to do what felt like the opposite of what I thought would lead me to them at the time. Yet, even more than all that, it reminded me of how I got through that season, how I pulled myself together, dug my heals in, put my sweat band on, and made it the best year of my life.
I feel as though this letter speaks for itself in many ways, so it is hard to add much to it. My sincere hope for you, though, is that it encourages you to follow the desires planted in your heart, that you stop basing decisions off of other’s opinions and begin doing what you know is right for you. Listen to that little voice in your head telling you to take a risk, follow that feeling in your gut when it’s telling you something isn’t right, listen to your body. Stop being afraid. I guarantee that when you do, you will feel the most peace you have ever felt in your life.
I say that in full confidence out of knowing what it’s like to be on both sides, but also being someone who is still trying to figure out how to navigate this. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.