The heavy burden of identity in the form of job title, career choice or profession is taught to young children with “what do you want to be when you grow up” which turns into “what will you major in” when you go to college and “what do you do” as adults. Identity and purpose are often connected to a title or label.
During my senior year of high school, I was faced with a decision that I felt could either help or ruin my life. I battled with the decision of pursuing passion or pursuing stability as I debated whether I would pursue dance as a career or go to college and pursue a “promising” profession – something that would guarantee long-term financial stability for me. I decided on going to college where I studied and received my bachelors degree in communication in hopes of obtaining a job in journalism.
Graduating college and “entering the real world” brought me into one of the lowest times I have experienced in my life. I began to doubt, fear and began comparing my life to those around me. I experienced regret as I saw friends training and growing in dance in ways that I couldn’t due to the amount of time I had to commit to my studies. This time in my life pushed me back into the church and more importantly, growth in my faith, spirituality and relationship with God. As I grew in those areas of my life, I realized I had a much greater calling on my life than to choose stability through a professional job. I realized that I had a calling to discover and use my God-given gifts and abilities to influence and impact the world around me. What I discovered is that as a child of God, I have purpose apart from title or label.
As Christians, we’re all called to a greater purpose beyond ourselves. For some of us that purpose may tie in directly to our careers, but for some of us, our passions and gifts are not in line with our career choice. One question I had to ask myself as I sought out my purpose was, “have I sought God’s counsel on the matter?” There have been many times in my life where I have found myself operating in a way that suggests I was doing it all by myself. I did this with my career choice and realized I needed to shift my question from, “what I am supposed to be doing in life?” to “God, how do you want to use my life?” I knew finding the answer would require me to lean in, expect and prepare to receive an answer with an open heart. This meant stepping away from worldly influences by spending a lot of time in prayer, having conversations with people I felt were walking out their purpose in Christ, and listening to Christian podcasts.
By getting rid of excess “noise,” I could focus on hearing God’s voice. To hear God clearly and receive His direction, I had to discover the ways in which God speaks to me, discovering what His voice looks like in my life. His voice might be something said to me in conversation, a passage in the Bible, a soft whisper during prayer. Whatever it was, any type of time spent with the Lord or seeking Him lead to answered questions, direction, guidance, clarification, and peace. I admit that sometimes I put a lot of pressure on God to give me clear, direct and detailed answers. But sometimes, He doesn’t give the where, who or how. Sometimes He wants us to do the work to connect the dots.
When you make yourself available to God and trust in His timing, He will open doors for you.
I began to build a relationship with my dance instructor, who eventually asked me to fill in for her when she had to reduce her workload due to pregnancy. I would be teaching a class dedicated to inspiring and uplifting women. Not only did God allow my passion to re-enter my life, but He also connected my gifts and passion to my purpose.
God gave me the what and then later provided me with the who, where and how. In that time in-between, He was building me up and equipping me. Don’t be discouraged if you feel as if nothing is moving for you, sometimes God is lining everything up for you and preparing you. When He opens the door, you will be able and ready to walk through it and accept the task that’s waiting for you.
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