In the ten months since I found myself suddenly ousted from my dream job I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my life. I have reached or exceeded many of the goals I had set for myself, yet the result of those achievements is not what I foresaw. With prayer and intense introspection, sometimes my only means of pulling myself out of the fear, frustration, and severe sadness that seem determined to stalk me, I’m learning more and more about who I truly am.
I’m a giver who hates asking for anything. I’m an encourager, well-practiced in showing appreciation to others while struggling to appreciate myself. I’m a helper, full of compassion for those who need help while despising and avoiding my own feelings of helplessness. Woven in among this tapestry of contradiction are threads of my purpose – the things for which my spirit was placed in this physical shell.
I’m meant to build a beautiful family, full of people who create and contribute those things that strengthen life. I come from such a family and my legacy will be continue what others of started. I’m meant to serve members of my community, especially those who are older. I can’t help loving those who have shown me such love.
Of course, as I believe we all are, I’m created to serve Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am made in His image and I am here to do His will. Finally, I am meant to be a writer, which is something I have only recently come to understand. Though I’ve been writing for my own peace of mind for decades, I had never considered myself to be “a writer.” Now I understand that I am, and I see that writing is the seam that keeps my tapestry of life from unraveling.
Armed with this fairly new understanding, I feel better prepared to move forward in the things I’m meant to do in life. Here, I’m sharing ways that I’ve been moving toward my purpose, desiring to encourage you as I encourage myself.
I wrote a book. About four years ago my mind began gestating a thought. I didn’t immediately recognize it and once I did, I chose to ignore it. Eventually the rapidly developing idea would not be ignored and I began thinking, with mixed joy and worry, “I’m really going to write a book.” When I finally embraced what was happening, I grew excited. I wondered what it would be like, how it would look, and how I’d be able to manage it.
I had been writing about nearly everything for more than a year. Career aspirations, a new job, moving far from my comfort zone and the city I loved, uprooting my entire family and adjusting to change. I wrote about work – things I loved and hated, things I wanted to say or had heard other people saying. I wrote to give reason to unreasonable people and situations. I wrote to keep myself from allowing my frustration, anger or sadness to leak or explode. Writing gave me control over situations in which I had little real control and I did it at least as often as I ate.
I had enough ideas and written material for dozens of books so I began looking through my favorites, then adding and revising. Three journals and months of emails to myself were perused, embellished and refined into a book of short stories called, “The Elders“, which I self-published in October of 2016. I didn’t know what to expect from it. I only knew that it had to be developed enough to live on it’s own so that I could deliver it.
2. Do it again.
I started a blog. Losing the job I had wanted for nearly a decade, immediately after closing on the home that I had fallen in love with, was unfortunate. That’s my perspective ten months after it happened. At the time I was crushed. I’m still without my own real income, which is a very unpleasant feeling for me. I’m not devastated or angry though – not anymore. Still hurt? Yes. Frustrated and confused? Sometimes. I’m still working through things, but I’ve shifted, trying to figure out how to earn a living without sacrificing myself on the alter of skilled nursing facilities.
I have not figured it out yet. I’ve applied to at least 50 jobs, from elder services to education to nonprofit organizations to retail. What I do know is that writing about my journey and sharing it with others is helping me to help myself. When I started I knew very little about blogging. I only know a little more now, but little by little I’m getting better, simply by continuing to do it.
3. Keep doing it.
I’m writing a magazine column. I’ve been telling people about my desire to write for local publications. One day I received an email about an opportunity, to which I quickly responded. Within a week or so, I was offered a chance to write for Antigravity Magazine, which I am thrilled to take.
An ongoing column called, “Writing for Two,” in which a first time mom shared her experiences, is growing into, “Raising Louisiana,” a series with multiple contributors sharing our varied insights and observations as parents. It will be my first time being paid (as opposed to earning income from self-publishing) for my written work. I see it as one more step in this writing voyage – another stitch, binding the work of family, community, and God into something unique and meaningful.
I hope my hindsight about doing what I’m intended to do helps you recognize what you’re intended to do. Maybe, like me, you’ve already been doing it.