Life

Purpose is Powerful, Identity is Essential

Question

Finding your purpose can feel like an incredibly daunting mission. Everyone talks about walking in purpose and impacting the lives of others by doing so. You look on social media and you see people doing what they love for a living and you sit there in a cloud of confusion, doubt, and anxiety thinking, “Well, what is my purpose? What was I created to do?”

I remember thinking those exact same thoughts in 2013, the year after I graduated university. I went to school to become an OB/GYN. All my adolescent life, I KNEW I was supposed to be a doctor. Whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the word “doctor” would spring out of my mouth so fast. I had no doubts. I had no hesitations. At least, not until about 6 months before graduation. As I began to study for the medical school entry exam, I started to feel really anxious and uneasy. I pushed through with the studying, but that nagging feeling never left. I just had an achiness in my heart that medical school would be a mistake for me. I’ve always been a woman to listen to any nudging in my spirit, so I decided to stop the studying and drop the doctor dream altogether. What I had dreamt of and pursued for the last sixteen school years of my life was over within a month. And just like that, I found myself in limbo regarding what I was going to do with my life. That thought trickled down to the root of my dilemma, which was truly, “Who am I?”

I know now that my identity is not my purpose. Rather, my purpose is intertwined in me being who I am. Naturally and authentically. This beautiful truth has removed so much pressure off of me to chase down and find my purpose. I wish I had known this after I graduated, though. After my decision to nix medical school, I literally felt like I was walking in a cloud of nothingness. I had a job, so I tried to make my job my purpose by working ambitiously to climb the ranks. Striving and meeting career goals was exciting for a while, but I quickly found myself burned out and tired. I had no passion for what I was doing and I felt like I was just being busy simply to feel like I was doing something with my life. I remember sitting before the Lord and asking Him, “Please, show me my purpose.” I would pray every single day. I would cry myself to sleep wondering what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it. The answer seemed to elude me and I really just felt so empty.

One thing I would do during my quiet time with the Lord is I would journal. Journaling was something I did ever since I learned how to hold a pencil, so it was natural for me. I would write poetry and songs about my past, the things I was presently experiencing, and things to come. The more I would wonder about what I was created for, the more I found myself writing! One day, it dawned on me that I was a writer. Naturally and authentically. It wasn’t something that I needed to wield myself into being. I simply was. That day, five years ago, was the day that everything changed in my life. From that day up until now, I have been so fulfilled through writing. I have met incredible people and I’ve had opportunities come into my life that I never dreamed I would experience. I am so thankful that God didn’t say, “This is what I created you to do.” Instead, he walked me right into it during my quiet moments with Him; during the moments of me doing what was innate to my soul and my heart.

Now, I know who I am. I’m a child of the Most High God. I also know that I was created to use my words to impact the world around me. One thing about purpose, though, is that the more you walk in it, the more you discover about it. There are many things that have sprung forth from my desire to write that I never thought about doing before. Speaking. Teaching. Forming small groups with other women and building community. So, to be honest, I don’t yet know what all I was created to do. But I do know that I am going to spend the rest of my life discovering, uncovering, and walking with the Lord so that he can show me all of why he made me.

If you are in a place where you don’t quite know your purpose, simply rest and give yourself grace. You will know what you were created to do, but first, you have to be intentional about discovering who you are. Identity and purpose walk hand in hand, but you need one before you realize the other. Sometimes, that takes some time, and that’s okay. Don’t feel pressured by the world or society to be or do anything. First, be who you are. Love who you are. Live and explore the world around you and settle in and become comfortable with your present moments. I promise you that it will not be long before you recognize your purpose. Naturally and authentically.

So where are you at in your life? Are you in a place of understanding your identity, discovering your purpose, or have you been walking in your purpose for some time and you have nuggets of wisdom to share? Comment below for a chance to win a free copy of the Bella Grace Field Guide to Everyday Magic! Also, be sure to check out the banner below to revel in the wonderful works of some of my fellow writer friends!

With Lots of Love,

B. Bradshaw

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9 thoughts on “Purpose is Powerful, Identity is Essential

  1. I really enjoyed this post. Growing up, my desire was always to be an photographer, author, wife and mom. I accomplished all of those, although not to the worlds standards. Notice I didn’t state I wanted to be a “famous” photographer or well known author. Haha! I’m sure that was my goal or desire but I never worded it like that when people would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
    I chose the work of a house wife when my kids were little, although I did work in my church. I was very involved in various ministries and found that really rewarding. For the past three years my husband and I were the Youth Pastors at our church.
    We are currently in a season of transition and honestly it is painful. There’s seeds of hope blooming and unexpected blessings unfolding but at the same time, there’s loss and sadness for what is left behind. I’m deeply learning obediance to where God is leading isn’t always easy. In fact, I would bet it rarely is.
    Where does purpose tie in? Oh, so much. It’s easy to buy into the thought your purpose is WHAT you do with your life. Not who you are. Not how you effect the world and those around you. So, in times of stepping down and away from so much of who I was for the last three years of my life, I can feel like I’ve lost my purpose. I’m learning “purpose” is so much more than the seasons of our lives.
    My ultimate purpose is to know and worship God, to love well those He’s places in my path, to follow where He leads with blind trust and abandon. To learn patience and grace for myself and then share that with others. My purpose is to know Him and make Him known. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel like I fail miserably at rising to my purpose. And then there’s the moments where you catch that feeling of living and living well.
    I hope for more of those moments in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful!!! I have been trying so hard to find my purpose and not just letting it happen on its own. When we sit with our stillness we start to hear the whispers, but we don’t hear them if we are trying so hard to manufacture our purpose. Thank you for giving me some perspective on my purpose. Naturally and authentically come with time, love, and grace.

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  3. Oh, Kathee. Thank you so much for sharing! I completely understand where you are!! I know that you are going to find your purpose! I don’t doubt it one bit. When you finally take your eyes off of it, you’ll realize it. Blessings from AZ 🙂

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  4. Your post is beautiful & how amazing that you just kept going even after relinquishing your dream to be a doctor. It appears to me looking into your world via Instagram that you are healing & helping people with your wellness business, writing, sharing Jesus ~ body, mind & spirit. Plus your most important purpose of being mom to your beautiful baby girl. Your dream to be a doctor was not to be, but the Lord wants to use your multi-faceted talents in big huge ways. It’s a pleasure getting to know you and appreciate your sharing your most authentic beautiful self.

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  5. Julia, your words have been so very encouraging to my heart. Thank you for reading the things I write and post. I know God has awesome things planned for you. I can see your heart through your encouraging words and such a refreshing to my soul. Blessings to you and your sweet family☺️☺️

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  6. This is so beautiful, Ahna. You know, you said something that really resonated with my spirit. You said that you are learning that purpose is so much more than the seasons of our lives. You are SO right. It is so difficult when we’ve been doing something for a certain period of time and then the season ends and we have to shift gears, and do so without losing ourself in the process. My husband and I will be praying for you because transition is difficult. We are actually in the midst of transition ourselves. What I do know is that it sounds like you have your priorities in that right place and the Lord will be honored by that. Covering you with much grace and prayer. Thank you so much for sharing your heart 🙂

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  7. Katherine,
    Your post has made me realize something I didn’t expect and probably not what you expected when you wrote it. I assume (my word nemesis) when you told everyone you were not going to continue in your studies there was a lot of concern and disbelief and maybe even anger. But you followed your heart anyway.
    I am 65 and retired. I love mixed media, textile and journaling art although I am NOT good at it. I found this “passion” 8 years ago when my 28 year old daughter Mary was killed by a drunk driver. I first wrote and wrote until I was raw, poems, journals, even started a blog. But it was so sad people quit reading it. I didn’t care. Then in 2011 my 29 year old son Danny did not make it past his 2nd heart transplant. He lived for 15 years after his first. Then my writing started fading a little and the other arts gained momentum. I do have my eldest daughter Julie and her 4 beautiful children. And of course my wonderful husband Kerry. But I wasn’t retired yet.
    Now that I am I’m still learning what art is, what MY art is. What I realized from your post is this…. it’s ok to tell people, the world, about my angels. They are what my art is about. Unless someone specifically asked how many children I have I didn’t mention them because I thought it would make them feel bad or that I wanted their pity. Mostly I talked about happy times but someone always asked “what are they doing now?”. (Sometimes I start crying.) Now I don’t care what the world thinks anymore.
    You’d think I would have known this but grief doesn’t follow a pattern. I’m not a religious person but I do believe in people. Thank you for opening this new door.
    Rose

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  8. Ms Bradshaw,
    This is Rose again. I’m sorry, I started my comment out with the wrong name. You are not Katherine (obviously) and I’m so sorry. I was looking for your first name and I miss read. Please forgive me.

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