Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tribe Life Tuesday: Pursue Purpose, Embrace Pain

A quick reminder that every Tuesday, my friend Carrie Holmes Alford is presenting a post series entitled "Tribe Life Tuesdays." Her purpose is to unite us in community, in sharing our life and our pain despite the differences we have. She has her own journey that she is traversing through moving away from family and infertility ... I have known her since I was a little girl, and I think you can see why she is one of my most very favorite people when you watch the video. The beauty you see in this video is real. This is who she is.

All of us have an innate desire to be purposeful with our lives. But just because we want to live with and pursue purpose doesn’t mean that it will be easy, simple, quick, or painless.
Have you ever wondered what your purpose was?
Have you ever been walking in your purpose in one season but then life led you in another direction?
To me, purpose looks like a winding road carved into the side of a mountain, with the forest on your left, the ocean on your right, and endless asphalt straight ahead. I am learning that purpose is not a destination but rather the seat you hold in the car. Even when the road ahead is obscured or things aren’t as you would like them to be, knowing your seat in the car makes it possible to keep moving forward.
Purpose for me is living intentionally in each block of time I have been afforded, because purpose is often more imprecise than we want it to be. Some of those blocks of time I can directly connect to my big dream and other times I ask myself things like “What the heck am I doing?” or Haven’t I already done this?” or maybe even, “Shouldn’t I be past this?”. Yet everything, including these seemingly wasteful times, have their place.
We often would like to have every piece of our purpose spelled out in clearly detailed blueprints. We want to know when, where, who, what, why, and how, but it rarely works that way. Purpose starts with looking inward and answering some tough questions about yourself. Who are you and who are you becoming? What have you had and what are you going after?
So in those somewhat disappointing moments, when we feel like we are not where we’re “supposed” to be, can we breathe deep and let purpose do what only it can do? Purpose is intended to challenge us and cause us pain, forcing us face our imperfection with grace and delight.
Recently, I myself have been in a strange block of time where I have had to face some of my imperfections. At first I thought I was dealing with a purpose issue, but I now realize I was oh so wrong. It has not been about what I’m “supposed” to do or this big, beautiful dream inside of me, but rather who I am. And, let me tell you, facing myself has been P-A-I-N-F-U-L.
As we go through life, we can be wounded by the words and actions of others but we can easily forget that we can also be hurt by our own words and actions. Every time this happens it’s like a prick in our soul and eventually, if you get pricked enough, you become numb to the pain. My advice to you and to myself is: don’t ignore the pain you feel, embrace it. Then pursue healing.
Another perspective about pain is that it is always and only a bad thing. But that’s not entirely true. Embracing the pain gives us the opportunity to truly feel the tender areas in our souls.  Many times if we will just lend ourselves to the pain, relief comes more easily. And I know how difficult this can be, I’m walking through this right now too.

My hope is to one day be able to share my grief with you as I’ve grappled with the pain of purpose, but my heart and soul just aren’t there yet.  Embracing the pain you feel sometimes seems unbearable and that’s okay, just keep trying. You will get there; this is not something that happens overnight. The fragility of life and the resilience of the hurting is a beautiful mystery to me and a privilege to experience.
Pain may sometimes be overwhelming but it’s not impossible to walk through. If you are willing to share your story of pain as you walk toward purpose, I would be honored to read it. You can email it to me at carriealford@me.com. 

See you next Tuesday!

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