Several weeks ago, I listened to a sermon that changed everything. The pastor was talking about finding your calling, and how, more often than not, this is a lofty idea that most of us don’t quite understand. We spend our lives trying to chase whatever feels “right,” but what’s “right” looks different for everyone. He shifted the tone of the sermon by asking a simple question: What bothers you? THAT, he said, is your purpose.
We’ve been conditioned from an early age to find our purpose, our message, our vision. We’ve been taught that our lives are meant to be about finding our “thing,” and as a result, so many of us feel lost and alone when we don’t quite know what that “thing” is.
I have been asked what I wanted to be when I grew up since I was four. In college, I was constantly pressured by people to know what my job would be, and whether or not this was a positive career trajectory. I launched my business and am still asked if that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I know I’m not alone in this.
While I’m not bashing the forward-thinking culture by any means (in fact, without this mindset I wouldn’t be where I am today) what I am saying is that perhaps we’ve been looking at this idea all wrong.
Perhaps to find your purpose you have to start with what bothers you.
What bothers you? Is it the ever-growing homeless population and lack of resources for people on the street? Is it the fact that the media is often overwhelming us with information (scratch that—misinformation) that wears us down? Are you frustrated by politics, by abuse of power, by an empowerment challenge that spread like wildfire only to find out many people missed the true meaning?
Are you frustrated by how children are being trafficked every single day, right under our nose, while the world is so distracted by virus updates that we’ve turned a blind eye? Are you praying for change, knowing deep down that the true change starts with you?
When you take a step back, you’ll realize that what sets your heart on fire is everything that you want to change about the world. And that’s where you start.
Sure, there are beautiful opportunities with the things you love and with the opportunities that feel good (and by all means, chase those things, too!) but what about what you can’t stand? What about the things that grip you to the core? That makes your heart beat a little quicker because you feel like time is running out?
What about the people whose lives you know you’ll change if you simply raised your voice?
I always thought that I was driven by passion—love-filled passion—for the things I do. I always thought that my purpose was writing because it’s something that has brought me joy. It is, don’t get me wrong. But as I’ve grown and built my business and realized so much more about myself and my goals, I’ve discovered that my purpose lies in what bothers me.
I want to write because I want to change how we see relationships, business connections, and education. I want to teach because I want to shift legislation and opportunities for students who don’t learn in traditional classroom settings. I want to use my voice and platforms for good because I feel that I was given an audience for a reason.
And maybe the same goes for you, too.
What bothers you? And what are you going to do about it?