I heard the words purpose and calling, and I became uneasy. Because for the longest time, I didn't know what mine was, all the while knowing I was supposed to have one. Uneasiness morphed into fear and anxiety. What if I was missing my purpose and calling? So many others seemed to have it all figured out. So I prayed about it. A lot. Asking God to show me what I was put here to do. For Him.
I realized that God has had me in the midst of my purpose since I was born. Two months ago, I would have looked back on my last 29 years and seen a series of unrelated chunks: school, moving, clubs/organizations, college, boyfriends, heart breaks, graduate school, jobs, etc. What I know now is that God has been weaving my purpose into my life all along; In the midst of things that were anything but random and unrelated. He continues to do so.
I also realized that our purpose doesn't always land in front of us as a one time momentous event. You know, those stories where people wake up one day knowing that God had called them to ministry or something. I'm sure it happens that way for some. I don't know, but for the majority of us, we find our purpose by living the thing out. By doing those things we are passionate about and then realizing that those things are the very essence of who and WHY we are. Not knowing our purpose doesn't mean we do not have one. God may be using the time for preparation, maturation, and pruning.
Lately, I know deep down that my purpose, for now anyways, is to mentor and help grow young women. My training ground: all those once to be thought of as unrelated chunks. I was born a girl's girl. A world where pink, Barbies, and princesses ruled. As I became older, I loved learning and reading about successful women, fictional and nonfictional. I was a First Lady, Scarlett O'Hara, Nancy Kerrigan, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and Margaret Thatcher nut! I had heroines right and left. The smarter and sassier, the better. As time progressed, the character and morals of my heroines began to matter. That was more important to me than them being pretty. I put them on pedestals and pretended I was them. I was the best Anne of Green Gables...EVER. At the time, I thought I was that typical girly girl who preferred the Marriot to the woods. I still prefer the Marriot. Can I get an Amen?!
I graduated from high school and "randomly" fell upon the idea of going to a women's college. It was the perfect fit: formals, parlors for visitation with the boys, sleepovers, dressing up, small class size, football games with the NC State boys. The reality: all that and more! Women's leadership development, campus wide elections to be a class officer, secretary of my class for 4 years, success, risks, failure, falling in love, participating on an intense research team and traveling to present our findings. I became braver at Meredith College. I began realizing how awesome it is to be a woman and how much influence we, as a gender, have had and can have on the world.
The next chunk: graduate school. At the time, this was the simply what I was supposed to do next. I majored in psychology, so in order to have a job, I would need to get my masters degree. This is true, but more importantly I was receiving the training to operate in a setting (schools) where God was planning to expand my spiritual territory and lay out the landscape for my purpose.
What followed was a broken heart, the passing of my sweet grandmother (Ma), and embarking on a new career, all of which God used to GROW ME UP. He burned a lot of the fake right out of me. There was a lot of superficial mess in me that had to go. I still get pruned. This process is never easy, but it is necessary in order to step in to and continue on with our purposes.
I joined the Junior League of Greensboro. What I thought was going to be a way to meet new people was a life changing decision. I was showered with leadership opportunities, surrounded by successful and confident women with integrity, and was given opportunities to volunteer. I began attending Westover Church and decided to check out the high school ministry. Four years later, I am getting ready to see 7 high school girls off to college. I was offered the opportunity to mentor a young girl through Dustin's Village/Greenhouse. She is the most precious thing. I started a club at NW High School: Leading Ladies, and within the past month I, along with a few others, began a group for at risk girls.
Through all this and much more, I woke up one day, and realized I was living out my calling. One thing led to another, and before I even knew it, God had positioned me right where He wanted me: Smack dab into the middle of my purpose. GIRLS. They are my heart. I'm crying as I write this, because I am so thankful for the opportunity to partner with these sweet young women in this hard world we live in. All those unrelated chunks are the exact experiences I needed to effectively do the thing I was called to do.
I know how it feels to be them. How easy it is to let our circumstances define us. How the aftermath of a single broken heart can linger, injure, and scar. How scary taking that risk or trying that new thing is. How our comparisons lead us to feelings of inadequacy. How hard it is to do the right thing when this culture is screaming for us to just go with it. How horrible a bad hair day is. And I know now that it was ALL worth it. HE was and still is worth it. I was led into my purpose.