We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
What keeps you going when you’re tired, sad, disappointed? Conventional wisdom suggests “life is hard” and “keep going”. Oops, that may have been me making those statements. For years, in fact, a quote attributed to Harriet Tubman was my signature at the end of my emails:
If you are tired, keep going.
If you are scared, keep going.
If you are hungry, keep going.
If you want to taste freedom, keep going.
The “life is hard” quote comes from a consoling comment I made to my four-year-old daughter who was crying because her homework was hard. I know she was only Four.Years.Old. Don’t judge me. I was preparing her for life.
Anyway, my point is that most of us have statements that go through our heads when we need to get motivated through challenging times. Certainly those statements help us stay the course and as I have said in the My Quiet Spaces blog, pretty words can be healing.
However, I’m offering another equally profound way to keep going in the face of adversity, weariness, and despair. I offer you to use your mission, your heart-felt purpose to give you the energy and passion to not give up even when life is hard.
I know I have needed to keep my eyes on my purpose these past few years in Houston. It seems that anything else I try does not work out. I tried working part-time for a national nonprofit where I had once been on the Board in Nashville, but I seem to have upset the balance with my desire to try something different. It didn’t work out. I was an adjunct for one lo-o-o-ng semester and then was told “budget cuts”! Okay, what was I missing?? According to my therapist, I was not living in my purpose, my God-given purpose. All other paths I took served to take me away from what God intends for my life. I had believed that any meaningful, paying work would be nourishing and move me forward. Not true. I may be paid, but not have meaning. I may think I have meaning, but not actually flourish. I have learned (the hard way—yes, Erin, life is hard) that it is only when I work in my purpose that I keep going through challenges, that I bring joy to others as well as myself, and that I live meaningfully. My purpose: Sharing messages with women on how to live healthy, well, and with joy nurtures, not depletes my spirit..
Though I am known for giving advice, sometimes even to my clients, I cannot tell you what is your purpose. You know it; it only needs to be reclaimed, resurrected, affirmed. But, just in case you need a little bit of inspiration, here are three websites/blogs that talk about life, purpose, and joy and I like what they say:
Kevin Monroe’s The Purpose Manifesto: Start Living Your Why Now is a quick, yet inspirational read. I met Kevin several years ago when he was consulting with our faith-based initiative at the Tennessee Department of Health. He was energetic, knowledgeable, and offered practical wisdom that engaged our congregations. You can download it at no charge.
Unbelievably Human does not give advice or have resources on finding your purpose. She simply models what it looks like when you are living your purpose. It looks “unbelievably human; unbelievably you”! Sheer fun, but also unrelenting in its reality for Millennials.
You have probably heard TED talks, which cover diverse topics. Have you had a chance to check out their blog posts? Also diverse, provocative, challenging, and funny. This post may help you ask more helpful questions as you think about your purpose, The Right Way to be Introspective—(yes, there’s a wrong way).
You decide how to explore your purpose. Listen to your life and ask yourself: “What keeps me well? What brings me joy? How can I do more of both?”. Then, you may begin to have the answer to “how to keep going when life is hard?”. #LiveHealthyBeWell