Growing up, I always wanted to be a Labor and Delivery nurse. Well, when I was about ten I wanted to be a marine biologist, but that’s because I thought I’d get to swim with dolphins everyday. Once I realized that wasn’t typically part of the job description, I switched to becoming an L & D nurse.
After that, I never wavered.
I remember when I was 16 years old, we visited a family friend in the hospital. As we walked past a sign reading “Labor and Delivery,” I turned to my mom and with 100% certainty said, “I’m going to work there someday.”
Seven years, a high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, and nursing license later, I accepted a job on that very unit and stayed for 11 years. I absolutely loved it! It fit me well.
Helping women become mothers was what I knew I was made to do.
Then, something happened. I started having my own babies and something inside me shifted. I desperately wanted to stay home with them. It took me by surprise and I wrestled with the pull because becoming a stay at home mom was never part of my plan.
During all of those years I spent uncovering, searching and confirming my God given “calling,” not once did I believe it involved staying home with my children. But, that’s exactly where I found myself.
After months of hemming, hawing, fretting and praying, I finally made the decision to resign.
Leap of Fear
I wish I could to tell you this was a brave leap of faith, but that wasn’t the case. It felt more like I walked the plank, with eyes squeezed shut and leapt in fear.
I was afraid of what people might think. Afraid I was making the wrong choice or wasting my degree. I was afraid I’d lose credibility and what on earth would become of all the knowledge I worked so hard to gain?
My second guessing didn’t stop there.
What if I wasn’t cut out to stay home? What if I was walking away from my purpose? Did I actually have it wrong all along?
The Thing About Purpose
It’s been over three years now and the world didn’t implode like I thought it might. In fact, I’ve adjusted quite nicely. While my minimalism certainly helps me maintain my sanity, I’ve learned something much deeper about purpose since potentially abandoning mine.
Roles shift, seasons change, but purpose is immovable.
We often assume that day to day living and purpose are unrelated. That on one side there’s brushing your teeth, coaching soccer and making dinner. And then somewhere, over there beyond the horizon, and often out of reach, lives purpose, calling and big bold dreams.
Sure, sometimes purpose is big, loud and grand. Every now and then it looks like a promotion, getting that dream job, starting a non-profit, finding a cure, landing a book deal, or hearing that first, healthy cry after an emergent delivery. Sometimes you get to know you made a big difference in someone else’s life and it feels absolutely perfect.
But more often than not, purpose is simply getting my daughter a banana, driving my kids to swim lessons, publishing this post, making a grief stricken friend a meal and giving a stranger my quarter at Aldi. It’s breathing in, then out, doing the next right thing and lifting the chin of the person standing next to me.
Living your purpose is all of those things, because:
Purpose isn’t a what, it’s a who.
When you know who you are, and the unique way you were wired to reflect the face of your Creator, you get to live a life of purpose no matter where you find yourself.
I wasn’t created to become a nurse or even a mother for that matter. Those are simply roles I’ve filled, some for longer than others. I’ve been a daughter, waitress, student, wife, soccer coach, and now, out of nowhere, a writer.
Living a life of purpose is not about finding that one big thing you were made to do. Instead it’s about uncovering your identity and who you were created to be.
So Who Are You?
“It’s a wild and wonderful thing to bump into someone and realize it’s you.” -Fil Anderson
I believe this question is best answered by looking at the ways in which our individual personalities align with God’s, whose image and likeness we were created in.
When I look back, I can see purpose peppered through every role I’ve played since childhood. The DNA of my Creator shining through even the smallest, seemingly insignificant tasks.
The parts I treasured most about being a labor and delivery nurse had nothing to do with the daily tasks of nursing. It was earning trust in seconds, making a best friend out of a stranger, giving hope to the discouraged and advocating for the unlovable.
Mostly, I loved helping tired women find their strength.
I get to do that as I am, exactly where I am.
Finding Purpose in Life
“How do you know you’re walking in your true identity? It makes you come alive.” -Ben Diaz
I didn’t recognize it then, but I see it now. My God has those same characteristics. He’s an advocate (Exodus 14:13-14), a strong tower (Psalm 61:3), a trustworthy friend (Romans 5:6-11) and a giver of hope (Isaiah 40:31). Seeing Him in us secures our footing, gives us joy, strengthens our confidence and affirms our worth.
Whether I find myself in line at the grocery store, chaperoning a field trip, caring for an aging parent or one day back in scrubs, I get to be who I was made to be. Circumstances and job descriptions can’t change that.
What’s your favorite part about the roles you’ve played? If you’re a teacher, I’d guess it isn’t grading papers on the weekend. Perhaps it’s helping others grow into their best selves or understand a concept they’ve struggled to grasp.
Maybe you’re working full time when you thought you’d be staying home. Perhaps your dream job went to someone else, or you just can’t seem to pass that test. Life’s uncontrollable variables can’t rob you of your purpose.
It’s deeply, unshakably, apart of who you are.
For more inspiration
Declutter Your Life
It’s time to stop managing our families and start leading them!
2 years ago I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I had no capacity to mom on purpose.
Living with less has gifted me time, space and some much needed perspective of what truly matters most. Below is the link to my FREE Beginner’s Declutter Like a Minimalist Guidebook. It takes a deeper look at the 7 Steps to getting started highlighted in my popular post, Declutter Like a Minimalist.