Do you ever feel like you keep returning to the same spot? I do. I feel like I take several steps forward then get stuck, so I start over. I start to think, “maybe I was wrong… maybe this wasn’t the path I was supposed to be on.” So I begin again. Reevaluating purpose, questioning my place in the world.
I went to a travel conference the other day, and I felt so much positive energy. Surrounded by people who “get it.” People who understand the desire to just get up and go… anywhere… everywhere. I got some great advice on my travel business. I left energized and ready to conquer the world. Then, just ask quickly as the fearlessness came on, the questions and doubt resumed, “Is this my purpose? Is this really what I want to be doing?” As much as I love travel, I’m not sure that travel blogging or travel consulting in my purpose. But if it’s not, what is?
I realized it has been almost a year from the date that I posted my blog How I Travel the World on $30,000 a Year. By far my most successful blog to date. In it, I spoke about obedience. Radical obedience to the Lord’s will that gives me the ability to travel the world. And yet, here I sit, a year later questioning my purpose. Somehow, somewhere I had lost that radical faith that God would show me the way. I began to believe that I had to figure it all out. I believed that I had to manipulate circumstances in order to work in my favor.
I was still at the same job… but I was tired. I believed that its season was over, but I wasn’t letting go – and it was causing me to become restless. I sat with my co-worker one day and we laughed at the fact that we had made it through the year on pennies. On $26,000 AGI, I had managed, yet again, to find myself all over the world. I’d managed to start up a non-profit agency, pay my car note and mortgage, maintain bi-weekly lawn care service, have cable, internet and home phone, AND take in a beautiful baby girl. Yet and still I questioned God’s ability to order my steps.
At any given moment I was teetering somewhere between radical faith and certain uncertainty.
Shannon Kaiser delivered a phenomenal presentation at the Women’s Travel Fest about purpose. Finding yourself. Allowing yourself to live authentically outside of the box. On Instagram she shared this photo with the caption:
“The secret is to stop looking for your purpose and live your life more on purpose. You’ll soon see that the purpose is bigger, so much bigger than you. And you’ll be lead with grace, clarity, inspiration and joy.”
I realized that I had spent so much time looking for my purpose in the grand scheme of life, when all God really needs me to do is be purposeful in my day to day actions. Focus on the tasks he has given me for today. Planning for the future is great, but I can’t get so wrapped up in something that is unknown and ever-changing. Whether my “purpose” is blogging, traveling, empowering others, working with youth, raising a family, or all of the above, I have to remember to be intentional with the choices I make in the day-to-day.
While on a recent trip to San Juan, I couldn’t help but notice massive clouds around me the whole time – day and night. At the time, I really didn’t think anything of it, but when I returned, I ran across Exodus 13:21a “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of clouds to guide them on their way …” Little did I know that I’d never been lost. I was right where I needed to be.
I attended a Vision Journal Workshop, hosted by MsIndependent earlier in the year. At the workshop we created these journals. I had great plans of decorating mine with “Blessed” stickers and beautiful designs. I quickly realized that the glitter paper I used for the cover would not hold stickers, paper, washi tape, or any of the creative décor I had planned to put on it. Not only does it not hold anything, it leaves glitter EVERYWHERE and on EVERYTHING it touches. As I sat one night asking God, “WHAT DO YOU NEED ME TO DO?” God replied, “I need you to leave a sparkle wherever you go.”
In that instant it all came together. God doesn’t need me to figure things out. I thought back to all of the places I had been over the last year. At each place, he’d given me the opportunity to sparkle. The opportunity to spread his joy and his love to someone who may need it. I’d like to say that I took advantage of every opportunity, but quite honestly, there were times when I was too caught up trying to figure out life that I missed the chance grace someone else with His light.
I know some of you may be at a point where you’re not sure what to do next, and my advice to you is: Sparkle.