“A WOMAN is like a tea bag; you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
The last few years have been very trying for me, but very significant in my finding and defining my true life’s work. I read somewhere that when you ask a child under the age of ten what they want to become when they grow up, they give you an answer that gives them joy. Answers like a fireman, an astronaut, an actress, president, singer or model express their love or interest in those areas. But time and “common sense” erase such ambitions. They are replaced by more “reasonable” ambitions.
When I was a child I wanted to be the first black President of the United States OR I wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice, like Thurgood Marshall (I had a picture of him in my dorm room throughout my years of college, right along with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Dominque Wilkins). My parents always encouraged my ambitions and nurtured them. At age eight (8) I wrote my inaugural address and my teacher at the time, Ms. Dirks, kept the speech in her wallet until she gave it to my mother when my mom went to the hospital to see Ms. Dirks who had been diagnosed with cancer. Ms. Dirks told her that she kept it in her wallet so she would know just where it was when I did in fact become president. Today, my mother has the speech framed in our family home, and reminds me that although I did not become President of the United States, I did become president of my own firm. And my passion for creating opportunities and righting social wrongs that I thought would happen through the judicial system occurs every day in my staffing offices. We show people often left out of the employment process how to become employed and provide for their families. It is my very own way of leveling the playing field just a bit.
I share all this with you for two reasons: I think it is important that we encourage the dreams of those around you. It is our responsibility to nurture and refine dreams not kill them. Secondly, when you are walking in your purpose although times may get hard and situations may be discouraging, you will find yourself smiling in spite of, and sometimes because of.
- Pay attention to your dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction may be a signal that you are out of place. God will not make you do something you absolutely detest, and that makes you completely miserable. It may challenge you, but you’ll enjoy the challenge. What I’m saying is, God leads you by your desires. Your desires that are aligned with his word are indicators of God directing your steps. He guides you by his peace (Phil.4:7). So if you’ve prayed, sought godly counsel, followed God’s blueprint in scripture and you’re still dissatisfied in your current place, then God may be gently nudging you into another place.
- Pay attention to what naturally flows from you. Science and math are not something I wake up each day excited to delve into. But I am excited about writing, speaking, teaching, motivating, creating and designing. These probably are guideposts to where God is leading me. So tell me, what are your gifts and talents? Which gift do you perform best? Which gift are you passionate about? I’ve learned that God-given gifts are like muscles. The more they are used, the stronger they become. If you can’t recognize the gifts and talents God has given you, I am sure you have abilities that feel right and natural when you perform them. These are abilities that may be complex for someone else but are simple for you. Through these abilities God will reveal more to you about who you are and will set the course for them to make room for you.
- Pay attention to the fruits you bear. The Word says that a tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 12:33). I believe results speak. If you aren’t being at all fruitful at what you are doing, it may be an indication that you are moving in the wrong direction. Good results aren’t necessarily immediate results; full manifestation doesn’t happen overnight. It took me about three years to consistently begin bearing good fruit. But I discovered that everything I needed was wrapped around my purpose and you too will realize the same.
- Pay attention to what excites you. Helping people feel rich from within is exciting to me. Planning and creating spaces to design inspires me, and speaking to audiences fascinates me. They move me into action when the opportunity arises to bask in the glow of the creative flow. They ignite within me a passion and zeal to take action–the same zeal that moved Jesus into action in John 2:15. If your gifting, talent and/or emotions move you into an action to change a thing that matters to you or to help someone, pay close attention to it. It could be what God has purposed you to do.
- Pay attention to the areas where you get the most support. I believe this is a true indicator of purpose because when you are doing what you are called to do, people can sense this. I truly believe that God moves on their hearts so compassion and favor will make the way for you to fulfill what he has called you to do.
The world makes room for people living in line with their purpose (Prov. 18:16). You were created to multiply and subdue, maximize your potential, make a difference, and move into your purpose—the building blocks to designing your best life.