The Pressure of Purpose – BeautyBeyondBones

I’ll tell ya, living in New York, it puts you in situations that you just won’t find anywhere else.

Yesterday, my special gentleman and I were taking a long walk just before sunset. We live about 20 blocks apart, and so to walk from one apartment to the other, it’s a solid 20-25 minutes — in my opinion, the perfect casual stroll.

Anyway, he was walking me home. It was an absolutely gorgeous night: 74 degrees, no humidity, not a cloud in the sky. We were popping in and out of little art galleries and clothing stores along the way.

But at one point, we stumbled upon an outdoor stand-up comedy show. About 10 or so people were seated around a makeshift side stage of a restaurant on the corner of a bustling street in the Village. It was a very “Covid-impromptu” set up, and Steven and I were intrigued.

So we stalled at the corner for a minute to check out what was going on, as this was clearly one of those “only New York” kind of experiences.

And of course, this comic guy decides to call us out, over the microphone.

“You guys comin’ in? You gonna just stand there? Should I, shouldn’t I? How very New York of you…always afraid of commitment!”

Awesome. Thanks, buddy.

We gave a little chuckle — along with everyone else — and then crossed the street, going on our merry way.

But I mean, it was funny because it’s true. New Yorkers are notoriously noncommittal. In just about every area of life. I mean, pre-pandemic, weekend plans wouldn’t start until midnight, mostly because people wouldn’t commit to a set of plans until they’ve seen that all their other options were lame or fell through.

There’s a saying when it comes to New Yorkers, that you’ve got to delay your “life milestone timeline” by about ten years if you live in the city. And I guess, yeah I’ve seen that to be true.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about that little interaction for the rest of the night. Not because we were the butt of a joke, but because of that line about being afraid of commitment.

I think there’s a big part of all of our hearts that has a legitmate fear that we’re going to make the wrong life decision.

I remember before my Junior year in high school, when I was starting to think about college and my future (right before I developed anorexia, interestingly enough — and sidenote, I’m sure this pressure played a role in it) – I had this gripping fear that I was going to choose the wrong path for my life.

I devoured the book, The Purpose Driven Life, that summer – I took notes in the margins, meticulously filled out the journal that went with it. I was just obsessed with figuring out “why am I here?” and making sure I chose the path God had planned for me.

And hindsight is hysterical, because, knowing the path my life actually ended up taking after that: (developing anorexia and having my life and college plans derailed as a result) it just proves that not only do we have no idea the adventure God is going to take us on, but that He will take even the worst of scenarios and turn it into good.

But at the time, I just thought: This is it. Choose the wrong thing and my life is ruined forever.

If I could go back to that summer – to that searching 16 year old girl, sitting by the pool, scouring those books for my purpose, I would tell her just to trust more.

That’s the thing – these books about living with purpose and using your gifts — they’re great, and yeah, they really do help you identify your God-given strengths, and give you ideas about how to use them. But at the end of the day, God is going to put you exactly where He wants you. And I’ll tell you one thing: the path that is going to get you there, is absolutely not the one you will expect to take.

I mean – the path my life took from that summer forward, I would have never EVER imagined, and not in a good way.

I mean, at the time, the biggest decision I thought I was going to have to make was whether to major in musical theater or straight drama!

Little did I know that I would barely be able to go to college – thanks to a two-year-long eating disorder that nearly took my life. That once there, I would then get ousted from my position as president of my sorority, leading me to move to New York City to finish school, where I then went on to have a year-long Ulcerative Colitis flare, that left me on bedrest in Ohio for eleven months. Leading me to start blogging about the diet that would ultimate save my life. But then, upon my return to New York, my mother had a stroke, sending me back to Ohio for another year. Ultimately ending up in New York, working as an eating disorder recovery advocate, sharing my most personal information on a global blogging platform!

I mean, you just can’t plan for the life God has planned for you!

And listen, none of that is to say, “Woah is me!” Not at all!

That’s to say, my life path has been all sorts of turbulent! SERIOUSLY. That junior in high school who thought her life was going to be a clear-cut, straight forward path – Honey, did I have another thing coming.

But that’s the thing. Every single twist and turn: it was a lesson that God was teaching me the hard way. I am notoriously a pretty strong willed individual. And it turns out, the only way God could get through to me was trial by fire. And praise be that He did.

All that to say, I don’t think commitment is something to be feared. Yes, it should be respected and given the weight and reverence it deserves through prayer and contemplation.

But at the end of the day, we’ve gotta just trust that God is in control.

God is going to lead us exactly where He wants us. The path may be unexpected, unconventional and uncomfortable, but we can place our absolute trust in the fact that God wants only good for us. And His plan for us is perfectly timed, and will lead us to a life of abundance.

Boy, do I know that now more than ever. Because the truth is, I wouldn’t trade the path my life has taken for anything. Because it made me into the woman I am today. It has given me the perspective and understanding that I am nothing without God. It has given me the true grasp of the truth that I am loved beyond measure by a good and merciful Father who forgives me. And that I am precious in His sight.

Those four things: I am nothing. I am loved. I am precious. I am forgiven. I can read all the purposeful books I want, but the fact is, it is in those truths that my purpose truly lies.

My purpose is to love the God who loved me back to life, and to love others just the same.

Lord, this weekend, may we all feel your love. May we learn to trust you, and know that you are leading us to the life you have planned for us. And may we not fear the future, but trust in Your infinite – and intimately personal – goodness.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5


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