22 Dec Finding Your Purpose
I worked hard. I sacrificed. I did whatever it took to top my classes. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be better than other people. I maintained a calm and relaxed exterior, and when I didn’t top one of my courses, I shrugged it off like it wasn’t a big deal, but on the inside I ached… I felt less than, I felt inferior. I didn’t feel complete. Near the end of my time at university it started. Something was stirring inside of me, deeper than usual. I call it a spiritual awakening. I began to realize the game I was playing wasn’t fulfilling, and I knew if I continued at it that the worst fate of all could befall me: I could “win” and lose everything. This was when everything changed for me. I decided I needed something more, something bigger than just me. I turned down a good job at Ernst & Young and went off to a Christian missions organization.
I wanted purpose. I found it. It was to serve others, it was to care for the poor, it was to mentor and coach people, it was to live an upright, righteous life. It was to be a good person and “do unto others”. But… did finding my purpose help? Well, somewhat. The same patterns emerged, I was now just playing a new game. I wanted to be the most “loving”, the most “spiritual”, I wanted to be respected, heck, even revered, for my ability to perform within this context. In this setting, being “loving” was praised, reading the Bible was esteemed, praying long hours was venerated. So that is what I did. I became the “best” in this setting. I got up at 4am every day of the week for over a year and went to the prayer chapel, and if someone beat me in there, I was disappointed. Finding my purpose didn’t help. I was still trying to be the best, just in new, more “enlightened” areas. Finding my purpose didn’t help because my purpose was wrapped up in what I could “do”. Even if that “do-ing” was “good” things. It was all about how I could perform. My initial game at university was about how smart I was, my new game was about how spiritual I was. These words at their core are relative words. You can’t be “good” without judging someone else as “bad”, “smart” unless someone else is “dumb”, or “spiritual” unless someone else is “secular”. It was all rooted in comparison.You can’t be “good” without judging someone else as “bad”. - Jordan Taylor Click To Tweet
Comparison is simply a euphemism for judgement. I realized if I was to be fulfilled, I needed to stop judging. And start accepting. And that started with accepting myself. If I didn’t judge myself, I found I didn’t judge others. I started to accept myself. With my strengths and my weaknesses. I started to be kind to myself when I messed up, and I began to pat myself on the back when I did well and when I didn’t. This started to break old patterns, and I started to experience true freedom. I was beginning to be free from the fear of man, because when people rejected me, I could handle it, because I liked me, I was gracious with me, I forgave me. I accepted me. Finding my purpose wasn’t the key to fulfillment, accepting myself was. Now that I didn’t need the acceptance, approval, and admiration from others, I could authentically go out and fulfill my purpose. I could wholeheartedly go out and help the poor, and serve those in need, because I didn’t need anything from them. When I was at peace with myself, it was amazing finding out how much I could actually now “do”.
What areas in your life are you seeking acceptance?
What are some ways you’ve learnt to accepted you?