Sometimes your purpose may be totally opposite to the preparation of your life. It may be that you got a degree in one thing, but it's not fulfilling to you because it's not the thing that you were really created to do. It may be that your family and friends have misdirected you to where they have a need. So your education, your background, your circumstances, your job end up restricting you from finding your fulfillment.
This happened to me. My father owned a janitorial service, and it was his dream for us to own another family business together. As an adult, my brother started a windows-and-siding company and invited me to be a part of the it, but when I tried to twist myself into what my family wanted me to be, the business ultimately failed. I had substituted everyone's happiness for my own, trying to live up to my brother's dreams because I loved him and trying to live up to my father's expectations. But in reality, my purpose was in a completely different arena than anything they could have imagined.
This happens to so many of us. Every day at work, you might be like Jonah in the story in Bible, right when the ship hits a storm. Jonah knew, "I'm really going in the wrong direction. I'm going into the mouth of a whale." You know the exact same thing. You have to have the courage to withstand other people's opinions and ideas and to flow into your own purpose.
4. The "Do Something—Anything" Mistake
The lives we lead do not always lend time for inner reflection. We're so busy that we don't make space for prayer, for mediation. We don't really examine. We throw ourselves into this busy-ness so deeply that we don't take the time to pause for even a Sabbath, if you will.
Everything else in creation has a Sabbath—a winter, a season of not being fruitful. But we're afraid of this. Look at fruit trees: They give up the winter for the spring. It's not healthy for livestock to produce all year long. We're so busy spitting out project after project after project that we don't give ourselves a chance to heal and restore and reflect and really find our internal heartbeat.
It can be hard at first to identify that internal heartbeat, but recognizing it determines what will give you fulfillment and gratification. Think of it as an inward applause for every moment where you feel in harmony with yourself, and when you hear it—be it loud and clear or soft and slightly muffled—you'll know exactly what it is and what you're meant to do.
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