Here’s Your Purpose

“Find what you do well and do a lot of it, recognize what you do poorly and do as little of that as possible.”-Joyce Meyer

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I was staying at a hotel on a mini-vacation and happened to flip through the channels on the TV and came across Pastor Joyce Meyer delivering a message on gifts.  In the spirit of Christmas,it’s important to note that God’s greatest gift to us is  Christ.  But what about the gifts or talents that have been given to us to use during our lifetime.  Joyce’s message hit a note with me.  I’m the type of person who needs messages like this, I really like messages and quotes that break it all the way down.  No need for all the hyperbole.  Find what you do well and do as much of it as possible.  Is it really this simple?

I’m currently in a time of transition in my own life and it was like a light bulb went off. I think this message could help a lot of people find their purpose.  We each only have a few gifts in life.  Our gifts are a cross section between what we do well and what we like to do.  For instance,  if you enjoy singing but you’re not very good, you know it and so does everyone else, then it’s highly likely this isn’t your purpose. On the flip-side, let’s say you’re great at organizing things and people ask you to organize things all the time.  If it feels like part of your soul dies every time you’re charged with organizing an event or paperwork, then this probably isn’t your purpose either.  And yes, I am using gift and purpose interchangeably because I believe God gives you your gifts in order to aid you in fulfilling your purpose.

In my own life I’ve ignored this principle.  And why did I ignore this principle? For the same reason most of us do.  Money.  I took a flashy high paying position after grad school. The position had me doing technical writing and kept me away from people.  Two big no-nos when it came to my personality and my spirit.  I need human contact and freedom of expression in order to thrive. I knew I wasn’t going to like it and that I should be doing something else.  Why did I take the job? Money, pure and simple.  Guess what. I ended up hating the job so much, I started to have health issues.  I have had so much trauma in my life without having health issues that for me to become so stressed that my body started to revolt against me, meant it was bad, real bad.  I left the position and learned a lesson, always stay true to who you are.  It’s not worth the mental and emotional anguish of selling your soul.

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I’m not here to tell you to ignore bills, student loans and retirement funds, but you only get one life.  I truly believe that we are responsible for the gifts that God has entrusted to us and the purpose that he has assigned to us.  Make a getaway plan. Take away all the roadblocks. Make it happen.

Find out what you do well.  Take an honest internal assessment and ask people that you really trust for feedback.  Now, narrow that list down to the things you like to do.  For me I need write creatively and speak publicly and I usually receive good feedback when I write and speak.  I’m a communicator and I love meeting new people. This is my purpose.  What’s yours?

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Bitterness: Are you defiling your loved ones?

On my way into the office today, I was listening to a pastor on the radio speak about bitterness.  Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard a message about bitterness.  As someone who hasn’t exactly had the easiest life, my ears tend to perk up a little when I hear someone discussing the issue.

As a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, bitterness is a constant struggle.  But today the speaker whose name escapes me, spoke of the subject in a way that I had never really heard it addressed before.  He described bitterness as something that defiles you and your relationships.  He likened it to an infectious disease that corrodes your entire life.  I always understood that bitterness can’t be a good thing, but he used the word “defile”, which got my attention.  Defile is such a strong word, it means to desecrate and it is synonymous with words like “rape” and “violate”.  He made me realize that my bitterness violates my family and my friendships.  I desecrate my marriage when I allow wounds of the past to make me bitter.  Powerful stuff when you put it that way and I encourage you to put it that way in your own mind so that you can feel the sting of what it means to defile your loved ones with the bitterness that you allow to take over your life.

how-to-be-set-free-from-bitterness-in-marriage_thumbThe speaker really set a great background for the message when he discussed the girl of barely four years old who is sexually abused by people she trusts and then marrying the guy who had also survived abuse.  I knew God was speaking to me in that moment.  That was the age that I had been molested by two people that I trusted and that my family had trusted.

At times I can see the bitterness that my husband and I bring into our marriage.  The bitterness from our childhood is so thick, it’s palpable at times.  But when I look at my child, I realize that I don’t want him to be defiled by my bitterness.  It’s not easy but it really is a choice to let go of the bitterness over what things could have been or should have been.  Just realign your thinking and think of what they could be now.  If you’re reading this, it means you’re alive and your capable of making a radical change in your life.  Take your life back from your abusers, make a choice today to stop defiling yourself and those around you.  It’s not easy but we can do it together.  Let me know below that you’re ready to take the journey with me.

Why “In the Night” by The Weeknd Almost Caused Me to Have a Nervous Breakdown

the weeknd

Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic with the title of this post, but the song did cause me to sob uncontrollably while driving to work the other day.  To know me is to know that I am not a crier.  In fact, I pride myself on not showing emotion during times that would break anyone else down.  But The Weeknd, he got me.  The lyrics tell my life story in under four minutes.

 The song is about a stripper who has suffered from some form of abuse and can’t give up dancing for a living because her past and the hurt keep calling out to her.  Not only is the song deep but it’s catchy with a little bit of a Michael Jackson influence to it. Why did it cause me to breakdown? I’ve never been a stripper, prostitute per se or porn star but I’ve done things in that realm that I’m not proud of for money.  Hence the title of this website.  I did these things in my secret life while being a model daughter, student and citizen.

 I’ve experienced more trauma than most people can imagine: molestation, rape, physical and emotional abuse and domestic violence.  If I hadn’t personally lived through these things I would think I was making it up.  There’s no way that someone could experience the things I have experienced and not be strung out on something. On the contrary, after decades of trauma I have actually gone on to lead a “normal” life, whatever that means.  I graduated college with the highest of honors, I have a law degree, a successful husband who loves me, I’ve never even had a speeding ticket, I’m a homeowner and I’m a former beauty queen for one of the two major pageant systems (I won’t say the title because I’m not ready for people to know who I am).

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But I’ve lived a hidden life at times.  The hurt little girl let men use her for money. No, I didn’t have a drug addiction or hungry little mouths at home to feed.  I simply bought into a lie.  I told myself that men had used me without out my consent for years and now I was going to be in control, if they wanted to use me they had to pay. And of course there was the “I need to pay for tuition” lie that every twenty-something that does something strange for a little change tells herself.  Truth be told, I wanted to get back at all the adults in my life who let me down, who didn’t protect me.  I wanted to show them the damage.  Instead, I was never found out and I’ve lived with the secret ever since.  My secret life of dating men for money.  I was never on a stripper pole or street corner and never belonged to an escort service but I was in mutually beneficial “relationships” with people that I never would have been with had it not been for the money.  The secret tears me up inside.

I decided to start this blog because as I listened to “In the Night” I always stop crying when he says “she’ll never walk away.”  Because I did, I was able to walk away. By the grace of God I was able to turn away.    If you’re currently in the sex industry or engaging in things that you know are killing your spirit, I beg of you please protect that little girl or boy that’s still grieving inside you.  Make a plan, pray, reach out to someone but please make a serious attempt to get out before it’s too late.

 My life is so much better now but it has been a journey and it’s still a journey.  I liken it to the Israelites leaving Egypt, I’ve got a long way to go.  I encourage you to take the journey with me as I continue to contribute to this blog.  Get to know about my past, how I got into and out of “the life” and how I’ve hid my secret all these years while being in the public eye.  Maybe you’ll eventually learn my identity.  Please reach out if you want some encouragement, advice or just someone to talk to.