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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Do I Have a Purpose?

Moses went through Egypt, a wilderness of trials, years of living with a shepherd's family after his entire life of pomp and circumstance in court....

If you'll let go of your plans and allow God to show you His, without any requirement or personal agenda that needs to be in there, but really just submit to Him fully....I have a feeling He's trying to tell you, but you're looking so hard you're missing the still, small voice through which He is speaking.

Cecily, the other day, told me "When we're so busy attacking a problem, we often miss the solution." That, my friend, is truth. :)  IF you want to know your mission, your purpose on this earth, the first step is to know who you are in relationship to God...and I mean know it in your heart, not just in your head.  After I know that, I have to be willing to follow whatever He asks of me, no matter how crazy it may sound.  Then, while I'm doing those things, He gives me glimpses of what my purpose is.

I have the habit of taking that glimpse and running with it, assuming it is the full picture.  Then I get frustrated when it isn't the real thing at all.  But through the years I've learned a couple of things from that.

1) I need to just take the step I am given, assume nothing, and go as far as the step ACTUALLY says to go - no further.  God defines where I am headed and what it all means.  I go back to Him regularly to make certain I am still on that path.

2) All of the steps added together equal my purpose.  For example: I thought I would be a singer.  That was my gift, my talent.  I thought I would spend my life singing and sharing my love of God through music.  Then I developed vocal nodes.  So I considered my life.  I thought I would teach English and write.  I love to write, I love communication and my favorite school teacher was Ms. Rutter, who was my Senior English teacher.  She taught me so much more than English and I thought, "Well, if I can't sing, then I want to teach.  I want to be like Ms. Rutter."  So I started to run down that path.  But it wasn't right either - however, I needed the things I learned from pursuing that path and the classes I took.  Then there were pursuits of Psychology, Law, Physics, Religion.  None of them were my path either.  BUT!  Add them all together, all of the things I've learned from each path, all of the truths I gathered from those who taught me and who were willing to mentor me....AND WOW!  Tara has a purpose in life!

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be reaching out to parents of children who are on the spectrum.  Never did I dream that by coming to know what I saw as my greatest weakness was going to be the very thing that God would use for me to fill the measure of my creation!  How cool is that?

In the Book of Mormon God said, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)

In the Holy Bible Moses said to God, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."

God's answer was, "Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." (Exodus 4:10-12)

Once again God promising that, no matter the weakness, He would strengthen.  Letting us know that if we are patient and come to Him in humility, He will show us His designs and then He will tell us what our part is in that design.

In the Tao te Ching, we read:

The ancient adepts of the Tao were subtle and flexible, profound and comprehensive.  
Their minds were too deep to be fathomed. 
Because they are unfathomable, One can only describe them vaguely by their appearance.
Hesitant like one wading a stream in winter; 
Timid like one afraid of his neighbors on all sides; 
Cautious and courteous like a guest; 
Yielding like ice on the point of melting; 
Simple like an uncarved block; Hollow like a cave; 
Confused like a muddy pool; 
And yet who else could quietly and gradually evolve from the muddy to the clear?  
Who else could slowly but steadily move from the inert to the living?
He who keeps the Tao does not want to be full.  
But precisely because he is never full, 
He can always remain like a hidden sprout, 
And does not rush to early ripening.
(Tao te Ching, chapter 15)

In other words, we need to learn to be before we can learn to become.  Until I can see where I am, I cannot see where to go.  Until I see that the water is muddy, I do not know that it is not clear.  Until I can see that I am afraid, I do not know I have courage.  It is the opposition in all things that gives us the balance and helps us to see what we need to see.  Until I see my pride, I cannot find my way to humility.  Until I know empty, I cannot comprehend full.  All things put a balance on each other.  Which side we are on does not matter, for we must know both sides before we can truly know any side.

The Tao also says:

"Welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise.
Prize calamities as your own body."

Why should we "welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise?
Because a lowly state is a boon:
Getting it is a pleasant surprise,
And so is losing it!
That is why we should "welcome disgrace as a pleasant surprise."

Why should we "prize calamities as our own body"?
Because our body is the very source of our calamities.
If we have no body, what calamities can we have?

Hence, only he who is willing to give his body for the sake of the world is fit to be entrusted with the world.
Only he who can do it with love is worthy of being the steward of the world.
(Tao te Ching, chapter 13)

So what is my point?  What am I trying to say here?  Well, if you want to find your purpose, your mission, you must first be open to where you are in life.  You must be willing to see things as they truly are - unpolished, unrefined, and sometimes altogether ugly.  What we accept on one level, we attain in the opposite direction. 

If I want to know I have a purpose, I must first know what it feels like to feel purposeless.  If I want to see, I must first know how it feels to be blind.  Only by knowing the polarities will my vision be clear as to what is truth and what is not.  This, then, allows me to see the path that has already been clearly defined by God.  But until I can completely accept where I am, as I am, right now....

It is like this.  If I open myself to the idea that I am weak and imperfect, then I can see where I can grow.  If I see where I can grow, I can begin to grow and learn and become better.  Then the weakness becomes my strength.  It is by seeking out my weakness that I learn to be strong.  

I cannot become strong by subduing my weakness.  Let me say that again.  I CANNOT BECOME STRONG BY SUBDUING MY WEAKNESS!  I must accept it, take it all in, allow it to be with me and part of me.  Then I can learn to release it, because I understand it and know it.  I cannot overcome that which I do not understand.  If I fight against my weakness, I am tearing myself into pieces.  If I accept it and just be in it, then I can come to see it for what it truly is.  Then I have the knowledge needed because I have understanding of it.

This was one more lesson I learned the other night while at "Wicked" with Cecily.  Whenever anything is overwhelming and I begin to head towards a meltdown, my thumbs start going over my middle fingers, the faster they go, the worse the meltdown is going to be unless it can be diverted.  This time, as I was sitting there, feeling everything I talked about in the previous post (Social Grace), I did something different.  Usually I try to manage it and control it and hide it.  I try to force it down and away so that no one can see.  I try to force myself to stop and get control of it.  This time I tried to just be in it.  I just felt it and let it be what it was, knowing that if I needed to take myself out, then that is what I would have to do.  So I sat there and, of course, Cecily helped me tremendously.  But I was able to just be in it and then, all-of-a-sudden, I was no longer overwhelmed.  Fighting it was what made it so bad.

As an aside, I've discovered what always made it so much worse before that has changed within me since I've known my friend Cecily.  I used to feel like I had to appear normal in public because I could feel others' shame when I didn't look normal.  I didn't want to embarrass those I loved by doing the stupid things I did to cope with my meltdowns.  So I would try to stop it or control it.  I hated and loathed it for the sake of the person I was with.  Had I just let myself be me and just do what I do, it would have been much easier and I would not have gone all the way to a meltdown.  I've learned, from my friend Cecily, that I need to just be me.  If that looks like a meltdown, then that looks like a meltdown.

I was never ashamed of who I was, only how I made others around me feel.  It bothered me that I was someone they were embarrassed of and I didn't want to be that - for their sakes.  Now I know differently.  Now I see that when others are embarrassed of me, it is because their pride is at stake; I am not responsible for how others feel about me or how they feel when they are around me.  Now I see that being embarrassed of someone else is just a cover for worrying if people are judging me because I am with that person.

I had someone I was embarrassed of once.  I treated this person poorly in public, because of things that this person would say that would feel like those around us were judging both of us.  They would think that just because I was with this person, that I agreed - wholehearted - with the extreme things that were said, or the outrageous actions that sometimes happened.  I felt so embarrassed because of the lack of etiquette and consideration for those around us.  I felt like I had to make sure others knew that I didn't feel the same way as this person - instead of just loving my friend and showing that I cared about how this person felt.  I preserved my pride instead of preserving an important relationship.

Anyhow.  I have learned, by being the ashamed one and by being the one others were ashamed of, that when others feel ashamed of me, it is not my problem.  If I am ashamed of someone, then I don't honestly love them.  I may feel love towards them, but true love is enduring and lasts through all acts and all words, not just when they are done in private, between the two of us.  I find I am more ashamed of myself more than anything else.  It was easier to feel embarrassed of my friend than it was to face the truth: I did not love this person as I ought, I was the one I was embarrassed of - not my friend, I was just projecting that onto my friend. 

So, back to my point.  Accept where you are as you are.  Accept all of you.  Do not see it as good or bad, but more as a starting place.  The "worse" off you are to begin with, the more spectacular you will become because of your understanding.  Now that's not to say that I think you should seek to become worse off - just so we're clear.  Where you are weakest, when you take it to God and let Him show you that weakness fully, miraculous things happen.  You come to understand it.  Then you overcome it.  Then you can release it.  Then you become a whole being who is able to show light to those on the path as well.  Your greatest weakness, when viewed through God's eyes, becomes your greatest strength.  And I would almost guarantee that whatever your greatest weakness is, when it becomes your greatest strength, you will have found your purpose and your mission.  You will then know yourself fully.  By knowing yourself, you can become all that God has in store - trust me, it's always far more than you ever could have imagined.  

Yes, you have a purpose.  No, you will not find it by pretending to be strong.  No, you will not find it by the facades or the pretenses or the pomp you display.  We will end with one more thought from the Tao.

What is in the end to be shrunken,
Begins by being first stretched out.
What is in the end to be weakened,
Begins by being first made strong.
What is in the end to be thrown down,
Begins by being first set on high
What is in the end to be despoiled,
Begins by being first richly endowed.
Herein is the subtle wisdom of life:
The soft and the weak overcomes the hard and the strong.

Just as the fish must not leave the depths,
So the ruler must not display his weapons.
(Tao te Ching, chapter 36)

If you will be all you can be, your path must begin in humility; in recognizing your weakness and accepting it as a gift - not a punishment.  God will show you who you are if you will ask Him in all humility.  He will show you your weakest point, because His plans are to make you His strength in this world.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your article. It made me cry and it has helped me.