Finding Purpose Is Celebrated
Living in the Bible Belt, we’ve all heard the phrases “discover your purpose,” “live the life you were created for,” and “make a difference.” Finding purpose is celebrated. Birmingham ranks number two among the top charitable cities in the United States and is home to 35,673 non-profit organizations. That is approximately one organization for every six people. We like to know we are making a difference.
But what happens when that overwhelmingly significant purpose shifts to a seemingly mundane one? I found myself in this exact position.
I spent years frequenting the ever-changing scenes of terraced farmland, charming hillside villages, and dazzling natural amphitheaters formed by the impressive peaks of twenty-thousand-foot snowy Himalayan giants. The thing that drew me there wasn’t the unparalleled icy mountain scenery or the opportunity to check “stand on the rooftop of the world” off my bucket list.
Although it was amazing, it wasn’t staying in some of the most inviting teahouses in the Himalayas, trekking across some of the world’s deepest river gorges, or seeing sacred temples that kept me. And contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t even about the hope of catching a glimpse of the legendary Yeti that called me to my purpose.
Trekking the beaten paths to bring sustainable change, hope, and a better life to those who so desperately needed it is what created a deep purpose within me.
I Realized I Was Somebody
There is a phrase that is graffitied on a wall in the developing country where I worked. It said:
“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”
It defined me. I couldn’t do everything, but I could do something. Then one day it came: the ever-so-loud screeching halt. I was standing at an altitude of 10,383 feet, overlooking the rolling majesty of the Tibetan plateau. I realized that there was a beating heart inside of me other than my own. The time I spent trekking to villages that could only be reached by foot while carrying everything on my back had come to an abrupt end. What now?
I Wasn’t Alone
My husband and I were soon outnumbered. I became a stay-at-home mom with three babies under three years old. My identity seemed lost. The hiking shoes and the cross-cultural conversations were traded for diapers and baby coos. I loved every single second of it but felt trapped behind the overwhelming feeling of loss of purpose. And I wasn’t alone. I read or heard it every day. There she is–the stay-at-home mom searching for direction, meaning, connection, and purpose.
My Boots Are Dusty, But My Quiver Is Full
Then it clicked. A great communicator reminded me that my greatest contribution to the future of this world may not be something I do, but someone I raise. My husband and I were outnumbered for a reason. We can do so much more now. We often look around us, to our equals, to find “our tribe.” I’m not discounting that. I do have a precious mama tribe that I would be lost without. But, I’ve also decided to create a fierce tribe at home.
Through their giggles, I can hear belly laughs with indigenous peoples. Through their tantrums, I hear future war cries. In their small everyday wins, I see hearts being changed, lives being mended, and hope being found. I have a purpose that is so much greater than I ever imagined in my three little arrows that are slowly learning how to fly.
My boots are dusty, but my quiver is full. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Children are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work.” So, to the mama that feels she is alone and without purpose, look down.
Your purpose now is greater than it ever has been. You are still somebody.