“Practice what you preach.”
It’s an old saying that we’ve all heard a million times. The basic meaning behind it that if you talk about something you really believe then follow it up with your actions. The principle can be applied in general to any aspect of life. If you really believe something, live it out. Whether that’s in business, your daily routine, relationships, and your faith etc.
In my case, it also applies to what I write. I’ve always written about what I know based on what I’ve gone through and experienced myself. It’s all I know to do. It’s my therapy. My release. My creative outlet. And knowing that other people read it as well and are encouraged by it is something else that keeps me going on days when I want to pack it up and quit on life. It gives purpose to all of it.
Last week I wrote and posted a blog (“An Uncomfortable Process”) talking about how we are often pressed and crushed in life. How that crushing season can be uncomfortable but it’s necessary to produce greatness. Anything in life that is worth anything of value goes through seasons of difficulty and hardship. It’s purpose is to bring out the very best in us while discarding what no longer serves us. Once we recognize that we can begin to see the silver linings in our suffering and begin to move forward and thrive rather than just sit in our pain and barely survive.
Last weekend was a difficult one for me emotionally speaking. For a couple of reasons. Because of that, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to practice what I had just shared and written only the day before. I felt pressed and crushed and now I had to somehow figure out how to move forward rather than sit in the pain I was feeling. There was a lot of crying. And not the cute kind. The dreaded ugly cry. The kind where I had to call in the troops (my best friend) who stayed on the phone with me for an hour, bless her heart, as she sat in her freezing car while listening to me try to catch my breath in between sobs. She’s my person and she’s really great at it. My anxiety was pretty intense so she listened as I went over everything I was feeling, about the situations, about myself and how it made me feel. Difficult times can bring out all of our fears and insecurities with a vengeance. They make you question your worth, value, your purpose and your identity. She spoke life back into me, encouraged me and built me back up. She spoke the truth to who I was rather than allowing me to believe the lies that were swirling around in my head. It was like she was my mirror, showing me my true reflection. She was kind, compassionate and also brutally honest. The kind of pep talk that doesn’t beat around the bush. The kind you need when you’re down for the count in the middle of a boxing match and you need a good kick in the ass to remind you of who you really are so you can get back up and finish it.
The next day, I found myself in a studio with my friend and producer, going over plans about beginning to record my music. We had a great conversation and got caught up on life which was encouraging and life giving in itself. It was what I needed after the previous days of feeling pretty beat up emotionally. I had waited a really long time for this opportunity so I was excited to get started. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose just knowing what was up ahead.
A few days after that I was out serving in the community with the same group of people I serve with once every month. It was freezing cold but it’s always something that fills me up when I do it. It’s another passion of mine. We served hot soup, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and cookies, and brought some donated clothes to serve the people in our community that needed it. Here’s a little tip: any time you’re hurting, go serve somebody.
Both of these things, being in the studio and serving in my community, really helped to put things back into perspective for me. And it comes as no real surprise really. These things are so deeply apart of me and are things I am deeply passionate about that I can’t not do them. Which means, they are my purpose in life. It’s the reason for me being here. It’s the reason why I didn’t quit on life when I really wanted to. It’s my reason to keep going.
Only a week later and I feel like I’m back on track. Once again I was reminded that purpose trumps pain. Every. Time. That’s the difference between someone who is “mission minded” and someone who isn’t.
Mission minded people don’t quit.
We don’t get to quit. We don’t have that luxury. We can’t not do the thing that we were put on this earth to do. Regardless of our circumstances and the difficulties we face. We are compelled to move forward. And the thing about it is, anyone who is mission minded, it is a guarantee that you will be tested and driven close to the edge. The difference is that we just figure out how to fly on our way down.
The way I see it now, heartbreak is just more fuel on the fire. Another bullet in the chamber. Another tool in my tool box. It has a purpose now. I use it to my advantage to propel me forward rather than allowing it to use me to bring me down. It doesn’t have the same power over me like it used to. I can cry it out one day and be working on my purpose and destiny the next. It just makes me want to gut it out even more. And it makes my story even better.
Mission minded people are just stubborn like that. We cry it out, vent, scream, cuss. We might need to spend an entire day to wallow in our grief or heartbreak. And that’s ok. Get it out of your system. Do what you gotta do. But then, we get up, dust ourselves off, wipe the tears and keep going. We can’t change the past. We have no control over what has happened. There’s no sense in living there. But we can damn sure make the choices necessary to create a purposeful future! Turning pain into purpose is such a powerful thing and mission minded people know how to do just that. You won’t find us where you left us. We’ve already moved on. We have too much building to do. Too many lives to change (our own included).
If you’re going through something devastating, I’ve been there. I get it. And speaking from experience, get up, wipe those tears, dust yourself off and get out there. Surround yourself with other mission minded people. Turn that pain into purpose! Get your mission mindset focus back! Use it as fuel to go impact this world for the better. If you’re mission minded, you don’t get to run and you don’t get to quit! I see you. God sees you. Now go get it!