What is Your Purpose? (Mar 2007)

I’m a firm believer that everyone has a purpose in this life, as well as a purpose within the Kingdom of God. Some people have one or the other figured out. For some they might both be the same thing. Personally, I feel like I know what mine is, but circumstances keep me from fulfilling it. It took me a long time to figure out what my purpose in this life is. I’ve always envied those who knew why they were here since they were twelve years old (my sister) or even those who figured it out in high school/college (my husband). I never was one of those people who had a lot of direction. I talked before about how I want to have a baby, but let me elaborate on that some more.

When I was younger, high school and college mostly, I was a huge feminist. I was never going to get married, I was never going to have kids, I was going to have some important career and be a “new woman.” I’m serious about this. I didn’t learn how to cook when my mom and grandma were teaching my sister, because I wasn’t going to do those girly things. I didn’t dress like a woman. I didn’t do girly things like crafts or watch girly movies (I still don’t really do that very often…unless I have a friend who wants to see a girly movie). Anything that was associated with the word “woman” was off-limits. That changed a very little bit in college when I joined a sorority (actually, it was a woman’s fraternity, but let’s not get too technical here), but I still was very independent and played men more than they played me (you should have seen the reaction when a guy who thought he was dating me saw me with somebody else…highly entertaining). I still didn’t have any direction, but I did know where I wasn’t going, which was into the kitchen.

After I graduated from college, though, a lot of things changed all at once. I met a man who I actually cared about and who was unlike any man I had ever met. He liked me for me, despite all of my faults (and there were and still are a lot of them). I realized that my life was empty and that the hole that I was filling with beer and men could only be filled with the love of Jesus. I married that man (gasp) and began a life with him that was unlike any I had ever planned. I’d say probably the winter after we got married I started itching for a baby. That was a feeling I had never felt before and it was one that has waxed and waned since then, but is pretty constantly there now. At that point I was still thinking “family + career,” despite the fact that I still had no idea what that career would be. I was still a very strong feminist at that point and was pretty resentful when anybody tried to put me in the woman’s camp. I was empowered and wasn’t going to have anybody telling me what a woman was. During the four years since then, though, things have changed.

I bounced around from one job to the next (six jobs in four and a half years) trying to find something that would fulfill me. Some of the things that I’ve done have been boring, some have been hard, none have been fulfilling. While I was home visiting family in January, though, I came to the realization that no J O B is going to satisfy me, because I’m meant to be a mom. I think that I had known that for a long time, but kept trying to deny it, which is why I tried a lot of things like going back to school and trying new jobs that I thought would fulfill me. No matter what happens, though, I end up at the same point: I want to be a mom. Now the feminists out there are probably saying that I’m taking a step backward, but I would ask you this: is it any less empowering to choose to be a mother than it is to choose to be a lawyer? If I am the one making that choice and it isn’t being forced on me, then I am no less empowered than the woman doctor, the woman factory worker, the woman physicist. The thing that I have learned lately, the thing that I have been seeing for so long, but could not quite make out until recently, is that just because something is traditionally feminine, doesn’t make it bad. The truth is, I love to cook, I love to knit, I love to be a wife, and I will love being a mom.

So, having said all of that, this is where the depression kicks in. I am kept from fulfilling my purpose in life by circumstances. Bad decisions from my past led to huge amounts of debt that now needs to be paid off before I can stop working. Hence the new job. I mentioned before that I was going to have to quit my job that I liked for something that I probably wouldn’t. Well, I did just that and now I am more miserable than I would have been if I had just stuck with the old one and paid off the loans in fifteen months. Now I’ll pay off the debt faster, but at what price? The whole process is destroying me and putting a huge strain on my marriage. Not to mention the fact that, since I can’t work the number of hours that I need to in order to achieve my six-to-nine month pay off goal, I’m no better off than I was before. I mean, it’s not worth it to have a job I hate for an entire year. The truth is, I don’t hate my new job, I’m just not very good at it, which is very discouraging and makes me want to give up on the whole thing. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really like doing things that I’m not good at. The problem is that the kind of things I am good at (or would be good at if I tried them) are not the kinds of things that pay well.

So, here I am. Unfulfilled, destroying the man that I love, and getting nowhere in the process. I’m the kind of person who needs a cause (a Persister, if that means anything to any of you), but I have none right now. My family is my cause, but I’m far away from my relatives and am kept from starting my family here. I blame myself and nobody else for my circumstances, because if I had made better decisions in my past, then I wouldn’t be stuck right now. That’s what it’s like, being stuck in a hole, one so deep that I can’t get out. In my head I know that there is an end to all of this and that the hole is getting gradually shallower all the time, but my heart has never been one to listen to my head. My heart only sees the immediate future and that looks grim. It’s like going into a really long tunnel. I know that I will come out on the other side, but I can’t see the light from where I am right now.

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