As some of you know, I got out of a very icky situation just over 4 years ago that I consider to be a cult. When I left, I was afraid, really really really afraid. I was conditioned to believe that I needed to be in that group to function spiritually, to be on the right path, and to fulfill whatever it was that I was intended to do with my life.
We were told that God wouldn’t do anything with our lives until we helped the pastor of this church do something with his. Which was, of course, a big fat lie.
When I left, I was a stifled, confused, beat-down, defeated version of myself. All the things that make me, me were considered insignificant and unnecessary in this abusive, controlling pseudo-church.
Sometimes in life, it seems that right when you can’t possible take it anymore, you find what you need. Within a few days of leaving the place I was so unhappy in, I finally heard the message that I so desperately needed. A teacher, friend, philosopher, or family member couldn’t have spoken it to me in a way I could have received – I had lived in a world where only spiritual things mattered, and I didn’t trust people on the outside. As is always always true for me, it seems to me that the universe and all that’s divine knew what I needed and sent me someone who I would listen to. He was a minister from my denomination, working in the town I had run-away to, who spoke a religious language that I was familiar with at the time, yet filled the gaps of passages with love, not control and narcissism.
Even when you are lost and hopeless, destiny can still find you.
I’ll never forget the words he said to me, “Amanda, what do you love? The things you love are the things God has called you to do. The most successful people I know are doing what they love. Find a way to make what you love, what you do.”
My confidence had been destroyed. My sense of self was barely breathing. I didn’t know where to go next, but someone I felt I could trust, gave me permission to start dreaming.
And I did.
And I haven’t stopped.
I started with what I knew I loved. These were all things that had been considered needless and petty in the cult, but I decided that they were my passions for a purpose, and slowly I have learned to embrace all of who I am. I knew I loved psychology and helping people. I knew I wanted a PhD. I knew I longed to see the world. I knew I was an extrovert to the core. I knew I was enamored with makeup and aesthetically pleasing fashion and designs. So I applied to school, began studying French (which I never learned but I did, however, learn tons about European culture), learned to trust and make friends, I started dressing how I wanted, and I began surrounding myself with beautiful things. (Life isn’t always beautiful so I eventually learned to find the pretty in the ugly, but that’s a totally different blog post.)
Eight countries, almost two degrees, lots of friends, and the creation of a blog and business later, I have made the things I love, my life.
I am chasing my dreams.
I get to contribute to the world by doing the things I love, every day.
Is there something that you partake in that seems to cause time to escape you? Notice that. Is there something you are a part of that whether it completely stresses you out or not, you love every minute of it? Notice that. What section do you find yourself in at a book store? How do you feel when you read those books? Notice that. What websites do you frequent when you’re procrastinating? Notice that. What do you catch yourself talking about when a conversation wanders? Notice that. Is there an area that when you write, talk, or think about it, you light up? Notice that.
I’m not saying that you will find this tangible thing that is your purpose, next day start a company, and the next day be a millionaire. It is more of a process.
Each little “ah-ha” moment leads us closer to understanding what our purpose is.
As Oprah says, you get closer as you “feed the heart of that which you love.”
I am slowly finding ways to make the things I love, my whole entire life. So now, I have a life I love.
No one can tell you what your purpose is, but you have one and I believe you will find it – if you just look and believe.
You have a contribution to make to the world. Only you and that which you consider Divine can define it. Let it be as unique as you are.
Your heart is speaking all the time. It’s your job to listen to it.
Never stop believing. Remove yourself from hateful people. Follow your inner voice. Believe.