The Pressure of Purpose

I’ll tell ya, living in New York, it puts you in situations that you just won’t find anywhere else.

Yesterday, my special gentleman and I were taking a long walk just before sunset. We live about 20 blocks apart, and so to walk from one apartment to the other, it’s a solid 20-25 minutes — in my opinion, the perfect casual stroll.

Anyway, he was walking me home. It was an absolutely gorgeous night: 74 degrees, no humidity, not a cloud in the sky. We were popping in and out of little art galleries and clothing stores along the way.

But at one point, we stumbled upon an outdoor stand-up comedy show. About 10 or so people were seated around a makeshift side stage of a restaurant on the corner of a bustling street in the Village. It was a very “Covid-impromptu” set up, and Steven and I were intrigued.

So we stalled at the corner for a minute to check out what was going on, as this was clearly one of those “only New York” kind of experiences.

And of course, this comic guy decides to call us out, over the microphone.

“You guys comin’ in? You gonna just stand there? Should I, shouldn’t I? How very New York of you…always afraid of commitment!”

Awesome. Thanks, buddy.

We gave a little chuckle — along with everyone else — and then crossed the street, going on our merry way.

But I mean, it was funny because it’s true. New Yorkers are notoriously noncommittal. In just about every area of life. I mean, pre-pandemic, weekend plans wouldn’t start until midnight, mostly because people wouldn’t commit to a set of plans until they’ve seen that all their other options were lame or fell through.

There’s a saying when it comes to New Yorkers, that you’ve got to delay your “life milestone timeline” by about ten years if you live in the city. And I guess, yeah I’ve seen that to be true.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about that little interaction for the rest of the night. Not because we were the butt of a joke, but because of that line about being afraid of commitment.

I think there’s a big part of all of our hearts that has a legitmate fear that we’re going to make the wrong life decision.

I remember before my Junior year in high school, when I was starting to think about college and my future (right before I developed anorexia, interestingly enough — and sidenote, I’m sure this pressure played a role in it) – I had this gripping fear that I was going to choose the wrong path for my life.

I devoured the book, The Purpose Driven Life, that summer – I took notes in the margins, meticulously filled out the journal that went with it. I was just obsessed with figuring out “why am I here?” and making sure I chose the path God had planned for me.

And hindsight is hysterical, because, knowing the path my life actually ended up taking after that: (developing anorexia and having my life and college plans derailed as a result) it just proves that not only do we have no idea the adventure God is going to take us on, but that He will take even the worst of scenarios and turn it into good.

But at the time, I just thought: This is it. Choose the wrong thing and my life is ruined forever.

If I could go back to that summer – to that searching 16 year old girl, sitting by the pool, scouring those books for my purpose, I would tell her just to trust more.

That’s the thing – these books about living with purpose and using your gifts — they’re great, and yeah, they really do help you identify your God-given strengths, and give you ideas about how to use them. But at the end of the day, God is going to put you exactly where He wants you. And I’ll tell you one thing: the path that is going to get you there, is absolutely not the one you will expect to take.

I mean – the path my life took from that summer forward, I would have never EVER imagined, and not in a good way.

I mean, at the time, the biggest decision I thought I was going to have to make was whether to major in musical theater or straight drama!

Little did I know that I would barely be able to go to college – thanks to a two-year-long eating disorder that nearly took my life. That once there, I would then get ousted from my position as president of my sorority, leading me to move to New York City to finish school, where I then went on to have a year-long Ulcerative Colitis flare, that left me on bedrest in Ohio for eleven months. Leading me to start blogging about the diet that would ultimate save my life. But then, upon my return to New York, my mother had a stroke, sending me back to Ohio for another year. Ultimately ending up in New York, working as an eating disorder recovery advocate, sharing my most personal information on a global blogging platform!

I mean, you just can’t plan for the life God has planned for you!

And listen, none of that is to say, “Woah is me!” Not at all!

That’s to say, my life path has been all sorts of turbulent! SERIOUSLY. That junior in high school who thought her life was going to be a clear-cut, straight forward path – Honey, did I have another thing coming.

But that’s the thing. Every single twist and turn: it was a lesson that God was teaching me the hard way. I am notoriously a pretty strong willed individual. And it turns out, the only way God could get through to me was trial by fire. And praise be that He did.

All that to say, I don’t think commitment is something to be feared. Yes, it should be respected and given the weight and reverence it deserves through prayer and contemplation.

But at the end of the day, we’ve gotta just trust that God is in control.

God is going to lead us exactly where He wants us. The path may be unexpected, unconventional and uncomfortable, but we can place our absolute trust in the fact that God wants only good for us. And His plan for us is perfectly timed, and will lead us to a life of abundance.

Boy, do I know that now more than ever. Because the truth is, I wouldn’t trade the path my life has taken for anything. Because it made me into the woman I am today. It has given me the perspective and understanding that I am nothing without God. It has given me the true grasp of the truth that I am loved beyond measure by a good and merciful Father who forgives me. And that I am precious in His sight.

Those four things: I am nothing. I am loved. I am precious. I am forgiven. I can read all the purposeful books I want, but the fact is, it is in those truths that my purpose truly lies.

My purpose is to love the God who loved me back to life, and to love others just the same.

Lord, this weekend, may we all feel your love. May we learn to trust you, and know that you are leading us to the life you have planned for us. And may we not fear the future, but trust in Your infinite – and intimately personal – goodness.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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55 thoughts on “The Pressure of Purpose

  1. Oh my goodness, did I NEED this now! Thank you for this article – I loved it!!

    “All that to say, I don’t think commitment is something to be feared. Yes, it should be respected and given the weight and reverence it deserves through prayer and contemplation.

    But at the end of the day, we’ve gotta just trust that God is in control.”
    Boy oh boy are these words the truth or what??!! XD

    1. Hi Vera! Oh I’m so glad this resonated with you! Amen! He is in control! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  2. Love this! I often say that if we could just remember when Jesus said what the two most important commandments were, that we would have the healthy society that we all crave.

    It’s not easy, but it is simple. Love God, love others.

  3. In your post you said the following :”But at the end of the day, we’ve gotta just trust that God is in control.” That’s a big dose of truth right there. God is Sooooo far ahead of us, it is amazing. To us, time is like a contractor’s measuring tape. We can see inside maybe an eighth of an inch or so. We can see a little bit of what’s coming. But basically, we don’t know what’s ahead until we pull it out further. It might be blank in another inch or maybe it switches to another language. You just have to keep pulling to see. Our life and time is like this. We can see ahead just a little, but we really don’t know until we get there. For God, it’s different. He’s got the tape pulled all the way out. He knows the beginning from the end and everything in between. He’s not surprised or caught off guard. Once you realize this and also realize his great love for us, then you come to see that you just have to trust him and simply rest in that love. He’s got it covered.

    1. Encouraged, thank you.

      This has reminded me of a book that I always go to for the reminder of these truths, of course, after the Bible, it’s called “The Sovereignty of God,” by A.W. Pink.

      Heard/read it? Humbling & comforting book!

  4. your writing style is getting better too, maybe your word abilities is the job for you, keep your mind safe,and always, count to ten, if anyone annoys you before you reply, you will be calmer too and will be glad afterwards, amen

  5. I’m twenty and have mostly grown up in the city – and yeah, I feel that life milestone timeline delay. Lol. Today I was realizing that it’s such a culture shock for me seeing how people actually live outside of larger cities. It’s a lot to take in for some reason. The hesitant New Yorker, 10-year-delayed part of myself is flabbergasted : P It’s something I’ll get used to, and I’m grateful that it’s all in God’s hands.

  6. Caralyn, I’m going to be a little contrary…just for fun. Nitpick. “I think there’s a big part of all of our hearts that has a legitimate fear that we’re going to make the wrong life decision.” It’s only a legitimate fear if you don’t have faith the God is already in the future waiting for you. If you believe that, there is no fear. But the very best we can hope for in our sinful nature is to vacillate between fear and confidence. The other thought is that not even God can steer a car that refuses to move. He can turn your wheel, but nothing happens without you moving/making a decision.

    Ah, trust more. There we go!

    Let’s try another wrinkle; Satan will throw us curve balls as he did to Job. God is our “designated hitter” who will smack those lousy pitches our of the park. I might say that Satan is an unwilling, unwitting partner to God in forming our path in life. So, God didn’t plan your anorexia, but He did take that pitch for you and redirected your path.

    Well, you concluded exactly where I started this response, so don’t I feel silly! Hope I made some sort of sense here. Long week on the road and still a bit groggy this morning.

    Please try to get me some possible dates – September? – for CTK.

  7. This is so, so true. If someone had told me 15 years ago that in 2021 I would be releasing my 10th novel, would have won numerous literary awards, and then suddenly shift to leading tours of the Holy Land, giving women’s retreats, and writing a Bible study, I would have thought ALL of it sounded too crazy to be true! But God has a plan for us. No matter which path we choose, if we trust and listen for God’s voice, we will end up exactly where He wants us to be. Hugs to you, Caralyn! Enjoy your weekend!

    1. That is so amazing, Amy!! Ten novels! Wow!!! What an incredible achievement. Congrats! Amen – the Lord brings us on quite an unexpected journey! His will is the best!! Amen! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  8. “If I could go back to that summer – to that searching16-year-old girl, sitting by the pool, scouring those books for my purpose, I would tell her just to trust more.”

    Trust is one of the keys to unlocking God-given purposes in life. 😄

    1. Thank you so much Cherryl! it is really a phenomenal product! i love it! Hugs and love xox

  9. Love you honest post! I thought after college in miami I would move back and live in NYC, I even knew the street! But I “met a guy”. We moved to buffalo and our first child was born with severe disabilities. I became a local advocate for other families and just finished my first book. Never could or would I have predicted this life and I’m so grateful for the way my path turned out.

    1. aw thank you so much Vickie, I really appreciate your kind words and you sharing your story! Yes! our lives are always an adventure! Hugs and love xox

  10. In a country way, on your theme, I detest lawns. I see acres upon acres of laws (sometimes in front of one home) that someone spends hours (and gallons of fuel) mowing each week. What a commitment of time and energy. I rather prefers gardens and meadows with pathways… none of which are straight.

    For a musical variation on this theme, look up “Follow Your Road” by Seawind (or Pauline Wilson), which was a funk/jazz band in the 1970’s. I think you will enjoy it.

    -Oscar

  11. God leads us in all circumstances and never leaves us. No matter if we make a wrong turn, swerve to the right or the left of our path, God steers us back on track because He loves us and we have been wonderfully made for His purpose and for His glory. Thank you for sharing. Blessings my sister in Christ.

  12. I, too, have been that girl down on her knees, reading all those books, searching for her great destiny, afraid to commit for fear that I was stepping outside of God’s will. I’ve come to realize, though, that we are living our purpose when we spread the love of God to those around us. Our ultimate calling is in Jesus’ directive before His ascension and as long as we’re living in that then we are living out our purpose.

  13. There was so much truth there. I think a lot of us had big expectations that the plan we had for our lives was going to be THE DECISION that we stuck with forever. As a junior in high school, I was not sure what I wanted to do–maybe a veterinarian. Then, I won a writing award and journalism scholarship, so I went to college thinking I would be a sportswriter. Then, a pastor (I actually did that one for a while). Then….
    Perhaps we need to encourage young people to think “one day at a time” and realize that God may have a perfect plan for our lives, but it may involve Him leading us in new directions along the way. We just need to know what He wants us to do NOW, which may have little to do with 10 years from how. Even if we go through illness or suffer from our bad choices, God is wise enough to even turn that into a new and maybe even better purpose for our lives than we could ever imagine.

    1. Hi MIchael, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. you’re so right, God will use everything for good! Hugs and love xox

  14. God is going to lead us exactly where He wants us. The path may be unexpected, unconventional and uncomfortable, but we can place our absolute trust in the fact that God wants only good for us. And His plan for us is perfectly timed, and will lead us to a life of abundance.

    I needed these words and it came in at the right time. Thank you Ma’am.

    I’m encouraged.

    1. You’re so right about that! and what an encouragement that is, indeed! Amen – He is trustworthy, He is good, and His plan will lead us to a life of abundance! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

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