But, it was her words written on the last few pages of the book that sent chills throughout my body and brought tears to my eyes. She writes that we ask children when they’re young what they want to be when they get older, “As if one answer, one dream, one career path can define you through your whole life. The truth is, job titles are temporary. But purpose is infinite.”
Purpose was my word for 2021. I usually seek a word for the year. A word that will be a guiding post for me as I navigate the ups and downs awaiting me. I know usually the word will test and challenge me. Sometimes, the word even makes laugh because of how opposite it feels to the reality I’m living day to day. I posted the word on my mirror, along with some scriptures and I thought God would let me walk it out slowly. Jokes on me, right?
In the first couple weeks of January, I knew it was time for me to leave my job after five years. It was my first big girl job fresh out of grad school. I was able to write some amazing stories. I got to make some unforgettable friendships. But, I knew that it was time for me to move on. Still, it was so hard, so gut-wrenchingly hard to say goodbye to a place that shaped me as a writer and formed the majority of my twenties. But my word was purpose. I believe God was showing me that my purpose had been fulfilled at that job. It was time for me to do more.
I realize now that we have to take the step. Our friends can’t do it. Our family can’t do it. God won’t do it for us. But, once you take the step you can’t imagine what’s waiting on the other side: beauty, wonder, laughter, new people, new experiences and growth like never before. As soon as I left, within a few weeks, I got connected with some freelance writing opportunities. I had always aspired to freelance, but I didn’t know if I would be able to take it on full-time. It’s funny, because I found a journal entry I wrote back in 2018, where I said this- “I know my ultimate goal is to be completely self-sufficient-not tied to a company at all but working on my own— writing my own books/poetry and freelancing for the places that I want to write for. And I believe God will get me to that place, but I have to embrace the season that I’m in now.” I even wrote in another journal entry from that same year that I hoped to teach at the college level one day.
And you know what? God did get me to that place. In 2021, he allowed me to freelance full-time, work on my book, and even teach a college course for grad students in Syracuse. I didn’t know how everything would come together. Going from a cushy full-time job to being self-employed is a scary leap. But, 2021 reminded me of the verse in Psalms, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” I seriously lacked nothing. And God, actually gave me way more than I ever could ask, dream or imagine. So, I just want to encourage those who are waiting on God. He hears your prayers. Even the ones you write down in a half-baked journal entry or mutter under your breath quietly at night. Even the ones you forget you said. The Holy Spirit actually helps us when we don't know what to pray.The Bible says in Romans 8, that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
He hears you. But, I'm glad I realized back in 2018 I needed to embrace the season I was in then, so God could get me to the place he wanted me to be now.
As I head into 2022, my word for the year is joy. And I’m already rolling my eyes because the last few weeks have proved hard and difficult. But, I know that means I chose the right word to press into. I’ve realized joy is not a circumstance. It’s not a destination. It’s not an event. It’s a daily process of choosing gratitude over thanklessness, of hope over despair, of love over hate. I will continue to press into that joy daily, through prayer, my bad reality TV shows (Married At First Sight just started!), time with friends (like my pie date above), my cat Shadow and hanging with my family. There is SO much more ahead for us in 2022. Drop below how I can be praying for you or how you’re finding joy this month.
And I’ll leave you with these wise words from Elaine Welteroth, “When you find yourself existing in the space between dreams realized, parts of you will feel too big for where you are, while other parts of you will feel too small for where you’re going. Go anyway. Do not wait. Do not wonder if you can. Do not ask for permission.”