By age 19 I had lived my life’s dream.  I wanted to spend 5 months learning and serving on a hospital ship, the Caribbean Mercy. So I got a couple of jobs, saved every penny, sent off my application and booked my flight.

For someone who thrives on living with purpose, and whose Enneagram Type 1 personality is fueled by having a meaningful cause, this led to some deep valleys.

I mean, what do you do after you live your life’s dream at age 19?

I thought, Why not stay a few more years, living up some cross-cultural adventures?

Instead, I sensed God say that I was meant to be at home in Canada helping my generation there.

Feeling lost and disillusioned, I returned home.

Lie #1 – Someone else is my purpose

In my insecurity, I poured all my sense of purpose and value into work and the first person that came along.

That led to burnout, loss of identity, and a codependent relationship. My recovery from that mistake took a couple of years. I left my British Columbian home in search of new adventures.

Another couple of years later, I ended up in Ontario, got married, and landed my dream job.

Lie #2 – My value comes from what I do

I started to believe the lie that my purpose and value was in what I did. 

If all I did was work my tail off in administrative grunt work, did that mean my identity was in the organization? As the girl at the bottom of the totem pole and the pay grid, did that mean I wasn’t worth much?

I thought so — until I couldn’t handle my own restlessness and began the hunt for a new sense of purpose.

This time I didn’t look for a new job, distraction or relationship. I answered 3 key questions, then used them to change my perspective and focus:

  • Who am I at my best? 
  • What do I want to be proud of at the end of my life? 
  • How can being me at my best serve others right here and now?

The answers have looked different for me in every season. Yet each time the questions and my answers reignite my sense of purpose and propel me forward once again.

Find Your Compass

How about you?

Do you have a go-to compass that makes you feel fulfilled and purposeful?  A dream, a question, a habit, a perspective? A happy place?

You can read more of this story in Dare to Decide: Discovering Peace, Clarity and Courage at Life’s Crossroads.

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