Often times when I get done speaking to a large group, I have people who come up to me and ask questions or make comments. Sometimes I have people give me notes they have written because either time didn’t allow for them to wait for me or they had something to say that was too personal to speak about in front of strangers. I found one of those notes in my desk the other day. It said; “How do I get to do what you do? How do I get involved at a national level for Celebrate Recovery?”
The short answer for that is I have no idea how to make that happen. I have no real idea how I came to be doing what I am doing. Outside of God wanting me in this place for this time, seriously, I have no idea. If you were to look at my resume you would have no idea either. On paper I don’t make sense.
I could relate to the question this person was asking though. I remember sitting in my very first Celebrate Recovery Summit thinking, “I want to do that! I want to be on that stage teaching about recovery! God, someday, let me do that.” I wasn’t ready at the time. I had a lot of growing to do in both my personal and spiritual walk. It would take several years of pruning before speaking at Summit became a reality for me. One of the things I needed to learn: What exactly I was really wanting.
Before I go any further, please keep in mind that I am not in any way trying to imply that this person who gave me the note had the same motives I did. I’m just sharing what their question made me think of.
When I wanted to be on stage at first there was a huge part of me that genuinely wanted people to hear about recovery. I was less than a year into CR and it still had that “new car smell” so to speak. But there was more to it than that. I wanted people to hear about recovery from ME. I wanted to do God’s work, but I wanted to do God’s work for my glory, not His. I wanted to be on stage so everyone could look at me and say, “Look at all the good stuff he is doing. Isn’t he great?”
I finally started to figure that out when I came to a realization about passion. I want to be a person who is driven and has a vision for the future. But there is a real difference between being driven to accomplish something and being passionate about something. I see it this way. Being driven leans more to the feeling I get when I accomplish the goal. How it makes me feel to be the one who succeeds. Being passionate means wanting something to be accomplished so much that you will fight for the opportunity to have someone else do it, just so it gets done.
Today I feel I have honestly gotten to the point that I just want to see the message get out. If that means someone else gets the pat on the back then so be it. Now don’t get me wrong I love that I get to do what I do!!! Seriously LOVE it! I have never felt more like my life has meaning and purpose than I do at this stage in my life. And I will do this for as long as God allows. It is my desire to keep going, in some form of what I am doing, for the rest of my life. But that being said, if I step off a curb tomorrow and get hit by a bus I don’t want to be remembered for what I did, I want to know that the work to help break the stigma that surrounds mental health will continue until that job is complete so that no person has to feel the need to hide that part of themselves from the world.
The biggest challenges for me in living a life with passion and purpose was not the lack of opportunities that were in front of me or obstacles that other people were putting in my way. The biggest thing that was holding me back, was me. I was concerned with what I could or should do. What I should have been concerned with was what God wanted me to do? Why did He put me here? What were the passions He placed in my heart instead of the desires that were stuck in my head? It was when I started to ask these questions that God started to show me the answers.
Albert Einstein put it wonderfully when he said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
What were you created to do? Who were you created to be? Is it possible that you have been living as a fish that is trying to climb a tree?
Every single person has been put on this planet with a very specific way to live and serve. No one is here by accident!
If you are struggling today ask God to put you back in the water. Ask Him to show you how to swim. Even if the water seems scary that is okay. Your circumstances mean nothing if we hold onto God’s desires, God’s design. Just do what you were made to do. If you are a fish then swim. If you are a bird then soar. If you are a cheetah then run.
I’m not going to tell you that if you find your purpose in life then you will never have any trouble ever again, or that things will even change over night, but I can tell you that the trouble will be worth it and so will the wait. God will do a great work in you.
National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery