One of my favorite motivational speakers, Tony Gaskins, says that his pain is what pushed him into his purpose. Once a college football player, he was released from his team after he started going down the wrong path. From there, he continued to get caught up in negative habits and eventually faced the harsh realization that he wasn’t the man, husband, or father he needed to be. That was his past. Today, he is living in his purpose as a motivational speaker, life coach, author, and businessman. As I reflect on his wise words, it strikes a chord within me. I aim to become a better person, yet when I’m faced with pain, I still feel tempted to react in ways that do not reflect the Better Me I’m working on. Can you relate?
Recently, I moved out of the dorm room I shared with my ex-roommate because I had finally got sick of putting up with her inconsiderateness and the roach infestation that eventually aroused from her poor living habits. I could have moved out months ago, but I didn’t push the issue hard enough because I thought it would get better. When I finally began to get serious about these issues in our room, she responded with so much distaste and disrespect that the only way I knew how to handle the situation was to take it back to the streets, and I cussed her a** out, giving her hell with every word, calling out her trifling behavior. However, I didn’t feel great about it in the end because cussing people out was what I was trying not to do. After months of not being able to truly focus on my schoolwork since I had to deal with such issues like not getting enough sleep when my roommate won’t turn the lights off at 2 a.m., having to move out during final exam week was equally stressful. The issue was taking away from my focus, and I realized I should have just politely moved out when I sensed there were going to be problems.
You know when you’ve had enough, when you’re sick of the frustration, and you know there has got to be a better way because “this here ain’t gon’ work”. You are trying to search for something better, you want to be a better person, but the past is still the burden on your back, you’re still carrying luggage like Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady”. Truth is, it’s the burdens that stop us from being our best, and as long as we stay held down, we will not elevate in life. No wonder bitter, angry people seem to never find peace, success, and happiness! Those burdens are keeping them from elevating.
You’re trying to be at peace, aware, and on the path to success but let someone come at you incorrectly and then you’re going for the jugular. Let someone cross the line and they are sure to get cussed out and dealt with. College didn’t work out for you the way you thought it would or maybe that business you started last year didn’t take off and now you’re not so confident that you can achieve anything at all. It causes you so much pain because you know it’s ugly and doesn’t match up with God’s best. In this life though, pain is inevitable. It is how we deal with it that is most important. Pain can either push us into darkness and despair or into our purpose and peace. Let me explain what this means.
On our spiritual journey, we’ll go through several stages. In the beginning, usually starting in childhood, we learn to mirror what we see, reacting to pain with the venom it bites us with. If someone hits us, we hit them back. When we get pissed off, we go off. We get some satisfaction from that, we feel relieved, the problem is solved! Keep doing that for a while though, and it starts getting old. Getting drunk at the club because everyone else is and that’s the only way you’ll enjoy yourself is not so fun anymore. We’re getting tired of entertaining people who bring drama into our life. Continuing to mirror what is in front of us is no longer satisfying. We do not feel relieved – instead, we’re fed up and sick of it. At this point, you will either keep mirroring, pushing yourself into darkness and despair, or walk away from that mirror and start pushing yourself into your purpose. We will not truly walk into our purpose and our best life while carrying burdens and bad habits. We may feel great and on top of the world here and there, but it’s only temporary. It’s only on the surface and does not reach deep down inside because we know we’re not living up to higher standards.
The real deal comes when you drop the burdens, when you can finally look pain in the eyes and not fall to its level. You won’t feel compelled to tear someone down when they do you wrong, fall victim to sexual temptation with someone who is using you instead of loving you, or not go after your dreams because the last time you tried to be that bold, you failed. Drop the burdens and bad habits. We will not come into our purpose and experience the best God has for us with burdens tripping us up and dragging us down with the past. It’s time to acknowledge our purpose. When we do, we will be so focused on it that those burdens and petty problems will no longer matter. We won’t give it any attention because we’ve elevated so high that those burdens are no longer in front of us, blocking our vision. They’re beneath us. We have to begin to fully focus on our purpose, one hundred percent, to reap the results we want. More success requires more focus. Here are three tips to stay on the Path of Purpose:
Be aware of your inner words and thoughts.
Often, we can’t stick on the path to our purpose because our mind is still stuck in the negative. As a result, we manifest and create negativity in our lives. Think on the bright side, be grateful, and constantly think about positive things. Your actions will soon follow.
Stop ignoring your gut.
Sometimes, first impressions of someone or something will give us immediate red flags. It’s true that we should read a book before we judge it, but books also come with descriptions on the back cover that tell us what it’s about. When you read that description of someone or something and it doesn’t interest you, leave it alone. Put it back and walk away.
Instead of trying to be perfect, commit to being a work in progress.
Don’t get down on yourself because you failed, made a mistake, or something you wanted didn’t work out. It is not the end. Get up and KEEP GOING!
Your purpose is waiting for you. Don’t let it wait a day longer.