When I was little, I remember in Elementary school we were often asked to write a paper on the topic “When I grow up….” The pressure of jotting down my role in life always filled me with anxiety. I was just a child, I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Other kids seemed to pick up their pencil and with what seemed great certainty, they’d start writing away about their future. The idea to commit on paper and declaring I wanted to be a police officer just didn’t quite settle with me. I often struggled with this. Handed in a late paper and probably a half hearted idea of my future. What no one ever told me as a kid was that my future job or career in life would not define me!
Here’s what I mean. Maybe you’re a brain surgeon. Your job not only requires the intelligence and let’s face it, the courage, to open up someone’s head but also very skilled hands to carefully maneuver the surgery.
Maybe it’s not brain surgery but what if you’re an Olympian? How about a 6 time gold medalist swimmer?
Amy Van Dyken was that swimmer. Not just gold medals but silver and bronze finishes to go with. Her life revolved around training to be the best swimmer that she could be. The world looked to her to finish with a win. All attention and eyes were laser focused on her performance based efforts.
Life dramatically changed for Amy on June 6, 2014. An ATV accident would leave Amy with a severed spinal cord at her T11 vertebrae leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
Here’s the deal, for many people that would feel like a death sentence perhaps even lead to suicide. For Amy, through time, has said she is a better person now for it.
God has given us many different talents. Maybe you get a little lost because like me, you enjoy doing lots of different things and it can lead to indecision in a direction. The good news is those talents are like vehicles! A vehicle’s job is to get you from one destination to the next, right? That’s like your talent. You’re not just a brain surgeon or a swimmer. You are more than that! You have something unique to offer the world that only you can give and it’s not just your talent.
I currently coach CrossFit but I am also a licensed hairdresser and mother of four. I want to be the best coach,stylist or mother that I can be. Whenever I feel insecure and recognize how I can grow or be better in one of those I remember what my purpose is first. I get the opportunity to love on people. Encourage them. Pray over them right there if I sense there is a struggle going on beneath the surface. While mastering my skill. my identity is not a coach or a hairdresser. I am called and made for a purpose by God to reflect and direct people to Jesus. So when I get stopped in my tracks with a flash of insecurity, I remember my purpose and suddenly I forget all about my weakness and peace washes over me.
Today Amy Van Dyken is encouraging and motivating people beyond what swimming and medals ever did for her. Though a tragic event, she remembered that swimming was merely a vehicle in life. Once that vehicle gained too many miles and broke down it was time for an upgrade! Had she not remembered her purpose in life her identity would have been lost too.
I pray each of you align your purpose with your passion and know your talents are many and varied and not defined by one thing. God created you for more!
By April Gideon