Introspection and self-analysis are an important part of the healing process and maneuvering through the many obstacles in life. Seven years ago tomorrow, I fractured my neck in three places after a shallow diving accident. As the opening day of dove season rings in each year, I always take a few moments to reflect on that time period in my life. Every year I build a bigger bond with those birds and find it more enjoyable to watch them in lieu of shooting them. I think of the realization of taking a lifelong mating partner of another for sport.
For some reason, the injury was preceded by the best opening day I have ever been a part of with a mixture of good hunting, good friends, and good fellowship. The time period afterward was not to be expected, but most definitely changed my life. No opening day has been the same since.
I still struggle with finding my real purpose all these years later. I am forever thankful that my neck is fully healed as I still continue my emotional and psychological restoration process. To date, I have still fallen short and broken many promises, but I continue to find my way. For anyone that has had a serious injury or experienced personal tragedy, you ask yourself many questions such as;
“Why me Lord and not someone else?”
“What did I do to deserve this?”
“Will I make it out of this and function normally?”
“Will I be able to move forward doing everything I did before?”
“Why did I prioritize things in the order that I did?”
As I review the CD with all the x-rays and the radiology release notes, I can’t help but reminisce on the promises I made laying in that hospital bed. I vowed to change some priorities and find my purpose. I surely can’t say that I have found the answer and I have fallen short on many of the promises I made. The diagnosis list in a condensed form is below.
- STIR images demonstrate extensive abnormal hyperintense signal intensity posterior to the cervical spine from C2 through C7 with overwhelming edema.
- C4-C5: Effacement of the anterior aspect of the thecal sac.
- C5-C6: Bilateral laminal fractures of C5 and C6 and a right facet fracture with bulging disks and posterolateral eccentricity and annular fissure formation with soft tissue injury/edema.
- C6-C7: Posterior midline protrusion which effaces the anterior aspect of the thecal sac and approximates the ventral aspect of the cord. Multilevel degenerative changes on C4-C7.
As with most who survive tragic situations, I still often wonder why God saved me. We all have those moments in life where we question our purpose and evaluate whether we are fulfilling that or not. Most of us get dressed each day and go to our jobs because it is what we have to do in order to provide for our families. You go through the daily monotony of doing what you need to do to get by, but is that enough? Are you doing something you are passionate about that helps to fulfill your destiny or is that what you do part-time? I still ask myself these questions.
Are you really making a difference?
Are you just simply going through the motions?
What impact are you making in the lives of others?
What do you hope to be remembered most for?
Are you truly fulfilling your purpose?
I am not writing this for sympathy, but I am certain that this is to serve as a self-reminder with the hope that it also benefits someone else. Don’t wait for a tragic situation to happen to start doing things you need to be doing now. Don’t hope for the last moment to beg for forgiveness through repentance when you have an entire lifetime to make it right. With every new challenge comes a new opportunity. Perspectives are all about choice and with choice comes opportunity.
Considering life is all about choices, why do we choose to be comfortable in “the now?” Have you aligned your true passion with your purpose for your life? I give you some of my favorite advice from T.D. Jakes to help you relentlessly pursue your purpose.
1. “Don’t stop at where you are as if it were the destination, when in fact, in reality, it may be the transportation that brings you into that thing you were created to do.”
Our current circumstances should never limit us from reaching our true potential. We must turn our struggles into the vehicles that spur our transformation.
2. “Everything you’ve gone through is preparation for what’s about to happen in your life. The LORD has already given you a word, MOVE!”
When we “move,” we bring about the growth we desire. Tragedy hasn’t stopped you, heartbreak didn’t defeat you, failure does not define you; use this hard-earned wisdom to grasp your purpose and shape your future.
3. “We need to be whom we were called to be instead of contorting ourselves into what other people want us to be!”
The surest way to lose yourself is to focus on other people’s voice instead of your own. Jakes calls on us to walk into our destiny and embrace our true purpose in life. Stop conforming!
4. “It is time for us to find the thing we were created to do, the people we were meant to affect, and the power that comes from alignment with purpose.”
This powerful quote from his book, “Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive,” speaks to the clarity to be gained from the search for our truth. If you are in a job that drains you, it’s time to galvanize your forces and take the necessary steps to move on. The road will be taxing, but the promise of fulfilling your true purpose will fortify your conviction.
5. “Here is the problem with how many people approach the question of purpose: Many are looking outside of themselves for their purpose, destiny, or meaning in life. The very key to knowing your purpose is discovering and celebrating your personal identity.”
Purpose resides in us; we must be directors in the script of our lives. In his work “Identity: Discover Who You Are and Live A Life Of Purpose,” T.D. Jakes reminds us that as you get to know more about yourself –– your likes, dislikes, values, and triggers –– you will have a greater sense of whether or not the life you lead suits you. Life’s noise can be deafening; when is the last time you sat in complete silence and listened for the messages from your heart?
6. “God is about to plant you in a big thing. Your eyes have not seen, your ears have not heard, neither has entered into your heart what God has in store for you!”
From his electric sermon, “The Starving Prince,” from The Potter’s House Sunday service, Jakes challenges us to believe in our purpose. The “big thing” we were meant to do is coming! As you search for your true purpose in life, do not waver in your faith to overcome your current adversity.
7. “If we are called to be the salt of the earth, we have to get out of the salt shaker. Get out of your comfort zone, enlarge your territory.”
We are called to embrace change. Turn your tumultuous relationship around, heal the wounds that hold you back, dare to take a step towards your dream career. Your actions will loosen the ties that bind and will move you closer to where you are supposed to be.
8. “Your Passion is your conviction about it, your Purpose is why you do it, your Destiny is where.”
Passion and purpose are joined at the hip and move together, lock-step, towards destiny. Where there is passion, connect it to your purpose. Then set your goals higher than you think humanly possible. You will find your reward.
9. “At any age, you can still ignite your passion through finding your purpose!”
Consider an athlete or a famous musician. They thrive in the skill that defines them, and the energy flow is seamless. We can all tap into our own inner excellence and radiate this same energy. Were you meant to counsel others? Do you have a way with numbers? As Jakes discusses, find your genuine purpose and never settle for false comfort. Ignite your passion and your purpose will reveal itself!
10. “When you know your purpose, you know what isn’t your purpose so you can stop being distracted trying to do something that is not in the wheelhouse of what you were designed to do!”
You need to find the wheelhouse of what you were called to do. Jakes calls on us to shed our toxic distractions and share our divine spark on a daily basis. He reminds us that as long as we have breath in our bodies, we have the ability to flourish.