Hey Google, what’s my purpose?
Since I retired from the Army in 2014, I feel like I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to find where I belong. When I was serving on active duty, I felt like I knew my why. I had a plan for life. I enjoyed getting up and going to work because I knew that each day that I put in the work, I was one step closer to my ultimate goal of being a warrant officer in my field. I was actually in the process of applying for an assignment that would give me a leg up on my competition, when life hit me like a brick wall!
I was thrown so far off of what I thought my purpose was that in the past five years, I have spent countless hours trying to simply recalibrate my life. I was given only one option and it wasn’t really an option, it was a mandate. I was getting retired. I was broken and could not be fixed. These were the words spoken to me by my doctor as I set in his office trying to convince him to reverse his recommendation. He told me, “Sgt. Lyons, your unit is not looking out for you. Constantly breaking your profile and trying to be a 100% soldier is going to have you crippled and bound to a wheelchair by the age of thirty and by the time that you get to that point, the Army is going to force you out. But I want to give you a chance to have a better quality of life”. His statement shook me to my core. Being wheelchair bound was not part of my plan, so I sucked it up and went through the process.
Fast forward five years, and my life has changed tremendously. I have two amazing kids, I have a full-time job, and I am almost at the end of my degree. A lot of people would say it seems like you have found your purpose, but I disagree. Yes, I am a mom, but that is not all that I am meant to be. I give my kids 100% of me and I am raising them to be healthy members of society, but if I attach my entire identity to being a mom, I am not fulfilling my own personal purpose. I am not saying that having children doesn’t give me drive or fulfill my life, but I am saying that they give me the drive to be the best me that I can be and that pushes me to want to do more.
I am very grateful for my job, and not to sound cocky, I am really good at my job. It gives me a reason to leave my house every day and when given the opportunity, I can accomplish quite a bit. The kicker is, I am helping achieve someone else’s purpose. I enjoy what I am doing, but I am not driven or challenged in the way that I was in the Army. I don’t feel like there are many things that I can strive to be in this job other than being the best I can be in my current position. It’s like there is an invisible glass ceiling and I can’t go any further than where I currently am. So what do I do?
The past few months I have thought about this more than a few times. I have made lists and even lists about those lists. Clearly, I just enjoy making lists. But, I have not figured out where I need to be or even what I am supposed to be doing. I have not had my “aha” moment where an idea just lights a fire in my soul. Wouldn’t it be nice if we just had an internal google assistant that could search our entire life and tell us our purpose? It would be great if the day we decide we want to start fulfilling our purpose, we could simply say, “hey Google, what’s my purpose?” and the little voice responded, “Tameka (or your name), your purpose is ______”. Since I don’t have that option right now, and I don’t believe it will come to fruition in the foreseeable future, I am going to take the time that I have now and invest in myself and the things that I am passionate about. Devoting more time working on the things that bring me joy will give me a chance to see if one of my passions doubles as my purpose. I can’t say that something that I currently do on the side won’t turn out to be the thing that gives me back my drive, but I also can’t say that it will. I am opening myself up to new opportunities and new ideas. I know what it feels like to have drive and a passion to get up every morning and work towards a goal, I just have to be more intentional about it now. I lost that drive for a long time because I wanted to be in the Army, but now I get a chance to find and do something even greater and I won’t simply let it pass me by because plan A didn’t work out for my life. That ended up being my plan and not God’s plan. When it is my time to go out and conquer the world, I know that I will be given that drive and passion and nothing will stop me. For now I will keep working on me and giving myself the opportunity to find fulfillment in what God has given me right now.