- Introduction (00:01:02)
- What Makes You Go Forward? (00:02:49)
- Purpose (00:05:07)
- Wrap Up (00:13:10)
- References and Footnotes
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 CSB
Hey guys welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast. So at the beginning of the episode, I read Jeremiah 29:11; and y’all I never thought that was where one of these episodes was going to go, because it's such a popular verse. I mean it's hanging on the cube at my job. I've heard people say it all the time people, quote it to people to help them get through certain situations, and it's fairly self-explanatory. Like what is there to talk about? God has a purpose for you. But I realized, just today actually, I was on my way to lunch and I had one of those moments that I used to have when I was a lot younger. And basically you know, I was walking and I just kind of stopped walking, and I'm just like standing in the parking lot. And I just felt like standing there for a while like I didn't really have this great motivation to go forward or to go backwards. It's like a weird contentment in the moment. It's like “Oh, the sun's out. The the sky looks nice. I just want to stand here and just be here.” It's like a really weird feeling that I used to get all the time when I was a kid, when I would be running around outside—generally when I’d be going back and forth in my neighborhood. I would just stop and just stand there. I don't... I don't really know. Y'all, I’m weird, OK? I'm admitting that.
What Makes You Go Forward? (00:02:49)
When I thought about it, of course, it took me back to when I was a kid. It also reminded me of something else, and that is, the things that make us go forward in life, the reasons that I would get up and go to school, because y’all, like most people I really did not like my school—my middle school and high school in particular, but a lot of the reasons that I got up and went to school or that I was excited to go to school had to do with the fact that I was looking forward to something. Sometimes I was looking forward to band, most of the time I was looking forward to band. But sometimes I was looking forward to a dance, or maybe I had a crush on somebody and I was looking forward to seeing that person. Or maybe I couldn't wait to hear how something went that one of my friends was going through, or I just want to go hang out with a friend, or something like that. And then of course, you know, like I said at the beginning of the show, I love food, so sometimes I was looking forward to what they were serving in the cafeteria—that was also a thing but nonetheless there was something that was pulling me forward. That was a future hope, I guess. It was “Oh I can't wait for this to happen.”
And one of the things that I realized as I got older, is that there are less milestones, so to speak. You know, when you're really little you can't wait to be a teenager, you can't wait to get your license, you can't wait to be old enough to vote, to move out the house, to go to prom, to go to college, to vote—what? I already said vote. I don't know, just there's like a lot of firsts, right? You can't wait to get married. There's like a lot of things that you can't wait to do, but as you get older a lot of these things are done. You’ve already moved out; now you don't want to age. Like you don't want to get any older. You know, you done found the one. You’ve gotten married; you've had your kids. All you’re looking forward to is retiring, and then there's a point where you’re retired and you're just like “ain’t nothing left to happen except for to die,” which is depressing…
And so I was thinking about this. And I was thinking about The Purpose Driven Life. My friends and I read The Purpose Driven Life a couple of months ago and I was thinking about how purpose and this kind of hope that propelled me when I was a kid are intertwined.
The Bible clearly tells us that God has a purpose for us—that's the whole point of Jeremiah 29, and we already know this. That's self-explanatory, and we hear this verse and it reminds us, and we feel great, but a lot of times we don't know what that purpose is—and it's a lot bigger than being excited about one event or two events, you know. It's a lot deeper than that and so I wanted to talk about finding our purpose.
When I went through The Purpose Driven Life series or the book with my friends, we did a book club. We talked about a lot of things, and you know, you can talk through it but I mean you can pray about it, but a lot of times we still get to the end and we're still like, “I don't really know what God wants me to do.” And sometimes that's—OK, all the time that's frustrating because you're kind of just trying things out. Like “Let me try this over here. Nope, that's not working.” Then you go try this over here. Nope that's not working, and so there's just a lot. A lot that goes into finding contentment. And being excited about life comes from having this purpose, and fulfilling that purpose. So it's really important for us to find the purpose.
When Derrell was on the show—I think this is... OK, y’all I'm sorry because as I told you the last episode it's a two-part episode. I can't really remember if this is already aired or not, but spoiler alert if it hasn't aired, he talks about how his pastor told him that if something bothered him that was his calling. I realize that there are things that we get really, really passionate about and then there are things we don't care about at all. And it's the things that make us really passionate that are tied to our purpose. How our purpose works into that again, yeah I'm going to I'm going to say the age-old you got to pray about it. But it's interesting because it's almost the exact opposite of what I was taught growing up.
My dad used to always tell me to play to my strengths. So when I got ready to go to college and I was looking for a major, the easy choice was that I would go into STEM because math was easy for me. It's true, I cake walked through my undergrad program. It didn't phase me. There was no stress. It was just like “Oh, yeah numbers.” But the reason math is easy, is because it's numbers like what's there to argue about? It's just concrete. The reason I had so much trouble in my other classes—in my history classes, in my English classes—is because it's extremely subjective, and I was extremely passionate about my view of whatever was happening. Whatever twist on history the teachers were giving, I was extremely passionate about getting it right. I was extremely passionate about my writing. Y’all, I feel away when people critique my writing. Even to this day, like you can tell me that I messed up the math problem and I'm like “Oh yeah, I messed that up. My bad.” If you tell me you don't like my one of my poems or something I’ve written, I feel that deep into my soul. Like it's a different kind of hurt and offense that goes on there. And that's because that is a passion.
And what I realized is that even if things come easy to you and you're able to do it, that might not be your purpose, because what what is going to keep you motivated is something that you're passionate about—something that grinds your gears. You might get mad—red hot, screaming, flipping tables mad about it, but that's because you care about it.
I read a book a couple of months ago (again) called Just Mercy—highly recommend it to everybody it's called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It’s a wonderful book; be ready to cry—but in the book, it's a true story about Bryan Stevenson, the author, and about how he started out as a young attorney taking trials or taking cases of people who were wrongfully condemned, or who have been condemned beyond reason. Like the punishment was too excessive for the crime. And so he was taking on these cases, particularly for poor people and for minorities who have been victimized by the system. And the amount of time and effort and hours that he was putting in for these cases because his heart was in it, because he loved it. It's just... Knowing that kind of passion is clearly what was making him get up everyday. Like he cared about what happened. He cared about the outcome. That is what we all have to find in our path. What is it that we cannot sleep at night over? Like how we get this resolved?
And as much as I am good at what I do, y’all I am not losing sleep over my job, not at the moment. But I do... I have had those moments with computers. I have had those moments where I stay up all night because I just want to have the problem done, but really the things that make me stay up at night are usually the things that I write about on my blog. They're usually the things that I end up putting into a story, putting into a poem, talking. Y’all I talk to myself I feel bad my future husband I talk in my sleep sometimes. Sometimes I have whole rants; I should just record myself when I go to sleep, that might be interesting... Tangent. Sorry guys. I'm back. I'm back.
What I'm trying to say is, find what you're passionate about! Don’t let the fact that it's tiring push you away from it. I think that we all have a purpose and that purpose is not easy. It's something that will make you stay up at night. It's something is going to make you mad it's something that's going to make you say that you feel like you can't do it, you can't do it alone, you need help, because God created you to rely on Him to help you to accomplish whatever it is that He has for you to accomplish. So do not back away. Do not back down from the things that are hard that you feel passionate about. And that is something that I have to remind myself everyday.
Wrap Up (00:13:10)
So find your purpose; I'm still looking for mine. I'll let y'all know when I find it. Could just be me talking, but I don't think that's what it is. So find your purpose. Thank you for tuning in; subscribe, like, find me on Instagram. Y’all I never really say my name on this, I just realized that. This is Shiree, shiree.hughes on Instagram. Find me. See you guys next time. Bye 👋🏽
References and Footnotes
- Thursdays were fried chicken day (back when I still ate chicken this was exciting)!
- Rick Warren. The Purpose Driven Life. 1997
- Well, that’s the point of Jeremiah 29:11, there’s a lot more to the chapter as a whole.
- Easy for me, is what I mean here
- Bryan Stevenson. Just Mercy. 2015
- I promise it made sense when I thought it
- I was really passionate about my dissertation. It was about using sensors to monitor food waste and help us waste less food