When Passion Meets Purpose

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

When Passion Meets Purpose, Part II

The last few days, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the word, prepare.

I suppose it is due to the fact that I’m starting off the new year with a countdown to January 19th, the day I undergo surgery to relieve the symptoms of this “Achalasia-thing” (smile) that I have.

A surgery I hoped I could avoid.

But, after a great deal of prayer, doctor visits, and affirming tests and diagnosis of Type II Achalasia, there seems to be one option.

Described as “a rare, incurable esophageal motility disease with only palliative treatment,”–Achalasia has left my head spinning, my hands tied, and my earnest desire to find a holistic way out of this disease extremely frustrated. I want control. I want answers. I want certainty.

I don’t want surgery.

When Passion Meets Purpose

Preparing for the Challenge(s)

But sometimes, we don’t get what we want, do we?

Sometimes we get exactly what we need.

And sometimes, if I can be bold enough to say it, we just get…

We live in a fallen world with bodies privy to disease and decay.

As my doctor so bluntly said, “It seems you were chosen. You will be an expert about Achalasia through this process.” {sigh}

At first his words fell hard, but as I’ve pressed through this journey, I’ve begun to see the wisdom hidden within them.

Yes, I am becoming an expert about this disease, but I’m actually becoming an expert in resilience, fortitude and intention.

Nothing could have prepared me for this diagnosis, but I do believe my life up to this point has prepared me for the challenge.

Hear Me Out

Prepare (v), 1. to put in proper condition or readiness; 2. to get ready. Derived from L., praeparare, to make ready beforhand, akin to parent.

Years ago, I was teaching on the life of Corrie ten Boom and was asked a perplexing, though-provoking question.

Janell, how on earth do you prepare a child for something like Corrie ten Boom endured?

I had one thought.

Corrie’s legacy. Corrie came from a lineage immersed in praying God’s Word. Every morning at 8:15 am, Corrie and her family sat down to breakfast and the sound of father, Casper ten Boom’s, voice reading the scriptures. This consistent practice, among other spiritual disciplines, prepared Corrie and her entire family to face the horrors of the Holocaust.

Simple Practices are the Perfect Preparation

When Passion Meets Purpose

In her classic book, The Hiding Place, Corrie writes, “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

In these two sentences, I found three powerful keys for unlocking both our passion and our purpose:

  1. Let your past inform your present, not define it. I clearly remember at the age of 10 recognizing the dysfunction of my alcoholic father and family, and wanted to do something about it. Here I am, forty some years later, helping other families find their way to health and wholeness.
  2. Let your experiences–the good, the bad, and the ugly– inform and unveil your passions (which includes your gifts, talents, desires, strengths, weaknesses…and those golden threads that seem to weave themselves through each and every season. For me: teaching, listening, helping through offering advice/counsel, writing).
  3. Let the people “put in your life” inform your purpose. My father was an alcoholic. My mother a strong Catholic woman who took me to church week after week. It was there, in the sanctuary of God, I found sanctuary. Think long and hard about Corrie’s words, “Every person he puts in our lives is the perfect preparation….”
  4. Let El Roi, the God Who Sees (Genesis [16:13]), lead and inform you on a daily, often hour-by-hour, basis. God sees what we can’t see. Our vision is often blurred or clouded by the fog of difficulty or confusion. I’m sensing that God sees I needed to make significant life changes in order to be fully engaged in His work. Fighting the theology of whether or not God allowed my Achalasia or not doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that I submit to the deeper knowledge that God sees. Now, I have to trust.

Stay tuned

Before heading off for surgery, I am excited to announce I have revisited and expanded new teaching and tools for “The 12 Practices,” beginning next week with “The Practice of Childlike Faith.” I’m thinking I am going to need some of God’s medicinal help next week (smile) and so we’re looking at strengthening our faith muscles. Please subscribe to “The Legacy List E-News” today and get ready to grow.

hen Passion Meets Purpose