Cari and I met at the Speak it Forward Boot Camp in October of this year. We immediately connected on our awesome tastes in fashion and our desire for others to understand their own value. You matter. Below, Cari shares the significance of knowing your purpose.
Few things matter more to me than the singular idea that each person has dignity and worth.
I believe very whole-heartedly that we each have been commissioned with a mission of hope—a message destined for a desperate world. And each message is as unique as the person it has been entrusted to – we are as the many instruments of an orchestra, our solo melodies blending together to create a master symphony.
Like parts of the body, we each have a specific purpose and are all necessary for the proper function of The Whole (1 Corinthians 12). But two things must happen for all parts to operate as they should:
1). Each part (person) must realize they are part of the body (or what I call ‘The Whole’ – or God’s Divine Plan), and
2). Each part must know and perform their job (or unique purpose within that Plan).
A hand cannot be used to see, just as an eye cannot be used to feel. No part of The Whole is lesser than another – for what is a foot without a leg? Or a head without a neck? Likewise, what good is an ear that doesn’t know its purpose is to hear, or that tries to be a mouth?! (It sounds absurd, I know, but consider how true to the mark this analogy may actually be — most of the difficulties in my life have occurred when I tried to play a part I wasn’t designed for.)
My vocation in life is to help provide the tools, information, and motivation to assist others as they identify their place and purpose. I am passionate about this idea because I myself once believed I had nothing to contribute to this world, that life was futile and not worth living. As scripture puts it, “… I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world” (Ecclesiastes 2:20).
I chronicle my life-long battle with chronic depression and persistent suicidal thoughts in my book, Risen From Low Places: How I Overcame Depression & Despair. It was on that concrete floor, alone, that I made the choice to live. By the grace of God I have successfully treated my depression and have now achieved wellness. And let me emphasis this point, because it is pivotal: I got up off that floor and sought wellness because I made a decision. Fulfillment and purpose require Action. Choice. I chose to accept the fact that I had a role to play in this life, and I chose to dedicate myself to the diligent pursuit of seeking it out. That is where meaning is to be found. All else is waste and loss. And let me add that I don’t believe that people are afflicted with mental conditions, or difficulties of any kind for that matter, as punishment for sin; what I believe is that it is through despair that God can raise us up.
John 9:3 discusses this concept. The Jewish High Priests were dumbfounded when Jesus gave sight to a blind man. Jewish tradition held that tragedy and disability were punishment for sin. The High Priests asked who had sinned to cause the man’s blindness. Jesus said, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
Through my depression God molded and shaped me so that my story of survival and redemption might be an example of His divine patience, mercy and power. Be reassured, there is value in your struggle, and good can come of it. For God said in Corinthians 4:6, “’Let light shine out of darkness’”!
It is because of my trials, not despite them, that I now go boldly and unapologetically toward my dreams. My perseverance has given me hope. For it is written, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4).
Again, I tell you, be assured: no matter your circumstances or struggle, you are part of a magnificent Whole. Through trial and difficulty God can mold and perfect you, and ultimately, He can use you to achieve a Greater Good.
Cari Troyer is an Author & Speaker, specializing in personal and professional development.