Today I stopped by my parent's house on my way to work at the dance studio, and I was talking to my dad about what he'd been up to lately. He serves as an adult advisor for a peer led spiritual retreat in Little Rock called Search. When I was in high school, I attended Search and was very involved with the program. It had a huge impact on my life at the time. Shortly after I graduated and went to college, my dad got involved on the adult team, and he has been helping out ever since. There are some truly amazing individuals who are selected to be on the "Search team" that leads the retreat. To this day, I envy the strength of conviction and purpose that some of these kids have for God. Maybe I had that, too, when I was in their place.
Anyway, I digress.....this past weekend was the spring Search retreat. I asked my dad how the weekend went, and he said it went great. The team did a wonderful job. The "Searchers" (retreat participants) had a great weekend. Everything went well. He also told me about a conversation that took place during the weekend that really struck me as important. One team member was talking about a feeling of inadequacy. That he could never be all that he was supposed to be or all that God wanted him to be. He felt constantly humbled and unable to reach his potential. Another team member responded to him by saying "You are perfect for your purpose."
You are perfect for your purpose. Those six words contain so much meaning. I know, that like this guy, I feel like I'm so much less than I could be. I read that it is scientifically proven that women are more contemplative than men, and therefore, are more prone to discontent. Well, I'm pretty sure I help prove that statistic on an almost daily basis. When I'm driving or at the gym or doing anything that doesn't involve a lot of thought, I find myself constantly examining the state of my life. And typically I'm examining how it can be better, not how it's already great. While my happiness project has changed that somewhat and made me a lot more positive and grateful, I still struggle to see the good sometimes. Especially in myself.
You are perfect for your purpose. Ever since my dad told me that story earlier tonight, those words have been running through my head. However, they are quickly followed by a question: "What is my purpose?" I think being in that "middle place" between college and a "real job" makes it hard to answer that question. So many people find purpose in their work. I find a lot of satisfaction and purpose in teaching dance. In a broader sense, I think I just find a lot of purpose in teaching. I felt the same way about student teaching and believe I'll feel that way even more once I find my first teaching job. For me, being in a classroom really is a perfect fit. It gives me purpose and satisfaction and happiness, even when it's frustrating and overwhelming. But I believe we all should have a purpose beyond our daily work, and I think that's what this kid meant when he said we're perfect for our purpose. Human beings, in general, are a communal species. We enjoy, for the most part, being a part of a whole or a group. So maybe our purpose is to enhance or benefit the lives of those around us. I know that sometimes even the tiniest gesture of kindness--a smile or a knowing look--can have a huge impact on my mood. In the same way, a rude or biting comment can ruin a whole day. Nobody is perfect, but it never hurts to strive toward that goal. I may not know my "perfect purpose," but I know I can be perfect for the purpose of being a positive person, both for myself and for others, if I try really hard.