Your Purpose Is Your Story — and Your Story Is Worth Telling
I knew my purpose was to help others grow closer to God by healing their grief through artmaking, but I never knew where that passion for my purpose came from. I arrived at the language for my purpose recently through both the work that I do today as a writer and story coach and through a moment in time at an art gallery during my masters program, where I displayed a dress I created to honor my grandmother Pippi who had passed away. That art gallery held the catalyst moment that I believed set my purpose in motion.
Until one day, I was chatting on a phone call with Corey Blake, my mentor, my boss, and my friend, and we landed on this very subject of understanding the origins of one’s purpose.
“Is there a time earlier in your childhood where you made art to soothe that pain of loss?” he asked.
“I don’t think so. It must have been my grandmother.”
He urged me to take a moment and think back to times in my life where—before I even knew my purpose—I had used art to strengthen my faith and heal my wounds. And so I thought, and I started going back into the recesses of my memory.
“Well, there was the time I painted flowers for my Granny Hala right before she died.”
Corey waited patiently in the silence.
“And when I was ten or eleven or so, I wrote a poem for my Uncle Johnny who passed away. It was an elegy, actually.”
And suddenly, I realized—I had been doing this a long, long time.
Throughout my life, even as a little girl, I turned to art to encapsulate loss. In sharing that elegy with others—including my teacher, my classmates, and my family—I was planting the smallest steppingstone for people to see a glimpse of God’s good grace and love. It wasn’t so much about being a “Christian artist” as it was about showing the love of Christ by helping others let go of grief and hold on to beauty through art. Of course, we all see art through our own lens. What I see as God, someone else might see as the Universe, the Spirit, and so on. Regardless of our faith backgrounds and wherever our journeys are taking us when we encounter this kind of art, we are experiencing the breath of creation touching our face.
That is the expansiveness of purpose. Even from my smallest of memories, I could imagine an entire narrative where time and again, these three cornerstones of my life — God, grief, and artmaking — intersected in powerful, undeniable ways. Sharing my story woven of grief, art, and faith has become a newfound flame within me because it helps define my goals and objectives for my time on earth and how I can contribute to the world in meaningful ways. It fuels the fire of the work I do today as a writer, artist, and story coach and how I show up in service to my clients. Understanding the story behind my purpose motivates me to create art, foster healing, and strengthen faith with all my relationships.
This is what the power of storytelling can do for your purpose, too.
When you dig deeper into the profoundly deep reasons for what you do today, you can connect dots that allow you and others to see that you have been divinely set on this path. That you were born for this.
Putting words to your powerful purpose is only the beginning.