So often too many of us spend our lives being an iron that makes grilled cheese sandwiches. I know, just stay with me.
Quite some time ago, I heard a story and like many interesting and inspiring stories, I tucked it away in my mind as useful information from which to draw. I will share my version of it with you here.
Well, we all know what an iron is, what it does, and what it is used for. In essence, we know its intended purpose. However, an iron can also be used to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Think about it.
After several years of making grilled cheese sandwiches though, the cheese has seeped into the holes of the soleplate and hardened. In addition to the cheese deposits, there is considerable burnt on butter residue. The steam vents are clogged and then, there is that melted plastic from a loaf of bread that accidentally touched the iron a few times.
I can still go back and try to use it to iron my clothes, but by now it is much more difficult. The steam function is not working properly and the build-up is causing smudges to be left on my clothes. I clean it repeatedly only to find the same thing. The iron heats up well enough to do a decent job of getting the wrinkles out, but it leaves an awful burnt smell in my fabrics.
I can no longer use the iron effectively-at least not for its intended purpose.
This is what can happen when we are not using our gifts and talents, or operating within our purpose. We spend so much of our lives doing what we think we ought to be doing, or even “what others think we ought to be doing” that by the time we realize our intended purpose, we are burnt out. Thinking about this story now, it has occurred to me that perhaps this kind of thing happens because many of us are not aware of what our purpose is.
While I do believe that one can have many positions or roles doing different things while still operating within her or his purpose, I think the person will have to be really connected to what her or his purpose is. Being connected to your purpose allows you to keep your sights on the larger goal regardless of your current position or role.
If you do not feel that you have identified your purpose, I invite you to take some time and reflect on a few things that are like built in clues. 1. What is something that ignites a certain spark or creates a kind of stir within you when you are doing it, or when you witness someone else do it? 2. What comes quite easily to you that you do well AND you can help others in some way doing it? 3. What is that something that you could truly do without compensation if money were not an issue?
I believe that our purpose is always connected to serving others in some capacity. So while we must make a living and since we can make a living operating within our purpose, we have to remember the service piece of it. We can also be creative and find time and ways to serve without costs to others as a way of giving of ourselves.
What is your intended purpose?
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.