Purpose: it's a buzz word. Type it into Google and you'll get over a billion results, somewhere between Justin Bieber's new hit song, and articles simplifying the great human search into three basic steps.
I have lost count of the number of times I've been asked if I've found God's will for my life. I have found it.
The problem is I'm living it.
Purpose and all its problems
I think we have a problem as Christians—we consider finding our calling the be-all and end-all. We believe finding our purpose is a lifelong journey, as if there is nothing on the other side.
I am tired of hearing sermons about finding your calling, or having conversations with another Christian that don't feel shallow. As if we've only slightly touched upon what should be a mammoth topic in our lives.
What happens after we have found God's will for our lives? What do we do then?
I studied to be a war correspondent. I told people I wanted to go into publishing. I trained to be an actor. I spent ten years skirting around the edge of my calling; knowing deep down it was what I should be doing and where God wanted me to be.
In an act of defiance, he kept opening doors for me to be a teacher, and closing those that weren't in line with this future.
When I finally gave in I fell in love with teaching. I got to watch kids go from little rocking balls of extreme anxiety, to beautifully confident speakers who could make an audience uproariously laugh or silently weep.
However, in the past year there were more days where I cried myself to sleep—so deeply frustrated and emotionally exhausted—than days where I cried for joy about something a student had overcome. I considered, time and time again, turning my back on my calling purely because I wanted to feel well again.
I was convinced what was wrong was my relationship with God: but it was not.
What is easy is not always good. What is good is not always easy.
Most, if not all, teachers would understand where I am coming from. I have been screamed at in the middle of playgrounds by parents, bruised and bloodied on a weekly basis by a violent child, and fought against the debilitating weight of a student who has so much potential but truly doesn't believe they are smart or important because it's what they are lead to believe at home.
Your calling is not always fulfilling. It is not always uplifting. It is not always fun.
We are led to believe finding God's will for your life—or knowing your calling and living it—will make you irreparably happy. I think we forget as Christians we are first and foremost human beings.
God's calling for your life will not make you happy all the time. You will have days where you will want to pull the covers over your head, and ignore the world. Where you will sob from frustration and helplessness.
Your calling will, however, be inherently you.
What God did bring me to understand was I was confusing being called to be a teacher with being called to be happy. I had heard too often about finding what makes me jump out of bed in the mornings and rush to work and not considered what God knew would make me useful to the world.
What I had forgotten, was I was so deeply exhausted because I truly cared.
There is nothing else in this world I care about more than teaching young kids to be more confident, to find their voice. To speak up for themselves and know who they are.
God has given me the greatest calling in the world. It won't always make me happy, but letting go of this fallacy has opened up a world of possibilities.
Talisa Pariss is the co-ordinator of the school-based Louder Theatre Company, teaching drama, communication skills and confidence to kids. When she's not pretending for a living, she can be found indulging in any kind of creativity she can get her hands on.
Talisa Pariss' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/talisa-pariss.html