My recent travels have reminded me that people all over the world struggle with personal identity and purpose.
The circumstances that lead to a loss of purpose and identity vary widely…some as severe as trafficking and forced conscription into child armies, or the atrocities we see in the news as man’s inhumanity to man is put on display as greed and intolerance destroys lives. I’m very thankful that in the midst of such things, there are those whose life purpose is to help these victims become victors over the circumstances and see lives restored. It’s a privilege for me to help support, such front line warriors.
It’s not just those overseas who lose their identity and purpose. Privately, many of us endure difficult seasons when we become so focused on survival that we lose sight of our purpose and strength. The dark storms obscure our vision of the warrior we once were and we become defeated and discouraged. Our warrior identity seems like a vague dream from a distant past.
Compared to the rest of the world, why worry about our relatively minor issues? Why? Because with purpose and identity restored, we CAN make a difference even to them. When I quote Kary Oberbrunner as saying, “The world is waiting for you to get over what you are waiting on,” I mean it literally! What if your destiny is to go to some of those places and literally make a difference? What if the business you are to start is for the purpose of fundraising to support relief efforts? What if your purpose is to speak into the lives of others so that THEY realize their own destiny and purpose?
If you haven’t faced an identity stealing dark season, I’m sure you know someone who has. Please keep reading and then share this with anyone you believe will benefit! I’ve come through such seasons myself. The last time, I came through stronger and more determined than ever. I took note of the steps I took to leave the storm and discouragement behind so that I would never allow myself to become fully enveloped again. I’m sharing these steps because it’s my passion to empower people to discover, or rediscover, and waken the warrior within.
When someone is in the middle of a dark storm in life, it’s difficult to see beyond the blinding rains and fierce winds of discouragement. To rise above the storm and find strength to ride it out requires intentionality. It requires making a few choices. We cannot choose our circumstances, but as warriors, we CAN choose our responses.
1. Choose to do what is necessary to help yourself. If you are struggling with depression and dark thoughts, don’t hesitate to seek help. Sometimes the struggle is so intense that it requires help from others. There is NO shame in that at all! “Accepting help isn’t weakness, its WISDOM!”
2. Choose to believe you WILL get through it. That’s called faith! ALL storms pass. Difficult seasons are just that: seasons. You’ve survived other storms. Other people have survived similar storms. YOU will come through the storm, and if you choose to, you WILL come through the storm stronger than ever. You might not even have the imagination at the moment to consider what a better day might look like, but you can choose to believe that it exists.
This the time where faith in God can be a tremendous source of strength…if we allow it! We can choose to shake our fist toward the heavens, or open our hands to let it go…let go of the stress, and let go of the illusion of control. I learned in my own dark seasons, that only open hands can receive grace and strength. One way to open our hands and find a hidden source of strength is to be thankful. Yes, thankful. Thanksgiving and gratitude are a warrior’s secret weapon for strengthening ourselves. If you want to know more, listen to my podcast entitled, “A Warriors Most Powerful Weapon”. The entire podcast is dedicated to this subject.
3. Choose to remember the strength and purpose you once had. Remember the days when you felt warrior strength and purpose. Those memories might seem a distant past, but that’s the illusion of the storm. The more you dwell on past strength, the closer the memories will become. Be encouraged that your identity has NOT changed just because a difficult circumstance has come upon you. “Who you are and your divine purpose remain steadfast no matter how strong the winds of adversity blow!”
4. Choose to think about WHY you must fulfill your purpose. Sometimes the loved ones going through the storm with us are the very reasons we must continue to pursue our purpose. YOU are so worth it, because you have a purpose that goes beyond anything you or I can imagine. “How many people can be touched if you fulfill your life’s purpose?”
5. Choose to write it down. Write down your memories of stronger times. Write down the passions that you had. What are the things that stirred your heart and made life worth living at the time? Write those things down. What are things beginning to stir even now? Write them down! Why should you write them down? So that you can see the list and review it when needed. Spend time on this. Write down as many details as you can. Write your dreams and passions. Use this list to remind yourself of who you are and what you are about. Use this list for the next step….
6. Choose to rehearse it. Read through your list daily as a reminder of who you are, whether you feel like it or not. Choose to see yourself strong and impassioned again. Intentionally imagine yourself responding in strength. Intentionally imagine yourself becoming stronger. Intentionally imagine the day when the sun finally peeks through the storm clouds. This is a constructive mental exercise that helps retrain you to see things differently. This step is very important, but it will not go anywhere without the next two steps: Choose to believe it, and choose to act on it.
7. Choose to believe it. It doesn’t matter whether you feel like it or not, you ARE a warrior. The difference between living as a warrior, and continuing to struggle is the choice to believe the truth about yourself: you ARE a warrior, and you ARE strong enough to fulfill your purpose! Choose to believe that you ARE going to find your old strength again. Choose to believe that clarity of purpose is coming and the dark clouds and thick fog are fading.
8. Choose to act on it! This is the critical final step to re-establishing your warrior identity. ACT on all the truth of your warrior identity. Even if it’s just one tiny step in the direction of where you once were… do it! It won’t all happen in a single day, but it can happen quicker than you previously believed.
As you’ve gathered, rediscovering and restoring your warrior identity comes in a series of choices. “The entire warrior life is based on realizing that you are empowered to choose a warrior lifestyle in all things.” The more you choose the warrior ways, the stronger a warrior you’ll become and remain!
Until next time: Take On Life, Conquer obstacles, and Waken the Warrior within!
© 2014 Deborah Wittig
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