I was 10 when I realised that I loved stories. To read about them. To watch them. But most of all, to tell them. I made my first attempts at story creation on lined exercise books; I drew comics of a dream life I would have when I became an adult.
At first, I wrote stories to entertain myself. But when I was 18, I stumbled on the writings of Catherine Marshall and Phillip Yancey. I was captivated by the power of their words to encourage, educate and effect change in me.
And I remember saying to myself: "I want to write like them."
Over the years, it became clear that this was the calling of my heart: To write words that will encourage people and change the world.
It felt too immense for me.
The more I focused on the "how", the more lost I felt, and the more impossible it felt to fulfill my life's purpose. And with challenges constantly tripping me up (or so I thought), it was as if the calling was drifting further and further from me.
Then, a few weeks ago, my best friend told me this: "You can't wait for your life to be perfect to start living your calling."
And it hit me. What was I waiting for?
And so I wrote this. I told my story. I shared my frustration and sorrow. I thought it was the clumsiest, most unrefined post that I have ever written. But I didn't care. It was an act of faith: I was going to encourage with my words despite how I felt.
I didn't care if the story fell into the black of hole of the Internet, never to be read. Somehow I knew that God will deliver it to the people who needed it.
Still, I was surprised when people said that they were encouraged by my post. And then, a few days ago, a friend asked to speak to me.
"It was just the words that I needed to hear right then. Your words were the answer I needed," she said to me.
We shared our stories. We shed tears and laughed. And when she told me that she felt much better, I felt energy surge through me and the universe felt right for the first time in the longest time.
Ah. So this is how it's like to feel like to live your life's purpose.
Our stories are so powerful. Tim Ferris demonstrated it when he told his powerful story about toying with suicide. He said it had been wrong of him to keep this story from people, especially when it had the power to change lives. And is he changing lives, even preventing someone from taking that cruel step? You bet.
All it takes is for our words to change one person, and like a ripple on a pond, that one act can affect the world.
For the longest time I didn't want to share anything personal on this blog. It bore my name; it was far too risky to be vulnerable for the world wide web to see. I wanted to be impersonal. Professional.
But I've changed my mind.
By doing so I would be like the man who buried his talent in the ground.
Our stories are powerful. And if my words can lift up or encourage just one person, I've fulfilled what my assignment on Earth.
So don't hide your stories. Share them. Change the world.