Your Purpose, Your Burden

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“What’s your purpose? The answer comes from what you’re willing to be burdened by.” Reverend Bruce Cote

Early Sunday morning, this quote from the sermon sounded heavy. That was, until I jotted down, “It is an honor to be given a purpose.”

I used to want my family to be happy, but now I want more for all of us. I want us burdened with a purpose, which will likely make us happy while living it. If not, I still choose the burden.

In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says nothing will make us more miserable than not doing what we were put here to do. He writes about resistance and how it will make you want to die.

I say, nothing will make you more miserable than living your purpose, at least in the beginning, but it won’t make you want to die. Not for long, anyway.

It’s frightening to give up the known (writing articles about daytrips, scrolling Facebook for hours, shopping and cleaning and redecorating a third time) for the unknown (sharing how I feel on my blog and in a manuscript) even when we suspect the latter holds a gift. Change is full of frustration, like having one foot in manure and the other on a thin sheet of ice. We want to move on, but the warmth is familiar even if it’s nasty. We’re comfortable.

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It’s disorienting to move beyond what a friend explained about her life, “I’m in a prison cell with the door wide open, but I’m still sitting here.”

Our cell is where the world will keep us stuck if we let it. We have kneejerk reactions to others, but not to God. We ask, “What in the world will the world think of me if I (fill in the blank)?”

So, we don’t.

The blank is our heart’s desire, and not because we thought it up. God put the desire there by design. It’s the thing He placed us on this earth to do.

For me, it’s to live out loud. I cried the first and second and third times I read Emile Zola’s quote, “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”

I still cry.

I wanted to tell my story, to let an audience in on my pain that reaped plenty of lessons, and to have courage to say whatever I wanted like telling who I voted for in the most controversial election of all times, but I didn’t want criticism or push back or eye rolls. I especially didn’t want to feel scared.

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It’s similar to the time my husband booked us into Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He knew I was afraid of heights, so he said, “You know, you don’t have to do this. You can relax and wait for us at the hotel.”

“Yeah, right. You know I have to hike it,” I snapped.

He looked confused. He actually didn’t know I had to hike it, but I knew it and I was terrified.

That’s often how it is when I speak up and when I write. It’s easy for some people, but it’s my burden because …

  • I’m a people pleaser who likes to say what I think others want to hear.
  • I’m an introvert who would like nothing more than to have the super power of being invisible.
  • I want to be known as funny even though I value integrity far more than humor.

Sharing anything on FB other than humorous memes reminds me of The Church Lady on Saturday Night Live, “I’m uncomfortable with that.”

I’m afraid friends will think I’m drumming up drama instead of living my purpose.

I’m afraid I’ll be judged because everyone who is visible is judged by someone.

I’m afraid posting will come across as wanting attention for myself instead of concern for them, and sometimes I do want attention.

Like hiking the canyon, though, I don’t have a choice. I mean, I do, but I don’t. It’s odd to stare at an empty laptop screen and struggle between a story that’s emotionally safe to write and one with passion. I’ve tried to force myself to write less controversial pieces or less emotional ones or less sad stories. I’ve tried writing funny stories during enraged times. I’ve wished I could stir others without feeling stirred myself.

I can’t do it. When I take the easy way out and tell an easy story, the writing is so bad, I can’t publish it. It’s like a story I handed into one of my favorite editors. “Favorite” because she wouldn’t publish an article only to fill space. It had to have substance. I liked that about her until she wouldn’t publish one of mine. She said, “This story’s got no heart.”

That used to be my blog and my life. I saved old posts on here to remind me. I began with stories about Mr. Potato Head and walking, how Zumba motivated me to get out of bed early, and big toe hairs. Don’t believe me? Scroll way back to 2010 and you can read for yourself my unburdened writing about exercise and alarm clocks.

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My writing changed significantly around the time I began praying the line from the song “Hosanna,” the line about God breaking my heart for what breaks His. I’m burdened to tell stories about my damaged marriage, estranged parents, and depression and suicide, stories I would rather not tell because what will people think? It wasn’t until I asked a more important question that I started living out loud, “If I don’t tell my stories, what will God think?

What are you burdened to do? Is it worth the risk of stepping onto thin ice? Maybe a better way to ask the same question is, do you want to stay in that other stuff?

In This Together,
Kim

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14 responses »

  1. Kim, thanks for this touching post. You touched a place in my heart I have been trying to hide. Loveya, Mary Blackm

    • Mary, why in the world do we hide when we have so much to say? I’ll never completely get what that’s about, but sharing anyway is a good thing.

      I’m touched by your comment. Thank you! ❤

  2. Kim, you rang the bell on this one! This blog has heart. I wish I could get motivated to write again. I am praying about it. Enjoy keeping up with you and reading your posts!

    • Mary Sue, thank you so much for your comment!

      I always enjoy reading what you share on FB. Just think … If not for our mutual interest, we would have never met. Sharing our thoughts out loud really does bring people together, doesn’t it? Much love and hope that you’ll find your way back to writing soon. ❤

  3. Keep living out loud! You’re good at it.
    This was a provocative reading. Thank you for it! I went with Johnny to the Winter Gathering for New Harmony Presbytery last Saturday at 1st Presbyterian in MB. The co-Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly brought the message and she kept saying, “What breaks God’s heart?” That’s where we find the burden he wants to help us carry. Thanks, Kim!

    • Frances, thanks for passing along the speaker’s message. I believe it’s confirmation for us to do that “thing,” whatever it is. ❤ It isn't the same for all of us, but I think we all know what it is for us personally. It's the challenging and rewarding stuff.

      I love and appreciate you and your encouragement!

  4. Kim, your are funny, and you deserve attention. If not for attention, where would our relationships be? This is a great read, really makes me think, as do most of your writings. Keep it up, you’re good. Why, sometimes when I read what you write, I can’t believe I know you! I sit in the airports, point to my computer and say, “I know her.”
    Love you Kim,
    Margo

  5. You, Kim Henson, are one of my most favorite people in the world. When we do meet face to face, I am going to hug the stuffing right out of you.

    • Oh, Beth, you make me smile BIG! I’m sure you don’t remember, but we met face to face at the BRMCWC. All l I could muster up was “hi,” scared to death you or someone else would figure out I was a fake. 🙂 Next time around, you won’t miss me! When you give that hug, can you squeeze out some calories along with that stuffing? lol 😀 I love you lots!

  6. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Grey M. Kiser, Delilah Lewis and 27 others

    6 Shares

    Susan Blanton Roche Goosebumps, tears and much more. I can relate to this on so many levels!! You have no idea unless we share, just exactly how your writing affects us as readers. You say things we may be afraid to say ourselves or what you write makes us go wow, thats how I feel to. Thank you! Don’t stop writing and continue being you. ❤
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    Kim Henson Awe, thanks, Susan Blanton Roche. ❤ I'm stuck with writing for the rest of my life. 🙂 I tried to convince myself that when I finished with this manuscript, I can stop. lol 😀 But I know better. Telling y'all this stuff makes me feel less crazy and less alone. Thanks for sharing this nutty journey with me. ❤ Love you!
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    Susan Blanton Roche You just have no idea how your blogs touch, affect, encourage and give us the feels!!!! I am happy to share this journey with you! ❤ Love you!
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    Kim Henson Susan Blanton Roche, I'm happy you're on it too! More than you know. ❤
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    ML Anderson Eddings Kim Henson, this may be your best work ever. You are a light bearer. Everything you shared in this piece resonates with me loud and clear. Keep writing and sharing. This is so valuable. I love the quote, "Speak your truth even if your voice shakes." Keep living out loud. The world needs more people like you. Love and BIG HUGS! Sharing.
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    Kim Henson Mary Lou Anderson Eddings, thank you so much! You're such an encourager! ❤ I love that quote too, and it's me. I can't tell you how often I shake when I speak up, but I do it anyway. I have to keep on because it's what keeps me sane … well, saner. 😉 I appreciate you and your comment. Much love!
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    Angie Mojica Oh Kim, Kim, Kim, (three times is charming right?)😆
    You are raising the bar, I related so much to this, thank you for sharing your heart, like you, every time I share a blog it feels scary. I love your honesty and yes humor..
    “I’m uncomfortable with that.” 😂😂😂
    I’m sharing this sucker!! 😘😘😘
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    Kim Henson I'm so happy we're walking this adventure together, Angie Mojica, my charming writer and singer friend! ❤ ❤ ❤ I had to laugh when I was whining in my blog post and I heard The Church Lady's voice. I got so tickled and straightened up a little. lol 😀 Thanks for sharing. Love you, your writing, and your singing!
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    Angie Mojica Kim Henson , yes writing is better when we can share it 🙂
    I’m sending you a virtual hug ♥️😘, love you Kim!! And I thank you for the encouragement!!
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    Kim Henson Angie Mojica, we're encouragement partners. ❤ ❤ We'll keep nudging each other along and shoving if necessary. 😀
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    Delilah Lewis Thank you Kim Henson for writing this for use. It is best ever, I can relate to it.
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    Kim Henson I love you, Delilah Lewis! ❤ This was one of the easier ones to write. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm getting better at this speaking up thing.

    Karen Rice
    ❤️
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    Kim Henson Thanks a bunch, Karen Rice! ❤
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    Donna Hambrick Tyson So beautiful. And yes, the truth does set us free. No judgement here, just pure admiration for you and your beautiful purposeful life. I love you, Kim Henson. 💕
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    Kim Henson Donna Hambrick Tyson, you're so uplifting and good for my soul! Thank you. 💞 I love your comment and you! ❤

    Linda Moody Challenging blog post for sure! Just too many lives to destroy by putting it all out there.
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    Kim Henson I sure understand, Linda Moody! ❤ I've read many good articles about how to tell our stories without tearing others apart. I will say, it was more comfortable for me to write openly after my dad and mom were both gone. But even now, I don't want to tell all they did. I write more about me and how I felt/feel. It keeps my writing purer and more relatable, I think. Thanks for your comment. It reminds me where my focus needs to be.

    Rhonda C. Hensley Challenging and encouraging!
    Reminds me of my favorite verse, Esther 4:14. Many people quote a portion of the verse, "…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdoms for such a time as this?" However, the first part states, " For if YOU (me, you, us) remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place…."

    I don't want God having to choose someone else to fulfill the purpose for which He has me here to accomplish.

    And yes- it means I have to be willing to step out of my comfort zone most of the time.
    (He's still working on me)
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    Kim Henson Oh, I love that verse, Rhonda C. Hensley! ❤ I'm glad you shared the first part. I don't want that either. I've thought about it a lot, especially when I knew I was dropping the ball. I'm happy to be showing up more and more for my assignment. 🙂 It's a daily challenge to beat resistance! 💪 🤣
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    Barbara Barksdale Kim HensonHenson: I just finished reading your blog (bravo). I plan on reading them all. I read and saw myself throughout. Keep up these very interesting topics … I love them. I'm wanting to make many changes but I'm like sitting in that cage with the gate wide open. 😐😢😳😨
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    Kim Henson Thanks for stopping by, Barbara Barksdale! I appreciate your kind comment. ❤ You may want to skip the earlier blog posts. lol 😀 Some of them are really something, but I left them on purpose. They remind me how far I've come. I have many changes I'd love to make too, but I get overwhelmed easily, so I remind myself to slow down and be gentle myself. That cage can get so comfy!
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    Barbara Barksdale Yes, Kim Henson, it is comfy but for health reasons I need to get out and exercise, etc., so my health stays good. I do have the feeling to rush forward causing myself much anxiety, but I am learning to be gentle with myself at times. You are a precious lady.
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    Kim Henson Barbara Barksdale, I feel the same about you. ❤ ❤ ❤ Our pastor used to say, "Take a step and take a step." He'd say it and I'd take a deep breath. I could breathe easier when I heard those words because one step sounded manageable. Yes, be gentle with you.
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    Lyn Snyder Wonderful Kim!! Read my reply🙏🙏love you💕
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    Kim Henson Thank you, Lyn Snyder! ❤ Love you lots, my friend! 💕💕💕Where is your reply? I don't see it on my blog if you left a comment there. 😦

    Lyn Snyder Kim Henson , I wrote a long one and had to post my name and email!!! I can't write it again because I can't remember it. ( you know how that is).
    I thought I replied to your blog . It could be anywhere…, who knows??
    FYI had a relapse Monday. Had 3 days steroids one thousand mugs. each day. Was not in hospital. Went to infusion center at Waccamaw. Now on prednisone to taper off.
    I am okay, immune system is zero. Very weak. Very GRATEFUL and to GLORIFY GOD🙏🙏🙏❤️💕😘
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    Kim Henson Lyn Snyder, thanks for reading and leaving a comment somoewhere. 🙂 I'm so sorry to hear about your relapse, but happy it didn't land you in the hospital. I'm sending lots of prayers up for you! 🙏🙏🙏<3 I hope you're feeling better and like your feisty self again very soon. 😝😘😍 Love you!
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    Mary McKerihan Wilson Kim, once again you have written my story–not the details but the main points. I especially like the sentence about being concerned with what God thinks rather than what others think. Like you, my best writing is torn from my heart. I agonized over the post about being married to an alcohol abuser for 41 years, and I know some people didn't like that I went public with that story. I am happy that you are burdened with a purpose and are writing from your heart, because it touches our hearts and changes us.
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    Kim Henson And this is why we need each other, Mary McKerihan Wilson. 😍 There are plenty of my posts that people haven't liked. A woman left a comment on one of mine saying it made her sick to her stomach to read it. I've grown up on my blog – learned to read tha…See More
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    ML Anderson Eddings Don't let those who live in denial and make rude comments stop you Kim Henson. Staying quiet and not sharing our experiences keeps us and society suffering. I was told by my counselor years ago that the truth will set you free. And God's word says it too. Maybe in a different context, but the same can apply to many victims of many different forms of horrific abuse. There are many who still consider these taboo subjects. I have had to walk away from people I loved very much because of being villified by them. God bless you for all that your share from your heart to tackle tough subject matter and raise awareness. I admire your strenghth and appreciate you more than you know. Hugs!
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    Kim Henson Awe, thanks, ML Anderson Eddings. ❤ Friends like you make it much easier to keep on sharing. I've also heard the truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. lol 😀 That's a little twist on it. I tried to be silent because I thought that's what others wanted. It landed me in a dangerous depression, so no more. You'll never know how much your encourgement means to me! I love you! 😘
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    ML Anderson Eddings We have many things in common. I did the same thing and had Major Depression because of it. I lost 2 years of my life and became very isolated. I couldn't even pray, but I cried out to God in my agony. I believe that His Grace was how I survived it. I love you too!
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    Kim Henson ML Anderson Eddings, our main thing in common is God's grace. ❤ ❤

    ML Anderson Eddings Just wanted to share this with anyone who may be struggling with the trauma related to abuse. Many years after I lost my daughter I heard about Pastor Rick and Kay Warren's son Matthew, his long term struggles with mental illness and that he ended his own life. Through Saddleback's online ministry and Rick and Kay's honesty and openess about their son Matthew I found comfort, compassion and a safe space that has been a gift from the Holy Spirit. Their ministry to families and individuals who are living with mental health issues or have a loved one who is struggling to survive left an enormous impression on me and helped me understand that even though I still very often shed tears over my daughters struggle with depression and her death that I also can still live a life filled with joy. This morning I was led once again to their online ministry and read and listened to how their ministry is once again addressing the issues regarding sexual abuse. I continue to be humbled and amazed that they are willing to recognize and address difficult topics. The resources they offer and sharing their personal experience changes the lives of so many hurting people. I listened to one of Pastor Rick's sermons, actually more than a sermon, but a teaching about The Holy Spirit. I have never heard such a poignant lesson in my many years of sitting in a church pew. And looking further I discovered a video interview of Kay Warren speaking about her own sexual abuse. And I felt led to share this here. If anyone feels inclined to watch, I hope it will be a blessing to you to take a look at Kay Warren's Facebook page and visit Saddleback Church's website just to see how their are ministering to people who are struggling with addiction, mental health and domestic and all forms of abuse. They are in my opinion willing to address what is destroying people's lives when so many others can't or won't listen to people who really need a safe place to tell their story and empower us to regain our voices that have been silenced with blame and shame for speaking our truth. My hope is that we can raise awareness and bring a much needed change to the world we live in in these troubling and often chaotic times. Wishing you all comfort, peace and the gift of The Holy Spirit led life.

    http://saddleback.com/…/Take-the-First-Step-Toward-Hope…

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155455571627569&id=105128507568
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    Saddleback Church – One Family, Many Locations. Help. Healing. Hope.
    SADDLEBACK.COM
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    Kim Henson Thank you so, so, so much for sharing this here, Mary Lou! God is using their son's death in a powerful way and the Warrens have been willing to be used. That says a lot about them and their ministry. You've been on my mind a lot lately, but I can see how God's also using you and your daughter powerfully. I love you and your heart for helping others! ❤ I watched some of the interview and I'm coming back later to really settle into it and listen. (ML Anderson Eddings)
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  7. From Facebook (S. Kim Henson) ~

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    Patricia Vogel I just read your story about a burden shared. Thanks!
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    Love · Reply · Message · 2w

    S. Kim Henson Thanks for reading, Patricia! I appreciate it. ❤

    Karen Garling Rex Incredible,Kim. I saw myself. ❤
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    S. Kim Henson Thanks, Karen Garling Rex! ❤ I found out a thing or two about myself and why I don't follow through.

  8. It will definitely stick with me the thought, “If I do/don’t ___ what will God think of me?” Thanks Kim. As always, enjoy your writing.

    • That has stuck with me too, Christy! ❤ The minister who preached this sermon was hired on as our associate pastor since Chuck died. I didn't know that when I wrote this, but I think he's a wonderful fit for The Abbey. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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