That thing that almost killed you? Well, it didn’t. So now it’s likely your new purpose in this life.

My teenage daughter and I temporarily tatted up for an inspiring local event called IGNITE, some years ago. We got inked with one word that intoned what I was ever longingly looking for at the time—purpose.

The only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to be without any doubt was a mom. Beyond raising my children, and being lucky to be able to, I was never sure what my life’s purpose was in addition to being a loving parent. Or how to find it. The problem was more often than not, this left me feeling unsettled and unfulfilled.

In all the years I spent looking for it, I never did find my purpose. I listened to Oprah and followed her instructions. Nada. I surfed from job to job. From one volunteer position at one community organization to another. Still, nothing.

I read books. Listened to tapes. As I type this, I’m just now remembering a Tony Robbins rally, too. Nope. Still, nowhere. I also prayed for a clear path or a sign that would point me towards my pupose—never discerning a clear answer in return.

Instead, what happened was eventually my purpose found me. By way of the most searing pain I’ve ever been subjected to. This purpose of mine wanted my full attention and wasn’t about to waste its time or risk not securing it so it went big with a blindside trauma—stopping just short of what felt like a near lethal amount of heartache.

If you’re also searching high and low for what you’re meant to be doing while you’re here, take note of what’s happening around you. Notice what seizes your attention and stops you in your tracks. Become hyper-aware of what makes you say, “Oh, hell no!”

What is it in this world that squeezes your heart in a vice grip? What makes the pilot light inside you combust into all-consuming flames? What injustice threatens your sanity? What can you not stand to see happen even one more time to one more soul?

Your answer is also your purpose.

And I don’t think we’re meant to find it. I think we’re meant to recognize it. By our sky-rocketing heart rate and rivers of tears. By our crushed spirit and a looming sense of hopelessness. By being knocked to the ground and made to feel like we’ve a boot on our chest keeping us there.

When you feel like that because of what’s happened to you, what’s happening to others, too—that, love, is your purpose. And once you finally recognize it, all you have to do is say, “I’ve been waiting for you.” Then, just begin.


Jodie Utter

5 thoughts on “That thing that almost killed you? Well, it didn’t. So now it’s likely your new purpose in this life.

  1. I’ve read hundreds of inspirational essays and your “Purpose” article is by far one of the most moving I have come across. It really struck a chord within me. You have an amazing insight and talent. Thank you.


    1. Thank you for reading along and connecting with me in warm support here, Joseph. This essay was inspired by something I heard Glennon Doyle say and by 40+ years of life experience. There will be no more “finding” myself or my purpose, all is wholly evident by now.



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