Purpose and Position

In my effort to do more fun activities outside of work, I decided to see a light show.  “Starry Nights” is a unique show sponsored by local businesses and has been celebrated in the community for many years.  As a drive-through adventure, I noticed several light displays that represented the pride for Memphis.

Pride? Memphis?

I didn’t know much about Memphis, Tennessee when I moved here twelve years ago. I wasn’t too concerned about making it my new home.  All I knew was that my long distance boyfriend (now known as my ex-husband) lived here, and I considered my dreams fulfilled to be able to reside in this city…with him.

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Fast forward three years: I felt a lot of guilt for leaving my family and thought I was part of the reason they divorced after 25 years of marriage. After all, I was always the glue that would bring them back together after an argument.

Fast forward eight years: I had so many problems with my significant other, including him going to jail and being without a job for the past three years.  Despite all of that, I decided to force encourage him to marry me so that I could feel as if all this drama was worth it.  It wasn’t.

Fast forward ten years: I’m sitting in the middle of my too-big-for-one-person house, newly divorced, with no true friends I could count on.  I hated Memphis and all it stood for.


I couldn’t understand why I was still in this city.  I felt hopeless, alone, and very much defeated.  With every time period in Memphis, I tried to find a reason to move back home to what I remembered as serenity.  I mean, at least I would be with my family.

But something kept pulling me back to this place.

In each moment above, I felt defeated.  But now that I’m out of that darkness, I can see clearly, because

  • if I hadn’t moved to Memphis, I wouldn’t have gotten the job at a prominent law firm.
  • if I hadn’t worked for the firm, I wouldn’t have met the mailman who suggested I apply for a teaching position, which turned into the start of a successful career and passion for education.
  • if I hadn’t been a teacher, I wouldn’t have met the person who suggested I visit a particular church, which I am still flourishing in and now call my church home.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Even though I couldn’t see it in the moment, there was a reason I was in Memphis.  I often ask myself, What would’ve happened if I left during those rough patches rather than pushing through? That question allows me to understand an important principle: Where we are positioned is just as powerful as what we are doing.  

Take it from me: Deciding to jump ship too early will put you out of position for the calling that God has given to each of us.  God draws out the bigger picture before He reveals it to us. Staying in position will allow Him the opportunity to reveal his plan.

Let’s charge ourselves with continuing to focus on the bigger picture for our lives, because we all have one.  Maybe then we will be able to see the beautiful light that shines through our darkest nights.


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Elana Cole is an author, educator, and coach who is passionate about helping others in their personal journeys towards a more beautiful life. She is the author of "The Midnight Experience" and creator of Empowered Narrative, a blog about transforming the way you live and love.

2 thoughts on “Purpose and Position

  1. This really resonates with me! There’s a blessing within our position, we just don’t recognize it sometimes….so I try make connections between the things I’ve learned and people who helped get me to this place.

    1. Absolutely! Someone once told me that when we are constantly trying to move, we may miss the moment – the one right in front of us – that God is trying to reveal. It really changed the way I view things. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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