Resistance. This morning, when I was trying to brush a knot out of my four-year old’s hair, she was wriggling and trying to get loose from the hairbrush. I said to her, “If you’d stop resisting, this could go a lot quicker.”

I feel like that toddler sometimes, fighting and resisting what is.

Again. Thinking a lot about resistance this week.

Today, on Brooke Snow’s podcast, she talks about finding your life purpose. And, do you know what, it has everything to do with not resisting what is, finding patterns in our lives, and being changed and directed by positive and negative turns in our lives.

She starts by inviting us to participate in an activity she’d been introduced to by her own coach at one time, Donald Miller.

“Plot the story of your life from past to present on a timeline, paying particular attention to highlighting our positive life-turns and negative life-turns…

A story turn in an event that takes place after which you will never be the same. Thin of it like a doorway. Once you’ve crossed through this doorway, you can never turn back.”

And these story-turns, or life-turns, are entirely subjective.

She uses the story of Joseph of Egypt (Genesis 37-45) to illustrate this activity. Let’s start by plotting the story of his life, using what we know of the positive and negative life-turns in his life.

  1. He has a dream that he will be a great leader – POSITIVE TURN
  2. He brags to his brothers about the dream, is throw into a pit, and even sold as a slave – NEGATIVE TURN
  3. He is sold to Potiphar and is made a ruler in his home – POSITIVE TURN
  4. He is falsely accused by Potphar’s wife and thrown into prison – NEGATIVE TURN
  5. He becomes a leader in the prison – POSITIVE TURN
  6. He is able to interpret the dreams of Pharoah’s servants – POSITIVE TURN
  7. He is forgotten about – NEGATIVE TURN
  8. He is remembered – POSITIVE TURN
  9. And we know the rest of the story, right. From what we know, there seems to be a handful of POSITIVE TURNS until the end of his beautifully lived life of purpose is completed.

Again, for our purposes, I am going to define our general “purpose” as to love and serve God, and love and serve our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

Because of both the positive and the negative turns in Joseph’s life, he was able to gain the experience necessary, and see more clearly, his life’s purpose in serving God, his neighbor, and himself.

“Because of the positive and the negative turns in Joseph’s life, he was uniquely qualified for the power he’d been promised. And not only this, by the time he’d been given power, his heart had been changed from an arrogant young kid to a wise and powerful leader.”

What about my purpose? How am I being prepared to serve and love God and my neighbors, and even my future self?

“When looking at your life on a timeline of positive and negative turns, it’s important to step back and look for patterns. Is there a recurring theme that arises? Where does God show up in your story?”

Let’s look at big-picture events in my life, similar to the example of Joseph in Egypt:

  1. At around age 8 or 9, my trichotillomania started – NEGATIVE TURN
  2. I moved from Utah to Iowa – POSITIVE TURN
  3. I went away to Ricks College – POSITIVE TURN
  4. I went to BYU – POSITIVE TURN
  5. I went on a proselyting mission to Africa – POSITIVE TURN
  6. I married Bryant Blanchard – POSITIVE TURN
  7. I moved to NYC – POSITIVE TURN
  8. I attended the Deaf Branch – POSITIVE TURN
  9. I moved to London – POSITIVE TURN
  10. My son died in London – NEGATIVE TURN/POSITIVE TURN
  11. I moved by to NYC – POSITIVE TURN
  13. My parents’ divorced – NEGATIVE TURN

I looked for patterns, just like Brooke suggested. One that stuck out to me, interestingly, was that every time I “moved” or I “went” somewhere new, it was a positive turn. I like to move. I have a hard time staying in one place. I just get antsy. For years I thought that meant something was wrong with me. But, more recently, I’ve wondered if that desire could actually be a blessing – maybe it could be part of my purpose, even.

Has moving and changing and experiencing everything I can, been of service to God or to others or to myself, in my life?

ABSOLUTELY. I am crying now, just answering that question! It is how the Lord has used me, over and over and over again!

My mother-in-law has been talking about her desire to serve as a missionary, but not anywhere far from home. Maybe Idaho. I mentioned that, with Bry’s language skills, we are likely to serve foreign when we someday look to serve a mission again. She said, “You are in trouble! My friend who went foreign said she will never do that again – so difficult.” I was shocked. I said, “No! I am thrilled!” I can do foreign. I can do new cultures and new cuisines and new languages etc. It is how the Lord has used me in the past – Iowa, Washington, New York, the Deaf in NYC, the Spanish speaking in Queens, in London, Africa, and even here in Utah. I have been most used by the Lord in serving those who are much different than me.

“Even though WHAT I do has changed, (the location, the culture, the circumstance), my PURPOSE has always remained the same, (to serve wherever I go, with all my heart, because I am comfortable wherever I go). It’s the theme of my life…

Remember, your life purpose is the WHY, not the WHAT… Look for your WHY. How has God used you?”


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