Pulled by Purpose

Vision Board

“Pain pushes until vision pulls.” – Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith

By Dawn Onley

I love this quote and have found it to be true. We are often pushed by pain in order to grow – which is a reactive state to be in. Have you ever gotten so fed up that you did something? Did you finally speak up for yourself (after your co-worker took credit for your project)? Did you finally start eating healthier and exercising (after receiving that health diagnosis)? Did you pay off your debt (after you were denied a loan to buy a house)? If so, you were pushed by pain. You had to hit rock bottom, so to speak, before you took matters into your own, very capable hands.

While it’s great that you got there, and while late is better than never, this is not the most progressive state from which to operate. When we allow pain to be the only thing that drives us to take corrective action, or to pursue our passions in life, we are always a tad bit behind the curveball, struggling to catch up.

For a writer, pain can be a crutch, and it can become addictive. The same is true for musicians and artists. Pain has been the impetus for many great books, songs, paintings, and other creative ventures in which pain became therapy.

But relying on pain to push forward is not ideal.

It reminds me of our country’s security posture. It seems we have to wait until a tragedy happens, or nearly happens, before we are taking our shoes off in the airport security lines and emptying our laptop bags at the checkpoints. We need to feel pain, or the threat of pain, before we start implementing security measures to fortify our borders and protect our people.

When we live our lives proactively, with purpose and on purpose, we no longer need pain to grow. Instead, we are pulled by our purposeful vision. We start to make things happen, instead of just reacting to things once they’ve already happened.


We start to plan things out, according to our soul’s purpose. Our lives take on new meaning. We begin to crystalize what’s important and what’s not. While not everyone will get our vision, we proceed in the faith that the vision that God put inside of us, will sustain us and pull us forward, victoriously. We develop a healthier relationship with pain. We still use the lessons that pain teaches us to grow, but we rely on our vision to teach us more.

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