I’m a reality junkie. I love to read biographies and autobiographies. I love to read real stories of missionary heroes and people who have overcome great tragedies. Every person has a story, and they are all significant and interesting. I think this is one of the many reasons I love the Bible so much, because it’s filled with real stories of real genuine people who encountered the very real God.

And I can’t get enough reality tv. I love it all. It started with Survivor, and took off from there. I’ve watched everything: The Amazing Race, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, Big Brother, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Wrestling, Celebrity Rodeo, The Apprentice, Real World, and the list goes on and on. (Yes, I know I have a problem. At least my list does NOT include The Bachelor…even a reality junkie like me has to draw the line somewhere.)

What I really love are the documentary-type reality shows, like Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, Hoarders, Swamp People, that you find on the Discovery Channel or A&E.  I enjoy the “characters” on these shows and the complexity of human beings. Their stories are often compelling, as they overcome obstacles and many times fail. Most recently, I watched a series called Gold Rush.

Gold Rush follows a group of men, unemployed and desperate, as they give up everything for a chance to strike it rich by digging for gold in Alaska. Their struggle is painful to watch as they encounter one obstacle after another, but still try to remain hopeful. After the season was over, they aired an episode with “behind the scenes” and “never before seen” footage. And these clips showed the moment when they all first arrived in Alaska.

One character I truly enjoyed was the mechanic named James. He was a rough-around-the-edges kind of guy (my favorite kind) but had a very gentle spirit…unless you messed with his pipes. He suffered physically throughout the entire season and was in a lot of pain. But he somehow managed to work harder than everyone else. I was really drawn to him. The footage showed him as he first arrived in Alaska. He was so overwhelmed with emotion, and tears fell down his well-worn bearded face. He described the feeling as, “extreme freedom.”

And I knew exactly what he was talking about. Except I wouldn’t call it freedom. I’d call it extreme purpose. It’s what I feel the second my foot hits the ground in Belize. The moment I first breathe in the salty Caribbean Sea when I land in Belize. It’s the exhilaration when one of my “kids” wraps their arms around me. It’s the joy that wells up in my soul when I hear their voices in worship. It’s the overflowing of my heart when I hear their stories of struggle.

It’s hard to describe to someone who has never experienced it, but when you find exactly what it is that God has for you in this life, it’s a feeling that no words can adequately capture. It’s like everything comes alive in a way it never had before. Every action becomes filled with purpose, even the seemingly insignificant. Breathing has fuller meaning, eating has fuller meaning, and life has fuller joy.

When I wake up every morning, I know there is eternal significance in all of my mom-jobs. I love serving my family each day, through meals and hugs and packed lunches and laundry and car conversations and the endless amount of cleaning required in my messy house. And I know that our everyday lives here are a testament to God’s gracious work in us, and I pray daily that others will come to know Him through it. But in Belize, it’s just different.

My prayer for all of you is that you will find your “Belize”, your God-given purpose, wherever it may be. And that you will be willing to lay everything else down to follow Him wherever He leads. Because in the end, it leads to Him. He is our freedom. He is our purpose.