October – A month of purpose

By Codi Vallery-Mills
This month, in two completely different settings, I was asked the question, “What is your purpose?”
The first time the question was posed it was from North Dakota State University’s Dr. Gerald Stokka, DVM who was speaking at the South Dakota Women in Ag’s annual fall conference. He asked the room full of women what our purpose as farmers and ranchers is. The obvious answer of course is that we create the world’s food supply. “And what a great purpose those in Ag have,” said Stokka. “To produce such a need as food gives one great authority, but what comes with authority? Responsibility.”
One of Stokka’s roles at NDSU revolves around livestock stewardship. However, that day his message on responsible livestock stewardship went deeper than a textbook explanation.With authority to produce food comes the responsibility to be stewards of – land, animals, self, family, community, culture, philosophy – and the list could go on, he explained. Whatever helps one accomplish careful and responsible management of something entrusted to ones care requires stewardship. He suggests that those in the ag industry need to reinvest in passionately finding their purpose and stewardship will likely follow. “Science glazes over the passion . . . you know, that thing that makes you bring a calf into your home’s bathroom tub to warm up so it has a chance at life.”
Stokka asked the women that day to create a mission statement for ones self and put an emphasis on stewardship of the gifts, creativity, culture and philosophy one has to carry out their mission’s purpose.
Also in October I heard a church sermon series based around the word S.H.A.P.E., where each letter stood for something different. S stands for spiritual gifts, H stands for heart, A stands for abilities, P is for personality and E is Experience.  The pastor asked for each of us to consider the above letters by putting into context what true spiritual gifts and abilities we have to offer others. Are we introverts? Extroverts? Procrastinators? Competitors? And what is our background? Above all else though, where is our heart (aka. Passion).
Once you have identified items for each letter you will likely see areas that overlap, duplicate and maybe even offer a glimpse at a purpose you hadn’t thought about. I know I did.
The sermon flashed me back to Stokka’s presentation where he mentioned using our creative abilities, compassionate hearts, and unique selves to accomplish being stewards of agriculture and the rural lifestyles many of us live.
So I leave October a little more aware of my own purpose on earth and hope that you too are walking a path that speaks to your heart.

© 2014 Codi Vallery-Mills

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