Like most of Governor Palin's supporters, and many of her detractors, I read Going Rogue the moment it hit the shelves in late 2009 to get a deeper sense of who she is, what she's accomplished, and where she might be headed. I have also listened to the CD several times and continue to do so, over and over.
In spite of having digested its contents a plethora of times, my favorite part remains unchanged. Every time I hear the Governor's voice reading that portion, I have to rewind it and listen again--and again. It resonates in my spirit, encouraging me greatly. I know, from my own personal experience, exactly what she means, so I grab ahold of every word and the spirit behind it. In addition, this portion, without question, is the single most powerful tool to understanding how she arrived where she is today and how she will fulfill her destiny in life--whatever that destiny is.
Pages 103-104, which ends chapter 2, reads:
There was a longing inside me that winter, a sense of purpose hovering just beyond my vision. Was it ambition? I didn't think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons. Purpose calls.
I definitely wasn't driven toward any particular goal, like power or fame or wealth. So what was it? I wondered, as Piper's sweet breath against my neck matched the rocker's rhythmic glide. I prayed again that if I was to resign myself to what felt like a public service career cut short, that I'd embrace being home full-time. I asked that the fire in my belly, and whatever was feeding it, would simmer down.
I thought of a passage from the book of Jeremiah 29: 11-13: "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans for peace and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. When you call upon Me I will hear you, when you search for Me you will find Me; if you seek Me with all your heart.'"
It irked me that too often women are made to feel guilty for seeking the next open door, no matter what career choices we make. That seems universal. But one doesn't just create passion, nor consciously generate the feeling that there's a door standing open somewhere, even if you can't see it yet. And it wasn't anyone who pressured me: "Sarah, you've got to get out there and fly! Go do more!" But I knew there was something more.
I thought of the graduation speeches I had been honored to give over the years as mayor and began to apply their message to myself. I often told the kids to ask themselves: "What gets you excited to wake up in the morning? Is it science? Art? Children, animals, books, sports, mechanics? What is the desire of your heart?
I'd add: "God put those in you not to tease or frustrate you--He created them in you to give you direction! To put you on the right path--He bridles your passion! So stop and think about what you love to do, then look for signposts along the way that confirm you're on the right path to doing that--doors opening, people with your best interests at heart supporting what you're doing."
I wasn't sure what I was to do next, yet. But I also knew I was blessed with a supportive family and a husband who took joy in my working hard, so I knew I had options. As I rocked my daughter all those dark nights, I knew that what still stirred passion in me was the desire to make a positive difference for others, not just in my family and community but in the wider world as well. I resolved to seek confirming signs along the way--the open doors--to show me the right road.
Nevermind what this speaks to me, to my own life. At a time when many of Governor Palin's most ardent supporters are still trying to come to grips with her October 5th announcement that she is not seeking the GOP nomination, and others, not willing to let go yet, look for ways to convince her to reconsider, I believe we can get a very good look at how she's always conducted herself and how she will continue to conduct herself. Her modus operandi--her paradigm--is summed up in my favorite passage. What I take away from it is certainly not earth-shattering, but it merits explication, particularly at this time:
1. She is well aware that she has been called to great purpose.
What distinguishes Governor Palin from many others is that she truly is a public servant. She's not driven by aspirations of grandeur. Her ascendancy is the result of pursuing her purpose, not fixating on fame and fortune.
2. The fire in her belly is nothing new.
Greta Van Susteren asked her about it, but this certainly wasn't the first time she acknowledged it. Indeed, she's possessed that fire for a long time. Nonetheless, she submitted that fire to God, to the point of even asking God to remove it, if need be, proving again that she's more interested in where she's supposed to be and what she's supposed to be doing than she is in forging her own way and doing her own thing. She doesn't deny the fire; she's just willing to lay it down. However, as she now knows, no doubt, it was God who put it in her, and He knows exactly how to use it.
3. Outside pressure is not the motivating factor in her life.
The beckoning Governor Palin felt, and ultimately acted upon, wasn't because of any pressure others put on her. No one had to push her forward or tell her there was more. She knew it already. I submit that she knew it more than those around her did, just as she knows it more today than her supporters do. After all, it's her belly; she can feel the fire! She embraced her destiny because she could sense it. She was not oblivious to it. Perhaps it took her some time that winter, sitting in her rocker, holding baby Piper and praying, to know what was next, but she knew there was a next, and she was willing to seek the way to get there. I'm convinced that she would never ignore the answers she receives as she seeks them, no matter the pressure.
4. She never conjures up passion.
Passion isn't manufactured, she realizes. How true. Countless times people try to feign excitement about some issue or movement. That might work for a while, but eventually faking gets wearisome. Many times I've heard: "Some things are taught, and some things are caught." Passion is one of those things that cannot be taught; it's caught--or it isn't. If you don't have it, you'll soon know--and so will others. Governor Palin exudes passion, which is the only way she could possibly have remained such a vital part of the political landscape after all the smears, lies, and innuendoes she's endured with such stamina and grace.
5. Family is a vital part of her decision-making process.
The Governor finds peace in knowing that she has a family who knows she's been called to make a difference--first, to her own family; then, to her community; and finally, to the world. Their support gives her the freedom to exercise options in life. Every success she's enjoyed is the result of her family cheering her on. They will always be a part of what she chooses--or doesn't choose--to pursue.
6. What draws her directs her.
Governor Palin is aware God puts things in everyone's path to lead us forward, not to drive us up a wall with frustration. In other words, we are to do something with the something that is within us. The key is to look for the open doors so we can walk through them. We are to look for things that confirm the road we are to be on. We can be assured that this message she often shared with high school graduates and eventually with Going Rogue readers is a message that she takes to heart personally. It was never lost on her, and she has not since forgotten. How could she? Everywhere she looks, the Governor must see open doors, must see people supporting her efforts, and must see signposts pointing. I have no doubt, therefore, that she must say to herself, as she so often says to others, "The world is your oyster."
There was a time I thought I knew Governor Palin's next step. I cannot say that with certainty now. Though I do not know details, I do know destiny when I see it--and I continue to see that all over her. As Going Rogue has become a constant in my life, allowing me a look into what has made Governor Palin who she is, my favorite passage continues to give me confidence that she has the right idea when it comes to knowing how to move forward even now. I am convinced that she has the right approach to meeting life's challenges and decisions. Because of this, I am also convinced she won't miss the open doors that are set before her, including ones that lead her down the path of further impacting our country. However that ends up playing out, I trust that America will be the better for it.