Keep Going: Enduring Trials & Finding Your Life Purpose with Elesha Storey
What is your life purpose? It’s not an easy question to answer, especially during times of difficulty and loss. But, as this week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Elesha Storey, has learned, sometimes difficulties and losses can propel us in the direction of our life purpose and teach us valuable lessons along the way.
Though Elesha calls herself “the poster child of what not to do,” her story is full of God’s faithfulness in bringing hope and healing out of struggles and setbacks. Listen as she speaks about lessons learned, God’s provision, and how to discern – and actively chase after – your own life purpose.
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- What inspired Elesha to create a movement to help people discover their life purpose
- The importance of hiring the right person to help with your book – and what can happen if you don’t
- How to balance patience and action in following God’s will
- How trusting God with the outcome of your obedience can open doors you never would have thought possible
- Elesha’s advice for those who feel discouraged and aren’t sure how to move forward into their life purpose
Be sure to read all the way to the end for important links and information!
For many of us, there have been seasons when it was really easy to see that God was moving in our lives, and there have been other times when it was more difficult. In those times, we find ourselves having to be very intentional about noticing His handiwork, because of the setbacks and trials we’re in the midst of.
It’s important for us to look for ways that God is moving, even in difficult times. When we do, we grow in our faith, and we learn to trust God even when times are tough. And as we learn to trust God, we move closer to fulfilling our life purpose.
Elesha Storey is no stranger to difficult times. Her story encourages and inspires us to see God moving, because God is always working for our good and His glory, even when things seem to be going wrong. Elesha challenges us to trust in Him – to have hope and peace, even in the midst of trial – and to make the most of the time God has given us, because we are here to make a difference.
What Does It Mean To DASH?
Elesha’s message came to her in a unique way in 2015. While placing flowers on the graves of her family members at her father’s funeral, something caught her attention. “I just looked at that small dash between their birthday and the day that they passed away and went home to be with the Lord,” Elesha recalls. “And I thought, ‘That is such a small representation of some grand, awesome people.’”
As Elesha thought about the impact these people had made in such a short time on earth, she asked herself what she was doing with her own “dash.” What was her life purpose that would make a lasting impact on people around her? Those questions led to another idea, which eventually became her central message: “DASHING” to Elesha means “Dying to Achieve Success and Happiness IN God.”
“A lot of people don’t want to talk about it, but we’re going to die one day,” Elesha explains. “So you’ve got to remember there’s a life here, but there’s another life on the other side of that. ASH, ‘Achieve Success and Happiness.’ That abundant life is promised by God, and it looks a little different for everyone, and it’s best achieved when you’re IN God – ING.”
Elesha defines DASHING as a call, not just to exist or to live, but to pursue a higher level and to chase after one’s true life purpose. At a time when she was experiencing great loss, Elesha realized that God was calling her to breathe life into something new.
That’s an important message for us all: when something leaves the scene – when one dream dies – there’s an opportunity for something new. While we shouldn’t downplay the importance or the value of what we’ve lost, we should also remember to look for what new thing God is creating instead.
A Movement Comes Through Action
Elesha’s initial vision for her DASHING idea was to use apparel to inspire people every time they looked in the mirror. But through the advice of coaches and mentors, and through prompting from God, she realized that it needed to be much more – it needed to become a lifestyle. It needed to become a movement that would help and encourage people to seek and live out their life purpose.
“We’re going out there inspiring, equipping, and helping people to find their dash and live it,” Elesha says. “God has had a purpose and plan for your life – for your dash – from the beginning. And he’s just waiting for you to add “ing,” which is now you’re DASHING, and you’re doing more than just existing and living. And it’s not just about this life, but it’s the life beyond.”
Think about it: words that end with the letters “ing” usually mean that an action is taking place. With DASHING, Elesha reminds us that it’s not enough just to understand that you have a finite amount of time on this earth to make an impact – you have to make a decision to do things differently. You have to act on the purpose and the plan that God has for you.
Choose the Right People
At first, Elesha had no intention of writing a book. Even after a consultant compiled a written version of things Elesha had said during their conversation and asked her to finish it and turn it into a book, Elesha didn’t feel those words captured what she really wanted to say, so she pushed the idea off for another year.
Then, having been laid off due to COVID and taking care of her mother, she found the time and the inspiration to write. “What I wanted to do was do something totally different to inspire people based on things that I know and what I’ve gone through in my life,” Elesha recalls.
It took her several months to complete the book, a 30-day devotional, and the end result surprised even her: “There are some things in there I would have never even thought I could think of. The book is structured in a way that it makes sense, that it flows, that it is relatable. And I didn’t think I had that in me. And that’s God, again, working through my dash.”
Still, there were difficulties to navigate, especially when it came time to get the book edited. Elesha reached out to her network to find an editor, and chose someone she knew. But again, the work that was returned didn’t reflect her voice or the message she wanted to convey.
Eventually, Elesha found an editor who, in her own words, “wouldn’t just tell you how to do it or tell you what you’re doing wrong, she would teach you. So she would push back on me and give me options and resources.” But though the experience was frustrating and discouraging, Elesha learned the valuable lesson that sometimes, the people you know aren’t necessarily the best people to work on your book. She learned that it’s important to carefully vet anyone you work with, even if you already know them.
The Balancing Act: Patience vs. Action
Elesha also learned to be patient with herself when the process took longer than she wanted it to, and to stand by her vision even when others tried to convince her to change the direction of her work. She had to trust that the way her book needed to be written and formatted would appeal to the right people, instead of altering it to appeal to most people.
“We all know the definition of dash,” Elesha says, “but when you add ‘-ing,’ that definition changes. It changes to ‘stylish, bold, and full of spirit.’ So you need to put ‘-ing’ on your dash. Then you are bold, and you don’t have any fear about doing what God has called you to do. When you look like God, you look dashing. So you’re stylish. And you’re full of the Holy Spirit.”
As Elesha has learned, writing a book – and building a business – is a balancing act between patience and taking decisive action. Sometimes we can be in such a rush to get something done based on a timeline that we have set, that we may not allow enough time for us to truly hear what steps we are to take. We shouldn’t be afraid to be still, to take some time and really discern whether the steps we are about to take are the right ones.
But we shouldn’t go too far to that extreme, either, because sometimes waiting can be just a fancy way of procrastinating. Sometimes we know we should be taking action, but we say, “I’m praying about it” as an excuse for not taking that action. Instead, we must find that balance between patiently looking to God for inspiration and guidance and stepping out in faith-driven action toward our life purpose and calling.
Trust God with the Outcome
The good news is that even when we get off course, God can use it all for good. Even when we don’t take the best path, we can learn from the experience, and those lessons can not only help us in the future, but also be a testimony that prevents others from making the same mistakes we did.
Despite all the missteps, frustrations, and naysayers, Elesha was able to get her book finished and into the hands of the people who needed to read it. “I was the poster child for what not to do and using those setbacks as a reason to procrastinate,” she admits, “so it was just phenomenal that I finished it. It just made my heart open, and made me want to do more. Because now I’ve had a successful book. I’ve had a successful song. I know that DASHING is something that’s going to impact lives.”
Though some people told her the book would never make an impact, Elesha has seen that it resonates with exactly the people it’s supposed to resonate with. “I just have to move forward, regardless of what anybody thinks or says, because God has the people who I’m supposed to impact ready for me to do so,” Elesha says.
That’s not to say she wasn’t apprehensive about putting herself out there. Elesha knew that if she shared personal experiences, she was likely to receive judgment and negative feedback, but to her relief, that didn’t happen. She believes this is yet another example proving that she’s fulfilling her life purpose and doing exactly what God wants her to do.
Elesha’s story is a great example of being obedient and trusting God with the outcome. If God is leading you to share a certain message, then it’s going to be a blessing to someone. And what happens after you share it isn’t on you at all – that’s up to God. Ultimately, we don’t control our own reputations or how people respond to our stories. As Elesha says, “You’re responsible for the ‘what,’ and God’s responsible for the ‘how.’”
God Provides Right on Time
Elesha’s journey has been one of many ups and downs, but through it all, God continues to show His faithfulness. She shares one particular story about His provision during a time of great need. Having just lost her father and her job, Elesha found herself in a difficult place financially, especially as hiring the wrong people for her book ended up costing her extra.
While searching for business funding, Elesha applied for a $10,000 grant from Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD Foundation and the NAACP, not really expecting to win – but she did. That money supplied what she needed to publish her book, continue building her business, and sustain her finances. “God was just right on time with that, like He’s always been,” she says.
Recalling another incident when she was in a terrible car accident as a teenager and yet walked away unscathed, Elesha says she now knows her life was spared for a purpose. And 40 years later, she’s living that life purpose. “I didn’t appreciate it back then,” she explains, “but now I know He spared me for this. That He took me right back to a place of loss, where I can learn from my losses and move forward.”
These stories are just two examples of the ways God has shown His faithfulness in the midst of adversity in Elesha’s life. Now, she’s committed to sharing those stories with others, and inspiring them to keep moving toward fulfilling their own life purpose.
“These days, it’s all about ‘YOLO’ and ‘living my best life,’” Elesha observes. “But this ain’t your only life. There’s more on the other side. And you need to remember that your dash has a purpose. You fulfill that purpose, and it will move you towards your place in heaven.”
Don’t Give Up on Your Life Purpose
Maybe you, like Elesha, have experienced struggles, setbacks, and pain, and you’re discouraged because it’s hard to believe that something good could be waiting on the other side.
If that’s you, Elesha wants you to know first and foremost that you are valuable, that you are worth it, and that God loves you and has put you on earth for a reason.
“Failure is not final,” Elesha says. “It’s never too late. And I know these all sound cliché, but they are true. And God has a purpose and a plan for you, and He loves you. He has your best interest at heart, and everything that you’ve gone through – your test to get your testimony – any setbacks, any hurts, God uses those.”
We’re often taught that we need to be independent, but Elesha adds that God didn’t intend for us to be alone. No matter what you’re going through right now, there are people and resources available to help you through it, so don’t be afraid to reach out. And above all, keep moving forward toward the life purpose that God has given you, even if you aren’t totally sure what it is just yet.
“You never know how close you are to your breakthrough,” Elesha concludes. “It can be the next day, it can be the next minute, or the next hour. So don’t give up. Just keep moving forward, in little tiny baby steps… God has a plan for you, and He wants you to reach it.”
Elesha Storey is a passionate creative who after losing her father re-evaluated her life and found her purpose. God turned tragedy into victory when He dropped DASHING (Dying to Achieve Success and Happiness IN God) into her spirit. Elesha took that revelation from God and created a business (dashing apparel®) and a movement (The DASHING Nation™) inspiring and equipping others to start Dashing. Addressing mind, body and spirit through books, music, apparel, media, and conferences and changing the definition of apparel to include clothed in Christ head to toe inside and out. She has one son, is a Human Resources leader, and an active member of her church in Plano, Texas. Elesha’s mission is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, inspiring and equipping others to find and embrace their purpose and abundant earthly and eternal life IN God.