Dakoda’s Story

“I’ve realized that life isn’t as “cookie-cutter” as we can sometimes make it out to be in our minds. I believe that we have been created by a Mighty God who is incredibly creative in the ways He works in our lives. I have witnessed it firsthand.”

–Dakoda

When you were younger, what did you think your life would look like? How did your dreams for the future change?

It depends on what age you asked me! Overall, I have always been someone who knew the course I wanted to take and pursued it.

Sure, there was a time that I dreamed of being a professional soccer player.

There were times I dreamed of living in a small mountain town as an outdoor guide and taking groups of people on mountain adventures. But, as I got older my dreams changed. And to be honest, my life looks a little bit like I thought it would.

I am married to an incredible husband and enjoy my current career as a nurse. Although my life looks like I thought it would, is also looks different … life is fuller and more fulfilling than I imagined.

When I was younger, I had a much narrower worldview and mindset, simply because I had not experienced a lot of the world. Not that I have experienced everything at this point in life, but I have grown and learned a lot since high school (I would hope!).

I’ve realized that life isn’t as “cookie-cutter” as we can sometimes make it out to be in our minds. I believe that we have been created by a Mighty God who is incredibly creative in the ways He works in our lives.

I have witnessed it first hand. So, I think I have always been someone who knew what she wanted, and fortunately was given opportunities to pursue these desires, but oh boy, God orchestrated it all.

What were the kinds of pivotal moments that led you to where you are today?

There were multiple moments that have shaped me into the person I am today. Here are a few of the big ones that come to mind.

In eighth grade, I decided that I wanted to not just follow God because my parents believed in Him. I decided that if I was going to follow God, I needed to allow Him to influence every aspect of my life. This was pivotal because from that point on, I had a steady purpose in my life, no matter what obstacles I faced.

Going to college also shaped me in dramatic ways. College was where I made some of my best friends, fell in love, and met my husband. It was also the place where I learned to process parts of my past, learn more about myself, learned to fail, ask for help, and how to be a support for others while maintaining my own mental and emotional health in the process.

Many of these experiences shaped me and carried with me throughout life.  They now influence how I keep healthy relationships, my beliefs about God, and even strengthened my nursing practice.

What are you learning right now?

Right now, I am learning how to rest. I am a “do-er.” If there is work to be done, I will work myself with no limit with the motivation to rest when it is all finished.

But here’s the thing about life … There is ALWAYS more work to be done. So, if I wait to rest and care for myself when the work is finished, I will simply find more things to busy myself with … until I crash and burn. So, I am learning when it is healthy to keep pushing, and when it is best to simply rest.

I am also learning more about listening to God and hearing from Him. Western culture focuses heavily on the physical realm and is very uncomfortable with “spiritual” things.

This mindset has even permeated into Western followers of God. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a culture where followers of God have come to believe that hearing from God is either impossible or incredibly difficult. However, I am learning that God LOVES to communicate with us directly and if you listen, He WILL speak.

So, I am trying to practice the act of simply listening more often, because it’s hard for God to speak if all we do is talk to Him, but never even give Him the chance to speak.

What do you love about your life in this moment?

I love appreciating the little things about the season that I am in.

I love that I have been at my job for about two years now. This means I am past the point of being anxious every day going into work and learning a WHOLE new career, but I am at the point where most days I legitimately enjoy what I do.

I love the people God has placed in my life. I love the friendships he has gifted me with and a loving and caring husband who is my dear, constant confidant.

The thing I love MOST about my life is that no matter what trial comes, or which direction life takes me, my identity is not rooted in my career, relationship status, social status, etc. … my identity is rooted in the fact that I am beloved by Jesus and He gives me purpose.

I love that this fact is STEADFAST and constant, so no matter which direction life goes … my identity and purpose never change.

What brings you joy/fills your soul?

NATURE. I love being outside, especially in the mountains. Sometimes, if I am having a bad day or am stuck in a super negative mindset, it’s AMAZING what a ten-minute walk in the sunshine at the park does for my soul. All of a sudden I feel lighter and more human again!

If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

It would depend on what part of life they wanted advice on! But here are a few things I carry with me:

  1. Following God is the single most important thing you will do with your entire life. Make Him your purpose and strive to follow Him.
  2. The older you get and the more you learn … the more you realize you don’t know. So be a lifelong learner.
  3. Realize that no one wakes up in the morning and says, “I am going to make it my goal to be the worst possible human today!” Everyone goes about each days simply trying their best. So if we interact with one another knowing that we are all trying our best, we are more easily filled with grace for one another … and ourselves!

What do you wish everyone knew about being a nurse?

Man, I love being a nurse. I really wish that everyone could shadow a nurse for a day so that they could understand what the work is like. (At least so everyone could understand our semi-dark sense of humor!)

But, not every day is a dream. Some days, I still dream of a 9-5 desk job. Some days, I fill a 12-hour shift with monotonous tasks and computer charting … oh and a lot of POOP. Hehe.

But, what I do love about nursing is that you get to walk 12 hours with someone in moments when they are most vulnerable. There are days that I get to hold the hand of someone who has a family member dying or just received a difficult diagnosis. Whether my day is filled with monotony and grouchy sick people, or it’s filled with heart-wrenching tender moments, my prayer before I go into work is always the same:

Jesus,

Guide my hands, words, and feet today. Keep my mind clear and keep my patients safe. May I be slow to speak and quick to listen. May my patient experience the love You have for them through me today.

How can readers connect with you?

Instagram: @kodakellaaa

Facebook: Dakoda Keller

***You can request me if you want to connect more! But I don’t often accept strangers, so send me a message too so I know who you are 🙂 ****

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