This is the ninth installment from Suggestions from a Searcher.
A. Mission in life — What is your (unique) reason for being?
“ Average performers are goal-driven.
Peak performers are mission-driven.”
“The primary reason we don’t achieve our goals is that we don’t love them enough.”
Susan Woodring, quoted above, identifies it as a problem that we not love our goals enough. One obvious solution would be to simply do what you love to do! There is something to be said for following your passions in life. In fact, I believe that your worthwhile positive passions were planted in you by God! However, as we live our lives we take on certain responsibilities and encounter various challenges that might cause us to follow a different path than what we intended. That too can be the Lord guiding our footsteps. The beloved movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart, makes that point. “In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16: 9
I am recommending that you consciously allow the Lord to guide your steps. Everything we have been working on in this book so far is about how you discover God’s purpose for your life — your mission. The goals of this workbook are to help you understand how you fit into God’s sovereign plan. He has uniquely equipped you with certain gifts, such as talents and opportunities. Use those gifts in serving Him where you are. But having said that, I must caution you that there will be unplanned problems that may re-define the mission you earlier perceived to be your part in accomplishing God’s sovereign (big picture) plan. Therefore, be flexible. Let the Lord use you as His instrument. Do not try to manipulate Him to be your tool for accomplishing your own plan.
I find myself repeating myself as I go along and I think I know why. It is because these concepts, these truths, are inter-related. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do you first identify your areas of giftedness or first recognize God’s purpose in your circumstances? I do not have a totally clear or satisfactory approach, but let me suggest this:
Spend time with God to discover your gifts.
Use your gifts in following His plan.
Trust in Him when things don’t go as you want.
Remember Who is in charge. (Hint: It’s not you!)
Recognize that challenges are part of life.
Dr.Blackaby offers the following advice to people who wonder about what God wants them to do: “Look around and notice where God is at work; then jump in.” The potential disciple who hesitated to respond to the call to immediately come and follow Jesus apparently failed to recognize that God was at work in Jesus. He was awaiting the coming of the Messiah but the Messiah was already present and inviting him to join in the work of the Kingdom of God.
Mission statements are popular devices in the business world today. In the secular use of mission statements, God is often not an acknowledged factor. In our law firm mission statement, we tried to incorporate our shared belief that God has called us to serve Him as lawyers who see our work as a ministry. Then we stated what that work consists of for us: advocacy, counseling and peacemaking.
This next exercise is intended to help you come up with a mission plan for this stage of your life at least. Considering your past success factors, current interests, life-long passions, God-given talents, and core values, think about and pray about these three important questions:
1) What are you going to do?
2) Who are you doing it for?
Write your own personal mission statement, incorporating your answers to the three questions above. Your mission will perhaps change at various stages of life. Think about where you are now. What is your present mission? Why did God put you where you are right now? Where do you see God at work around you in your current circumstances?