Tuesday, April 2, 2019

How to Live Your Life Purpose: An Inventory of Strengths, Part One

Have you ever wondered whether you are living up to your full potential, particularly as you straddle the doldrums of parenthood? If so, I invite you to join me in this series entitled, "How to Live Your Life Purpose." This week we begin step three, which is an inventory of strengths. For material on the first two steps, longing and surrender, be sure to read previous posts on my website. Also, subscribers will get exclusive material from this series emailed to them, so be sure that you have subscribed here.

Pinpointing our longing and surrendering to God are key factors to living our life purpose. Another aspect that’s essential to living it is an honest assessment of our strengths and a willingness to use them. In other words, we must discern God’s plan and then give the best of our very selves.

Sometimes it’s easy to be nitpicky with ourselves. Rather than having gratitude and appreciation for what we’re doing right, we focus on our shortcomings and what we’re doing wrong. Living our purpose calls us to use and build upon our strengths. One psychologist claims, “I do not believe that you should devote overly much effort to correcting your weaknesses. Rather, I believe that the highest success in living and the deepest emotional satisfaction comes from building and using your signature strengths.” * We can't forget that our Creator has gifted us for a reason.

Sometimes we are aware of our signature strengths because we’ve manifested and cultivated them from an early age. Sometimes they need some reflection. Maybe they’ve long been latent, and it takes the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of others to bring them to light. Or new experiences unearth talent we never knew we had. Or we see our strength functioning one way, but God takes it in a completely different direction that somehow still “fits.”

Being mindful of our strengths is essential because it is a biblical imperative that we use them. Jesus teaches us this in the Parable of the Talents. In Matthew 25, a master gives three servants a sum of money to look after in his absence. Two of the three servants successfully trade and double their master’s money. One servant, however, buries his money in the ground in fear. Upon his return, the master commends the first two and banishes the third.

While the talents are money in the parable, they also represent our own giftedness or strengths. We are to use those our Creator God has given us in Jesus’ service. Rather than shrink back in fear, we are called to employ and multiply those gifts for God’s glory. The parable is clear that God will not only acknowledge our willingness through a close accounting but will also richly reward it.

This conclusion fits with the parable of the pearl too. In that parable, the merchant receives a great reward indeed. This exchange costs him everything he owns, however. Mining our gifts for our Creator’s plan shows the wise investing of our very selves for God’s glory. Stay tuned for helpful pointers to help us do just that from a contemporary resource, continued study of theology and scripture, and examples from my own life story as we further explore this step!

* Robert and Kim Voyle, Yes 3! Participant Guide (Clergy Leadership Institute, 2006), 32.

Did you miss my recent sermon or Chaos to Calm show with NYT bestselling author, Dr. Leonard Sax? To watch the sermon and a surprise reading by acclaimed children's author Laura Sassi, click here. To hear Dr. Sax weigh in on boys' education and the effects of video games, click here. Don't forget to "thumbs up" the videos! Thank you for your support!

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