Archive for Uniqueness

Stages of Purpose

If we think about purpose as something that grows within each of us, like a garden, we can break down these growth stages.  Just like when you plant a garden you first have to prepare your soil and your garden area, then you put the seeds or starter plants in the ground, you then care for them as they grow and then comes the day when you get to go out to your garden and collect the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor.

Each of these stages are important for us to develop skills or uncover gifts that we have to aid us in the purpose.  In fact without preparation we might never even discover our purpose to begin with.  Let’s walk through the four stages and see if you can figure out where you might currently be as it pertains to your purpose.

Stage 1 – The “Groundwork”: So of course there are a number of things that help define who we are as individuals.  There are the circumstances of our birth, the family we are born into, our innate personality traits, our growth environment, our spiritual upbringing, the gifts God has given us, the skills we learn to support those gifts, and the passions that are spoken into us.  In addition, we all have life lessons we learn, both good and bad experiences we go through, and people that provide guidance and influence as we build the foundations of who we are.

The “Groundwork” stage is where we get our unique and individual identity.  We grow into our own person by taking all of these things and blending them together to make us who we are and define who we will continue to become. If you have prepared your groundwork well, it becomes the foundation upon which everything you do moving forward is built upon.  We are able to make specific connections to things that will occur as we pass through life to the work done and understanding gained during this stage of our purpose development.  You can think about a specific crisis in your life and how it cultivated a passion to take on a cause. Or a person that you cared about who you helped through an issue that became something you wanted to help address.

Stage 2 – The Sowing: We begin sowing our purpose from the minute we have made a decision to enter the world and interact with it as the developed individual that comes out of Stage 1 above.  This might mean you are entering the workforce.  It might mean you have been called to mission work or working for a non-profit on a cause that fuels your passions. Maybe it means you have been gifted to be a parent and that is to be your career.

The most important thing to understand is that regardless of what or where you garden ends up being you were built and gifted to be in that garden.  You might not always understand why you are where you are or doing what you are doing, but if you have listed to your passions and followed the gifts God has provided for you the place you are sowing your garden is where you are supposed to be.  As with a garden, when you are sowing the seeds of your purpose in this stage it may not be clear to you what the whole garden, or the bigger picture of your life, is supposed to look like.

Stage 3 – The Growing: As soon as seeds are sown and water is applied they begin to change.  The seed begins to transform and because of that it stops being a seed.  Once you have settled into your immediate purpose you should immediately begin to feel this same growth and change. You begin to reach out to others, extending your connections with people that can help you support your purpose.  Situations begin to unfold before you in ways that make things just seem like they are right.  This does not mean that everything is smooth sailing!  Just like your garden needs constant weeding and care so does your life.

You need to continue to learn, to experience, and to listen for the leadings that help you navigate your purpose.  You need to be strong enough to know what to ask for support and humble enough to accept it when offered. Each of these experiences help sustain your growth and bring strength to you and your purpose.  Because of the challenges many people abandon their purpose before it has a chance to fully develop and reveal itself.  They expect that since they are “doing what they are supposed to be” that it will just be easy, or that it won’t require work, or that God will just make it happen.  However, there is nothing that says once you are on your right path that everything is downhill.  In fact in almost every instance the opposite is almost always true.  Be one of those that perseveres and is rewarded by working through the challenges.

Stage 4 – The Harvesting: Now comes the hard part, the harvesting of your garden. The garden that is your purpose produces so many great and wonderful things.  It might produce cures for diseases.  It might help the next generation through education. It might be that your purpose was instrumental in providing service to one or one thousand people over the course of your life. It might be that your purpose provided you with the financial resources to support the missionary efforts of others or to be able to server others directly. In any case when you begin harvesting it will all seem to come together and you will be living in what we often call the “sweet spot”.

There is however one important thing to remember.  Everyone wants to see the work that they have put in and the care that they have provided produce great vegetables and fruits.  If you have been successful at growing your purpose and caring for it you expect to see what it produces.  Many people are able to see that, but many others never get to see the impact that they have or the good that comes from their purpose and passions. In the book “Crazy Love” author Francis Chan relays a story about a young girl.  Her passion was to help bring people to accept Jesus Christ.  To do this she created a program to provide bibles to school students.  She passed out hundreds and thousands of bibles.  Her life ended tragically too young, before she graduated high school.  She never fully got to see the impact she had on the world around her, but several thousand people came to her funeral and on that day hundreds of students accepted Christ.

So take heart… Just because you are living in your purpose doesn’t mean everything is easy.  It also doesn’t mean that you are going to be “rewarded” with an ability to see the good that you do. But if you ware living in your purpose, you will do good…

“Surrender your life completely. Steward your unique style wisely. Serve others passionately.” ~~ Erik Rees – “Only You Can Be You”- Howard Books, 2009

Finding Uniqueness – Part 5

Okay so closing out the series here on Finding Uniqueness.  I wanted to start with this topic on this blog primarily because it is a basis for everything else that I want to bring forward for discussion as we move forward.  Your uniqueness defines you as an individual, as an employee, as a leader, as a follower, as a team member, as a wife or husband, as a son or daughter, in pretty much every way.  The reason for this is that your uniqueness is based on your personality and the traits contained within that personality. Read more

Finding Uniqueness – Part 4

Well welcome back. Sorry for being a little behind schedule. This is a perfect example of how at times balancing day job, home job and dream job isn’t always easy. Things in the day job and home job expand to fill time and thus try to squeeze out the dream job. It takes effort to make sure you are carving out the time to pursue your dream. Sometimes the dream is easy prey and sometimes it requires much more effort. But that is for another post…

So today the discussion on finding your uniqueness shifts gears a little. Uniqueness doesn’t just happen. I believe we are all give our unique set of skills, gifts and experiences for a purpose. I have talked a little about what it might look like if we were to find a way to live out our passions. But why? What drives us to pursue our passions? Why do we feel like we do when we are living and working in our sweet spot. Read more

Finding Uniqueness – Part 3

So back from my short birthday respite… In the last post I left off talking about what happens when we move past our passions and what might be our underlying purpose and move into something we might be skilled at, but don’t enjoy. So what does that look like? For some it means getting promoted out of their passions or beyond their abilities. For some it means following the path that is expected, climbing the ladder of success because they are supposed to. Read more

Finding Uniqueness – Part 2

Okay so last we left my story we were comparing presenting current events to the walk to the electric chair.  So don’t get me wrong I hated every part of the homework for this exercise. I didn’t really like reading the news, and liked writing about it even less.  I was even rubber cement challenged and very seldom did I get my article on the paper without some sort of incident. Read more

Finding Uniqueness – Part 1

Everyone calls it something. Passion. Purpose. Life calling. Dream job. One book even calls it your Why. It is the IT of our professional lives.  Everyone says you have to find IT. Search IT out. Learn what IT is. What if we already know what IT is?  Not only that what if we have already done IT at some point in our lives?  What if we are doing IT or some portion of IT right now? Read more