At 10 years old, I wanted to be a pro basketball player. At 20, I had my sight set on a corporate job where the dress code was suit and tie. At 40, my aim was to launch my own business, and at 50 I switched from focusing on my work to picturing a log home by the lake. Not long afterwards, I realized none of my ambitons were big enough. They were all about what I could do, not about what God could do. And none of them really suited me.
“So,” I wondered … “what is my mission?”
My own theory is that we all know in our heart and gut which direction we should be headed in life. Knowing what we should do isn’t the problem … doing what we know is the real issue.
But, how do I get clear on that when my mind is worried about (important) things like how much money I’ll make, where I’ll live, how to get the education I need, and such? I might want to be a songwriter, for instance … but that seems like a longshot idea that isn’t likely to pan out. What can I do to get past the noise?
Here’s an Os Hillman Approach to Mission Discovery
I’ve been a subscriber to Os Hillman’s email newsletter for over a decade. One of my mentors, Terry Shumaker, recommended the Os approach to help me bridge the gap between my business desires and my spiritual life. Turns out you don’t need to work for a church or be a pastor to “work for God.”
I attended an Os training last week where he taught the method one of his mentors showed him about determining mission. If you’re stuck between what you need to do and what you want to do, this could be helpful:
- List a dozen or so personal descriptors: List your gifts, one word at a time. Don’t list general things like “happy” or “determined” that can apply to anyone. List things like “teacher” or “leader” or “athlete” — special traits and abilities not everyone possesses.
- Choose the top three or four descriptors from that list: Circle the ones that most jump out at you, that most accurately describe who you are and seem most important to you. Leave the opinion of others out of this exercise. This is only for you.
- Create a statement that uses those descriptors to describe yourself: Who you are is a major key to your mission. Don’t rush this process. Take your time. Sit with it, think about it, pray about it.
After listening to Os describe the process, I realized the tagline I’ve used for years is still right on: Writer, Dreamer, Believer. After the session, I added “disciple” to my descriptors. But where’s the mission in that?
Here’s one angle: Don Sturgill shares his vision for helping believers become disciples and disciples become believers by writing and speaking about The Someday Plan.
Try it for yourself. You’ve nothing to lose (but your current confusion) and plenty to gain. Wouldn’t if feel great to know you’re in sync with your mission now? On the other hand, wouldn’t it feel great to finally understand who you are and why you’re here?
And if you got something out of this exercise, thank Os by registering for his newsletter, or join me and other believers in his Change Agent program. I don’t get a financial kickback from telling you about Os, but if his work is something God has for you, I’m more than happy to help point you that way.
Time is short, my friend. Use it wisely.