“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
So said Catherine of Siena, a fourteenth century philosopher and theologian. I came across this arresting quote in a Relevant magazine article by Jenni Catron, executive director of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Catron’s article dealt with finding and following one’s passion, and offered several tips. Here are a few of them.
Conduct a Self-Inventory
What are the gifts and talents you possess? What experiences and opportunities have shaped your life thus far? This collection of gifts, talents, experiences and opportunities is unique to you. It’s what begins to define and set you apart.Take time and reflect on these nuances that make you unique.
Self-reflection is a key step IFWE’s Dr. Art Lindsley recommends whenever he gives advice about how to find one’s calling. He adds that reflecting with a friend is also helpful for finding your passion:
Also, there is no substitute for having a wise friend listen to you and reflect back like an accurate mirror what they see.
Conduct a self-inventory, but take time to share it with a friend or family member.
Build a Plan
Here Catron encourages taking the results of your self-inventory and building a plan around them. But where do you start?
There is a problem, though: the process of planning is often cumbersome and overwhelming…I would suggest the key lies in simplicity. It’s impossible to keep fifty goals in front of you, but it is possible to keep three goals in front of you. If you add to this the discipline of reviewing your goals and updating them regularly, then with prayer, discipline, and creativity, it is possible to make your goals happen.
This post of Perman’s contains a lot of advice for planning out your goals and achieving them.
Resist What Holds You Back
This tip reminded me of the one-talent servant from the Parable of the Talents, who buried what amounts to roughly a million dollars and then hemmed and hawed when the master asked for his return.
Catron’s advice for not ending up like this servant? More self-awareness. She declares that,
We quickly create excuses for why we can’t do what we long to do. Whatever the challenge you’re facing, you must be aware of the resistance you create for yourself, often subconsciously.
Remembering that our work matters to God, and that he will hold us accountable for the gifts, talents, and opportunities he gives us, is also good motivation for doing everything for the glory of God.
Start Where You Are
Pursuing your passion involves what Steve Garber refers to as “long obedience in the same direction.” Catron explains that,
Every significant dream begins with seemingly insignificant steps. Construct the scaffolding that will support the building of your vision. Approach each day with the intention to take another step, to lay another brick.
Before taking that first step, though, it’s good to keep in mind both what you enjoying doing and what you’re good at.
As Matt Perman has written, sometimes we confuse passion with a feeling, when it’s really a certain activity or set of activies. Writing about someone seeking their passion, he explains:
…what the person needs to do is seek a specific role in their preferred arena that “fits” with specific activities that they are good at and that energize them.
These steps will get you on your way to finding your specific purpose, that calling only you can fulfill.
Read the full Relevant article here.