I have a special treat for you today! My friend Christa Hutchins is guest posting about something we all wrestle with–purpose. She’s got fabulous advice, and there’s a special link at the bottom, Next Step readers. Make sure to read to the end and click over for two excellent resources Christa has to share with us.
Take it away, Christa!
I have a problem. I am an idea horder. I collect ideas like little love notes and tuck them in my pocket. I rarely experience writer’s block, or go through dry seasons of boredom and routine, because something new and exciting is always just around the bend.
Sometimes, all those ideas are too much. I feel suffocated by the weight of deciding which ones to do and guilty over the ones I know I’ll never do. Raise your hand if you can relate?
When we are overwhelmed by ideas, we can use our purpose as a filter to turn the right possibilities into realities. But what is my purpose? What is yours?
Passion is easy. Passion is what gets us up in the morning, keeps us up at night and makes us excited in between. Purpose is what we are supposed to do with that passion.
As Christians, we love to quote Romans 8:28. When we want to encourage someone going through a rough time, we may start with the beginning:
“ And we know that all things work together for good…”
If we want to feel super spiritual, we remember that it also says,
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God ….”
We often will forget about the end of the verse.
“ And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV)
Understanding that purpose is where truly effective ministry begins. God has a specific plan for our ministry and called us according to His purpose. That purpose can be found at the intersection of your Why, your Who and your You.
Find Your Why
Your Why is the foundation of your calling. It is the thing that excites and energizes you. It can also be the thing that grieves you deeply. Either way, it motivates you to action. Like Isaiah saying “Here am I, send me!”, you always raise your hand when you see a need in the area of your Why.
Find Your Who
Your Who is the group of people who need what you have. Think of ones you are able to build special relationships with and who seek you out for advice.
Develop a very detailed picture in your mind of your target audience. Where are they? What are they doing right now? What makes them happy? What needs or issues do they have in their life? What is causing them pain or guilt? Do they lay down at night feeling guilty because of what did or didn’t happen during the day? What tender spots can you touch in their lives?
Find Your You
How has God uniquely gifted and prepared you for this ministry? Your You is the way you meet needs. It may be uncomfortable, but take a close look at yourself and consider your life experiences, personality, practical skills and strengths and education.
As you work through these areas, common threads will run through them. You’ll find your purpose at the place where God ties the threads together and forms a knot in your heart.
Using Your Purpose as a Filter
Your purpose is not something to tuck away in a notebook or put on the About page of your website. It’s not a marketing tool or even a motivational statement.
Your purpose should be your close companion as you grow and lead your ministry. It guides you through the day to day decisions, conflicts, and experiences.
As you consider decisions and steps to take, filter them through your purpose by asking these questions:
- Am I passionate about this?
- Will it help me meet a need that grieves me?
- Do I feel a deep, compelling desire to get involved?
- Does this deepen my connection with the people I’m called to serve?
- Am I doing this to serve my audience or to serve myself?
- Will this allow me to reach people I could not otherwise reach?
- Does this make good use of my talents and abilities?
- Does this help me acquire skills I can use to reach my audience?
- Does this allow me to operate in my strengths? Does it build me up in my areas of weakness?
Filtering your decisions through these questions helps settle things in our heart. It lends confidence for those difficult days when we question our calling. And believe me, we ALL face those days. Many of them.
But when we do, our Purpose keeps us grounded in God’s plan and plants hope for the days of seeing that purpose fulfilled.
I’d love to give you some resources to help you dig deeper into your Purpose. Visit this special page (http://doanewthing.com/next-step) I created just for Next Step Readers.