One of the most common questions I get from people involved with ROAR is how do I find my gift? Most people resonate with the fact that they are here for a purpose and that to give back to others is the ultimate goal. Where some people get stuck is what exactly they are the most gifted at, and hence should be giving from.
I want to challenge this thought today and ask the question, what if you could make the most impact with your greatest weakness, not your greatest strength? As I think about the people in my life that have made the biggest impact, it dawns on me that they all share a commonality, and that is they have been able to share some struggle, weakness or tribulation they have overcome or are humbled by that allows them to touch people in the way that they do.
I watched a video of a man yesterday who was speaking to an audience of high school students about not giving up. I was struck by it in particular because this man happened to have no limbs. As he talked about falling time and time again metaphorically in his life he would knock himself over and talk to the audience lying on a table. As he got to the point in his speach where he was encouraging not giving up, he miraculously worked his way back to standing. He spoke about the feeling of hopelessness and that with perserverance you can pick yourself up from any fall.
God seems to have no problem with choosing us in spite of, or maybe because of our weaknesses as well. Just like Moses with his speach impediment who was chosen to lead God’s people, and David with his small stature to fight the Giant, time and again he uses the most unlikely characters for his most awesome work.
Can you look into your life today and find a weakness or vulnerability that can be used to make an impact on other’s lives?
All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.
Not necessarily, say experts. No matter what is it you are pursuing in life that you are passionate about, things can get overwhelming from time to time. Burnout can come from hitting the pavement on work that you were not intended or made to do, but it can also come because not enough rest is taken away from even the things that you do love and are meant to do.
It is easy to get excited and caught up in your passion, but without rest, even the most rewarding of talents turns into a job. It can be wearing and confusing at times. You may say to yourself, “Maybe this is not my passion after all.” The key to sorting through the muck should always start with a slight step backwards. Retreating for short reflection is helpful because it will give you the necessary time to recharge if you are just pushing to hard. It will also give you a new perspective if, after that rejuvination, you are still not excited to get started again. If that is the case you may need to do some extended reflection and exploration of what you were pursuing. It sometimes takes starting down the wrong path several times until you get on the right one, but don’t just jump trails before you analyze the burnout. It may only take a small sabbatical to get you back on track where you started.
And remember…there is a time for every season, even rest!
I was walking to the park with my two year old daughter yesterday, which is only a few blocks away but crosses a few busy streets, when all of a sudden instead of stopping when I asked her to she said “No!”and ran away from me as fast as she could. I had to chase her down & hold on to her hand for dear life so she wouldn’t dart into the street. It is an occurance that is becoming more common these days, and in complete frustration I broke down and stared directly into her eyes & asked her pleadingly…why don’t you listen to me? I was thinking…Don’t you know I have your best interest in mind? You think I want to steal your fun…but I want to give you more life than you could ever know. It took a few moments to gather myself & continue and as I walked on mystified by her behavior (as I often am these days ) when the thought entered my mind… this must be the same way God feels when I run from him.
Finding and living out our purpose in life is many times a direct result of letting God manage it. That means, even if it looks like he is stealing all of our fun and possibly even taking us in directions we don’t really want to go, we could miss out on all the life that he has to give if we don’t follow. We spend quite a bit of time talking about searching deeper within to passion and fire and giftedness and all of that is really, really important, but I wanted to ask the question today: Is there a place he is leading you that you refuse to go? And if you are refusing…why? Is it possible that there is a larger picture to consider? One that has to include the love and motives of the father to be able to trust it at all?
I recently became addicted to the television series 24. In it, the main character Jack Baker who is an agent in a counter terrorist unit for the government looses his wife to a rogue agent at the end of the first season. In the second season, he gets a moment to confront this agent about what the loss of his wife meant to him, and I was struck by what he said.
He talked about his wife’s ability to meet a stranger & within just seconds have them comfortable enough to be laughing about something together. He describes a moment like this he experienced with his wife & then ended by saying, “that is what you took from this world, that is what you took from me.” His words struck me because so many times we are concentrated on the thought of having to do something huge or incredibly significant in this world in order to make a difference, when often times we miss the very point of our being.
What is it about yourself that would be taken from this workd if you were not here tomorrow?
I woke this morning and for the slightest second felt the hope that everything from yesterday had not happened, it was only an awful dream.It only takes a second or two, but then I felt that hope being washed over with a heaviness that was incredibly thick and I swallowed hard, because I knew it was here again.Grief was going to be staying for a while.
We spend a lot of time talking and thinking about the things that make us happy and that we enjoy doing, but I also know there are true treasures in the sadness and hard times we come across as well.In fact, I think they may even have more ability to show us what we are meant to do in this world.The person who starts a foundation from the death of a child or a disability a family member struggles with, the lifetime devotion to a cause that you have seen someone suffer through or have suffered from themselves, the inspiration for a business designed to fill a great need, we see these examples everywhere we look.
If you have lived in this life long enough you know this type of heaviness, and my question now is what can we do to use it?How do the times of sadness shape and mold you and your purpose in life as much as the times of happiness and joy?What new thing is behind the pain, just waiting to be strengthened?
Grace grows best in the winter. ~Samuel Rutherford
I recieve daily thoughts and quotes from many places throughout the week and last week this one really stopped me in my tracks and gave me a gentle reminder. I love this quote because I can relate to it so well. I have never had more Grace in my life than when I have been in the middle of a winter. I never look forward to the physical winter. I have lived in Colorado for almost nine years now, but I still dread the coming months of winter & rejoice as it disappears into spring. I don’t think anyone would really say they look forward to times they would consider emotional or circumstantial winters in their lives either, but when they are upon us it is possibly the best opportunity we have to become familiar with what is most important or central in our lives. It gives us the ability to refocus on not only what is important, but often times leaves us with something new to offer the world as well.
Have you been in a winter lately or are you in one now? What did you gain from that experience? How can you use what you gained to share with and help others?
If any of you have young children or grand children, you may relate to what I say when I tell you I have watched the movie Finding Nemo at least 50 times in the last few months because it is my daughter’s favorite movie, known fondly as “fishy one” in our household. Most of the time I am doing something else while it is on, but a particular day not so long ago I sat & held her while she watched it & I was struck by a message that jumped out at me.
The main character, Marlin, who is Nemo’s father and is looking for his lost son throughout the movie faces many challenges along the way including sharks, jelly fish, and other life threatening experiences. In this particular part he is stuck in the belly of a whale with his friend who has joined him on the journey & she tells him the whale wants them to go to the back of his throat. They are hanging on for dear life to his tong when his friend jumps and he holds on for dear life not wanting to go. He says to her, ” How do you know something bad is not going to happen?” She replies with “I don’t!” And with that they let go & tumble to either their demise or escape. It made me think….how many times do I feel like I am hanging on to my comfort zone for dear life, however un-fulfilling that may be, because I am afraid something bad will happen? And why am I not more afraid of missing out on something really good that can happen?
It is often times easier to ignore the voice telling you what you need to do to move forward because it can be very scary. But at the end of the day, you may be keeping yourself in the belly of a whale, when you are designed to be free.
ROAR exists to help people make the often daunting transition from their ordinary lives and seemingly predetermined life-script to discover or rediscover and deploy their talents and passions for the benefit of others, thereby achieving a more fulfilling, meaningful life.