This morning I was reading a book that talked about discerning God’s call on our lives. It reminded me of the active listening process in Living on Purpose which Tom and I wrote together several years ago and so I thought I would share this here.
GOD DOESN’T INTEND US TO LIVE OVERBURDENED, STRESSED OUT LIVES
- Jesus carried the weight of the world on his shoulders yet He never seems overwhelmed or stressed out. – “Come to me ye who labour and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for my burden is light and my yoke is easy.”
- Jesus had a clear, precise mission statement – Lk 4:17-19 – Jesus came announcing the Kingdom of God – All of Jesus actions demonstrated to his disciples & followers what God’s shalom Kingdom was meant to look like. As a result of that focus He knew exactly how to allocate His time & resources – and His life seems to have flowed to a rhythm that attracted all who knew Him
- Our lives need to be as focused as Jesus was – Jesus gave all of humanity a clear and overarching mission statement – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself. Out of this foundation we need to use Jesus priorities & life example to develop a Kingdom focused personal or family mission statement for ourselves
- Work on a personal or family mission statement – A mission statement is a short phrase or sentence that provides an individual or group of people with a sense of purpose for their life. It expresses what we see as the reason for our existence and defines the focus for all we are and do.
Biblically based mission statements begin with scripture study and an understanding of God’s shalom purposes for our lives as a foundation for defining that focus. They are centred on relationship to God not on our personal happiness, dreams or ambitions. They are outwardly focused on care for others not inwardly on our own needs They are clear, concise & easy to memorize. It should have broad enough wording to incorporate every area of our life. Make it purposeful & inspirational – A sense of meaning that wakes you up in the morning and sends you striding enthusiastically into the day ahead
TAKE TIME FOR AN ACTIVE LISTENING PROCESS
- Write down your earliest memories of a sense of the call of God on your life
- How has God been speaking to you through scripture – write down significant scriptures that give you a sense of God’s call on our life
- How has God been speaking to you through prayer – write down those things that you feel called to pray for on a regular basis
- How has God been speaking to you through the needs of others – Write down the areas of human need, suffering and pain that most make you want to respond
- How has God been speaking to you through community? – write down the ways that God has spoken to you through the advice & counsel of others
- Make a list of your own gifts & talents –
- physical or intellectual:
- In what ways have your educational opportunities helped to develop these gifts?
- How could these contribute to your sense of Christian calling:
- Write down your broken areas – God often uses our weaknesses to change the world
- What are your dreams & hopes for the future. Write these down – even our self centred dreams may hold elements of God’s purposes for our lives:
WRITING YOUR OWN MISSION STATEMENT
- Look back over all that you have written in the active listening process – prayerfully consider ways in which these could come together in a beginning mission statement that flows out of your sense of Biblical purpose.
- Incorporate scripture where possible or write the scripture that has inspired your mission statement beside your mission statement
- Make short, concise and easy enough to memorize
- Make inspirational – this statement is meant to fill you with enthusiasm for the future that God has planned for your life
- Examples of good mission statements –
- “To be a voice for the voiceless and bring glimpses of God’s shalom Kingdom into peoples’ lives” Prov 31:8,9“
- To be a mediator of reconciliation between God and people with broken hearts, bringing them to growth and maturity in Jesus Christ” Eph 4:11,12
- “To be an expression of God’s Jubilee in my community and throughout the world” Lev 26:10-13
- “To be an instrument of God’s healing bringing restoration to the land and to people’s lives” Is 58:6-9
Use your imagination & creativity to bring all the steps from the active listening process together in your own beginning mission statement: