One of the hardest things to do these days is to...be yourself. The opinions of friends, comments on social media, and examples of poor personal choices we witness each day impact our thinking about what is proper and reduce our chances of becoming the individual we were "born to be."
BORN TO BE?
Obviously, we have options concerning what we will become and what we will do with our lives, and these options are almost endless, right? No, not really. Each of us has been given a set of "built in" clues that will guide us as we work to determine "why we're here" and what we should do with our life. These clues include four basic things--our interests, our abilities, our feelings, and the needs of others.
We explain each of these four a little further down below, but before we do, I'd like to make what I consider to be three very important points:
We are here to help each other. Whether we decide to be a banker, a builder, a neighbor, a parent, a medical professional, a trucker, a teacher, or one of thousands of other roles we might fill in life, we are here to help each other have better and more enjoyable lives. In other words, our life was never intended to be just about us, Instead, we are supposed to use our life to help others and, in so doing, to make the world a little better because we lived in it.
We are each a part of God's overall plan. Many times in this blog, I express my personal beliefs about how God works in the world. It will be up to you to "make the choice" whether you agree with me, or not. In this case, it makes perfect sense to me that God has given us different interests, abilities, and feelings--leading us to different roles in life--so that we are equipped--collectively-- to take care of each other. In other words, there's a good and logical reason why we are different from each other.
Every good person in the world wants the same things. Yes, we may speak different languages, we may look different on the outside, we may have different geographical challenges, but deep down on the inside, where it really counts, we are all exactly alike. We all want to feel love, we all want live a good life, we all have a need to help others, and we all would like to make the world a little better because we have lived in it. We need world leaders who will support their citizens working worldwide in helpful harmony with other citizens to make the world safe and productive for everyone.
THE CLUES TO OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE
I wish that someone had sat me down when I was about 15-years-old and explained to me that there are four primary clues--our personal interests, our basic abilities, our feelings inside, and the needs of others--that, when carefully considered and evaluated, will help us determine how best to use the life that has been given to us.
As we live our lives, we find ourselves motivated to do or to be involved in certain things. When combined with good choices, these interests can direct our lives in very specific ways. While such interests may develop through activities that take place in our schools, work activities, community projects, or even via something we discovered on the internet, the interest in them develops within us. When we feel such an interest, the choice to “dig in” and explore it further may very well lead us to an important pathway for our life.
While these develop over time, there are some basic abilities that start to show themselves early in our lives and can be important signals that we should heed in some way. For example, a successful accountant, financial advisor, or banker is most likely someone who was good at “working with numbers” when he or she was younger. A successful farmer, forest ranger, or home builder was likely someone who looked for opportunities to be outdoors when they were young. The successful doctor, scientist, or researcher was likely someone who enjoyed their academic experiences especially in the areas of chemistry, biology, or physics. While it may be a bit of a stretch to label these early preferences as abilities, they can clearly be signals that lead us to the development of exceptional skills as we move along with our lives.
Feelings and Motivations
When love enters and takes over our life in some way, we feel more alive. We become more energetic, more motivated about things we want to do, people we want to be with, or visions of the future that we want to help make possible. Love, or a very special feeling about something, can be a strong and motivating force leading us to our intended purpose in life. It’s our heart that reaches out, touches us in some special way, and confirms an important clue concerning the possible intended purpose of our life.
True navigation begins in the human heart.
It’s the most important map of all.
The Needs of Others
We are called to action by the needs of others. If we are sensitive to other people’s needs, we encounter opportunities to use our lives and our abilities in very special ways. Whatever your intended purpose turns out to be—one of hundreds of possibilities—it will be connected to helping others in some way. So, as you evaluate certain possibilities always test it with this simple question…will following this pathway allow me to help others in some special way?
THE CHOICE TO BE YOURSELF
I wish I could give you “a simple secret” for determining exactly what your life is leading you to do. I wish there was a simple way for obtaining this important sense of direction. But, only you can do that. However, I can tell you these two things with a degree of certainty:
You Are Unique for a Reason. You were never intended to be like others. You are a unique individual with unique qualities that require unique choices that, at times, only you understand. Therefore, don't waste your life trying to copy and live exactly like others around you. Instead, work to "be yourself" and to be proud of the unique individual God has created you to be.
The Needs of Others Will Be Your Most Important Clue. Whatever your life’s purpose turns out to be, it will be connected to helping people in some special way. The needs of others will be one of your most important clues. May God bless you as you work to use your life not only for your own benefit, but, possibly to an even greater degree, for the benefit of others as well.
Somewhere along the way, we must learn
that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR