Posts tagged ‘Character’

May 25, 2011

What Do You Live By?

I work in the nonprofit world. Mission statements, passion, and causes are what we live by. I’ve also worked in the corporate world where “your brand” seems to be king. It all boils down to this: character.

What do you choose to live by?

I attended a conference last week and went to a seminar on networking. I really thought I’d hear how to connect with others to further my nonprofit’s cause, instead I was surprised to find I was working on my personal mission statement.

In reality, why not? If I don’t know why I am doing what I’m doing then I cannot be authentic. And who wants to work with or be friends with someone who is inauthentic?

At the core of who we are we must have a personal mission – one that encapsulates our God-given gifts and abilities as well as what burdens our hearts. Does your personal mission statement give you direction and inspire you? Is it generic enough to carry you through life? Take a moment and think about yours? Write one down. Use it to guide you.

My personal mission statement is this: To make Jesus Christ known by helping the hurting and those in need by using my gifts of mercy, compassion and administration so that others have a chance to heal and experience God fully.

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your personal mission statement?

April 1, 2011

Puzzle Pieces

Occasionally, in the late afternoon I step out of my office and into the activity room (I work at a senior center). I enjoy spending time with program participants and have grown particularly fond of “Alice” (not her real name). Alice is a feisty, determined (read sometimes stubborn) elderly woman who is a die-hard puzzle queen. She often invites me to help her tackle whatever 500 piece puzzle she happens to be working on that day. Truth be told, I’ve grown to love these moments with her.

In the time I’ve spent with Alice and our puzzles, I’ve noticed something. Alice’s determined nature often finds her forcing pieces into places they don’t belong because in her mind they “should.” She will push a piece into another and become so focused on one area of the puzzle she misses the obvious pieces that lie just off to the side.

Image Source: Flicker

This made me think of how often I try to fit into a piece not designed for me. It doesn’t mean those pieces aren’t good or a part of the larger puzzle but they aren’t the right fit for me. God designed me to be unique and He has a plan for my life – a plan that fits into His larger plan.

How often do we become so focused on one area of our lives that we miss the right piece of the puzzle that’s lying off to the side? Have our outlooks become so myopic that we can’t see what else is out there? Are we so unwilling to wait that we force ourselves into place because we “should?”

Like so many, I struggle with waiting but finding the right fit will be worth it. I want God’s best. I hope you do too. As you wait, consider embracing your uniqueness. Who are you? How are you gifted? What are your talents and passions? And whose are you? Where is your identity? Have you placed it solidly in Christ?  If you are made new in Christ, what do you know of His character? Allow the Lord’s character to sustain you, provide you hope, and give you peace.

Whatever you’re waiting on  – wait for the right fit. The puzzle will come together in His perfect time.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.”

January 24, 2011

In the Secret, Quiet Places

By now, you know I’ve been re-reading Alicia Britt Chole’s Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years And Yours. I highly recommend it. Chole’s writings were honest and encouraging to those who find themselves in life’s transitions, unexpected times when we’re called back into the shadows, or find ourselves fighting to emerge from the bench and set up to bat.

What I’ve come to realize is sometime it’s in the hidden, quiet years that we grow the most. Our character is refined in the quiet, anonymous places. It is in these times that we are shaped for the future. If we wait to embrace the life’s lessons in the public, applauded times we will miss all God has in store for us – and it is a beautiful, difficult journey – but worth it. If we don’t use these anonymous seasons to grow and be still in the presence of God, we are left unprepared for our time in the lime-light leaving us in the wake of destruction.

The following are a collection of quotes I gathered throughout Chole’s book. I hope you consider reading it. (Also, a disclaimer that I am not being compensated for this review.)

“From God’s perspective, anonymous seasons are sacred spaces. They are quite literally formative; to be rested in, not rushed through – and most definitely never to be regretted. Unapplauded, but not unproductive: hidden years are the surprising birthplace of true spiritual greatness.” P. 13

“In other words, trials tell us less about our future than they do about our past. Why? Because the decisions we make in difficult places today are greatly the product of decisions we made in the unseen places of our yesterdays.” P. 15

“Time is not really spent. Instead, it is invested in a future we cannot see.” P. 59

“By definition, hidden years are uncelebrated years. These are the seasons when we feel underestimated, unappreciated, or even invisible. In other words, no one is clapping. In that silence unsupported by rounds of applause, hidden years provide the opportunity for us to wrestle with what truly makes us significant. In the absence of others volunteering to explain why we are so valuable, we have to answer that question for ourselves. This quest can be especially difficult when it is not anticipated, when we have known applause and perhaps even authority and find ourselves hidden again. Rarely does hiddeness visit us only once in our lifetimes.” P. 114

Finally, I loved how Chloe took readers through key aspects of what we can glean from our hidden years. I know I’ve experienced many of these points in my own life and hope to grow in them even more as I use the time given to me today to invest in the future I cannot see.

What grows in anonymous seasons?

  • The anchor of God’s Word in our souls
  • Self control
  • An accurate portrait of God
  • An unshakable identity
  • Our trust in God’s timing
  • A disciplined imagination
  • An eternal perspective
  • Submission-based authority

How have you seen God work in anonymous seasons? Have you noticed a gentle change in your heart or character through the times when you felt like you were in the shadows?

 

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