Purpose of Life: Don’t Abandon Your Gift

Uniquely Created

Being unique means you are one of a kind. You were not made from a mold but fashioned together very carefully. No other being exists like you. There may be someone who is similar to you that may have the same hair color, the same car or listen to the same type of music. But they are not made exactly like you in every way.

That was not done by accident. You were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” To be fearfully made means you were made greatly with much intensity and thought. The first step in learning who you are is to understand how you were made. You are born of His spirit and wonderfully made.

For A Purpose

In Him we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” Ephesians 1:11 NKJV

Not only are you unique but also you are chosen for a specific purpose that works in accordance with God’s overall plan. Initially you may not know how you fit into the overall plan, which causes you to fumble around in darkness. But as you grow spiritually, you will begin to understand that you have a purpose to fulfill.

You may  have discovered that you are a good writer and begin writing a book about your spiritual journey. You may have discovered you can write and compose songs and begin working on inspirational songs. You may have discovered that you are able to understand and teach God’s word to anyone and begin teaching Sunday school. You may have discovered that you are able to soothe those who are hurting and begin encouraging others. You may have discovered that you are able to lead a group of people and became a leader.

But something went wrong and you began to doubt your ability and effectiveness. Eventually you stopped practicing your gift. You fell into a slump and life became unbearable for you as you began to stumble around in the darkness again. But you can recover from this minor setback because God loves you and has invested in your success.

Expression of His Love

New parents hold their newborn in their arms, gazing in awe at what has been created out of their love. They softly caress her face and check her hands and feet to make sure they are complete. They watch her as she grows and gets excited when she discovers her foot for the first time, then lovingly watches as she keeps putting her new foot in her mouth, exploring it. That is how God is with each of us. We were created out of his love and are lovingly watched as you grow. He gets excited when you discover your first gift and watches as you learn to use it.

Just like the baby starts by putting her foot in her mouth, she soon realizes that her feet are not for eating but for walking. Sometimes you don’t know how to properly use your gift and may use it for the wrong purpose and begin to experience struggle. Continuously doing so may make you decide it’s not worth the effort anymore, so you abandon the gift.

Similarly, the baby, now a toddler, discovers she is able to stand and begin to move around the room if she stands up and moves her feet. She begins to experiment with standing until gradually she builds up to taking a step. This is an exciting time for both parents and child. But if the toddler has a bad experience during her discovery and practice, such as falling or getting hurt, she may experience a set back in perfecting her gift of walking. Without proper guidance from the parent she may try to abandon her gift all together because of fear.

Intimately Known

The parent plays a big role in helping the toddler feel secure and continuing to practice her gift until she masters it because the parent knows the toddler intimately. He watches her practice and anticipates the ways she may mess up, so he makes preparations to keep the toddler on track and avoid a major setback, by installing safety measures in the house. As a result the toddler is walking without assistance and secure in her ability to do so.

God knows you intimately and will do the same for you. When you find yourself struggling or fumbling around in the dark with a gift, pray and allow your spirit to be fulfilled with purpose. Seek guidance to:

  • Ask where you got off track and then ask for the proper way to cultivate your gift.
  • If you have developed a fear in that area, seek protection and courage to practice your gift again.

Just like the parent does with the toddler God will fill your spirit:

  • Give you praise when you reach a milestone,
  • Caution when you are going in the wrong direction,
  • Encouragement when it gets hard,
  • Protection from the unseen dangers and,
  • Lovingly reward you when you get it just right.

Accept Your Gift

So take a minute to revisit that book you stopped writing, that song you stopped composing, those classes you stopped teaching, those people you stopped encouraging, that degree you stopped pursuing or those sheep you stopped shepherding.

Accept that your spiritual gifts  are part of you and that you were fearfully and wonderfully made to fulfill purpose through that gift. It’s time to stand and face those struggles and find out how to start again, but this time ask allow your spirit to guide and actively engage you through your process. You will find it is much easier to navigate your new gift with a little loving guidance.

Living on Purpose: Eric Thomas – Succeeding with Autism

Eric Thomas is a 21 year old college student who has overcome major obstacles related to Autism to pursue his passion of being a video game application developer.  He was non-verbal at the age of two and was diagnosed with Autism at age 7. It is amazing to see his progress as he addressed a group of young adults with Autism in an effort be an inspiration to them. His message, you can achieve your dreams and goals despite your challenges with perseverance and support.

Eric is a graduate of Prince George’s County Public Schools Autism program of which he attended from middle and high school. The skills he learned in this program as well as the Mind Expansion Community Service, Inc (HIP KIDS) program helped him learn skills to live as an adult with Autism in the neurotypical world.

He went on to attend community college where he studied video game design. He has hosted his own YouTube video channel for the last seven years under the handle of Sonic72fast. He has now launched out into the world of Application Development. He has developed over 16 apps that are now available for download in the Google Play Store.

Congratulations Eric for living on purpose!!!

Living on Purpose: Joe Ehrmann “Be a Man”

Living on Purpose: Joe Ehrmann

Living on purpose at times may set one in a position where they are fighting for a cause much bigger than themselves. In the second installment of this type of purpose, I highlight Joe Ehrmann, a coach on a mission to re-frame the sports industry in order to preserve real men. This battle is huge and involves millions of dollars which means there are some pretty heavy influencer on the scene. But this does not deter him from his passion to see men who are able to communicate on an emotional level and still exert their strength.

Despite the size of the enemy, purpose rears up and shows itself to be King in a world where being rich means more than having enriching relationships. Joe shares some concrete findings about how men learn to be a man affects the type of man they become.

Thank you Joe for living on purpose.

Living on Purpose: Ernestine Shepherd World’s Oldest Female Bodybuilder

Living on Purpose: Ernestine Shepherd

If you are not inspired by this woman, then you just are not capable of being inspired. Breaking not only the Guiness Book of World Records, she has broken barriers related to age, as she brings to life the saying “age ain’t nothing but a number.” I originally learned about Ernestine on CBN and shared her story a few years ago as an inspiration to my followers. I am also on a similar track as I realize that I must be healthy if I want to live all the years God has for me, so that I may continue to live on purpose. Ernestine will be 78 this year and she still looks awesome! So watch the video and I pray you are inspired to do better with your physical health. Who says that you cannot be fit and live a healthy lifestyle at any age.

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Ernestine Shepherd Picture from www.ernestineshepherd.net

Ernestine has also turned it into a brand. Determined, Dedicated and Disciplined! Exactly what we need to live on purpose because the path may not always be smooth, clear, or easy. But with determination you will have the incentive to keep going. Through dedication you will stay committed to your goals. Discipline will become your best friend as you develop new habits and ways of accomplishing things. I encourage you to read her book and glean some pearls of wisdom from her journey.

Thank you Ernestine for showing us how to live on purpose and sharing your story with the world.

Living on Purpose: Kandice Sumner

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Living on Purpose: Kandice Sumner

Kandice boldly speaks out about the challenges of educating students in today’s public school system. Having been given the opportunity to get a “better” education as a result of mandatory desegregation and busing she shares her story and her passion for making education fair and accessible for all students. Living on purpose is about being passionate and seeking to make a difference even when the odds appears to be stacked against you. As an educator her purpose has nothing to do with making money or making a name for herself. It is all about “her” kids all 696 of them.

Thank you Kandice for living on purpose.

Video and picture courtesy of TED talks at ted.com.

Purpose of Life: Are You on a Focused Path?

As part of my new endeavor, in May 2010, I continued blogging with a new purpose under Free in the Spirit, which has its own history, as this blog originated before I became a Life Coach. I spent the past five years honing my skills and shifting my focus because I realized that it was easy to become a Life Coach but not so easy to establish a niche, as the market is huge.

So here I am again blogging but not under Free in the Spirit. This blog is intentionally related to my niche and my destiny. But I purposely included some of my old posts here as well. When I wrote 40 Days of Success back in 2010, it was my first attempt to write on purpose. I have known since I was a teen that I was a writer but I failed to focus my craft over the years.

As you will see in those posts, there were some days when I did not have a clear focused topic. But I published something anyway because the goal was to write for 40 days straight. I will admit that it was not easy either. There were days when I did not want to continue but I knew if I quit, then I would not be successful as a writer.

Never confuse activity with productivity. — Rick Warren

Focused for a Purpose

I was being proactive but was I really being productive? No, I was attempting to become productive but during that 40 days I did not produce much. Why? I lacked focus. My writing did not have a focus. I wrote about random things which as a collective did not amount to one solid piece of work. I realized this when I attempted to rewrite the series into a short e-book. Upon careful review, I found that in the entire 40 days I only produced five consistent pieces that I could bring together into one solid e-book, called The Cycle of Failure. I did have some decent posts in the last ten days, as I became more focused and deliberate about the content. But during that time the purpose of my writing was to create discipline as a writer.

Lack of focus will have you spiraling in all directions, always starting things but rarely completing anything. I continued to write sporadically until 2013, when my voice went silent. I was silent because I did not have focus nor a purpose for the blog. I allowed God to pour into me and I began a five-year journey towards purpose. I went back to school to focus my craft of writing and Life Coaching as I knew this was my destiny. But I also knew that I would not be effective in either unless I allowed God to show me how to use them purposefully. It was a long journey and it took much discipline because I had to shut people out as I became purposeful in the use of my time and energy.

Focus Feeds Purpose

Today is quite different for me. As a result of my purposeful endeavors I am focused. I have been writing consistently now for two years. I completed a book, write poetry daily, and am currently working on two other books. I write on my phone, my tablet, in many notebooks, on my computer, and anything else that will allow me to record. I now have enough content to write several books. I launched out into the world of fiction writing and now maintain two blogs producing focused, deliberate content on a weekly basis. Very seldom do I sit down and struggle to find something to write about because knowing why I am doing this empowers me to create.

My purpose for writing is to be the voice for the voiceless, to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and empower them to live on purpose. Writing is the vehicle God has given me to uplift others by sharing my journey and by showing others that anything is possible when you believe, in God first, then in yourself. Allowing God to shift your focus is the first step towards living on purpose.

Speak out on behalf of those who have no voice,
and defend all those who have been passed over.
9 Open your mouth, judge fairly,
and stand up for the rights of the afflicted and the poor. – Proverbs 31:8-9 (Voice Translation)

Living on Purpose: Crystal Oertle Herorin – Addiction, Recovery, and No Shame

Living on Purpose: Crystal Oertle

Crystal’s story is not rosy, it’s not exactly what many want to hear. She is a recovering heroin addict, something that usually brings about much shame. But she courageously found herself on a stage in Columbus, OH, recording a TED Talks segment, sharing her story of addiction and recovery. She tells her story candidly and honestly with hopes that it will help at least one person, just one person make the decision to get clean.

Her journey doesn’t end on that stage. Crystal went on to live on purpose using her voice to help others break free from their addictions with “No Shame” through her blog Erase The Shame.com. Her decision to give back and help others was a decision to live on purpose. Devoting her recovery to encouraging others to follow her path and get clean with no shame. She is breaking barriers and stigmas so that more will be brave enough to come forward and get help.

Living on purpose requires healing our past hang ups, hurts, and fears so that we can help others do the same.

Thank you Crystal for living on purpose.

PURPOSE OF LIFE: ARE YOU LIVING ON PURPOSE?

The state of the economy challenged many to examine their professional lives as they lose jobs they once believed would be there until retirement. Losing a job you really wanted or needed does something to your perspective. Suddenly things don’t look the same anymore.

A woman woke up one morning, went about her usual routine only to realize that something had changed. She no longer felt the same zest she had before perhaps it was because she was sitting at the kitchen table alone. Her youngest had started college a few weeks ago, her husband was off to his job and there she was. Alone!

A man who has invested 20 years in one company questions his next move. He was recently offered a job that he has waited his entire career for, but he’s not so sure its what he wants. He sits in his office and remembers the first day on this job. He was so excited and eager to learn everything. Now he barely makes it to work on time each morning, noticing that it takes him longer to get motivated each day. He begins to question what he would do if he did not take this job. Is there something more meaningful for him?
Self Revelation

The people mentioned above have entered into some level of self-revelation as they ponder their current life choices and whether they are still meeting the same level of fulfillment in their lives. Prior to identifying your life purpose you must first know who you are and what it will take to fulfill you.

There are many ways to go about this task, but the biggest step is realizing that a change is necessary, then taking steps to learn more about who you are and what things interest you. This journey can be challenging especially if you have not spent much time with yourself. The lady in the first scenario probably hasn’t spent much time with herself because as a full-time mother she has made her children her focus and was not paying close attention to her own interests.

Work vs. Fulfillment

Many people are now on the search for fulfillment in their lives. No longer satisfied with making a big paycheck or finding a job with a good company people have begun to wonder if their lives have meaning. If so, should the work they do have meaning as well? Was I created for a purpose? That is the question they ask themselves.

The American dream consists of finding a good job, paying your bills, buying a home and raising your family. Most never thought that there should be more in life. But there are some who don’t follow this path. They devote their lives to service such as becoming a nun, a priest, a minister, volunteering or creating organizations that help serve a community. These people are usually not the norm but the exception. Surely their lives have meaning right?

One can achieve fulfillment in work without devoting their entire life to the types of service listed above. There are many people who are re-evaluating their career choices and choosing careers that bring them fulfillment rather than just a paycheck.

The Next Step

Finding one’s purpose in life is rapidly becoming more important. 41% of consumer requests submitted to Noomii.com for life coaching services were related to discovering one’s purpose in life or career. Where do you stand on this question? Are you living on purpose or by accident?

To learn more about discovering your purpose, there are many resources and entry points available. Choosing one that fits you depends upon who you are. There are Christian based programs that help people discover God’s plan for their lives, one of which is the bestseller The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Another spiritually based approach is A New Earth Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Working with a Life Coach is an excellent way to discover your purpose in life as well.

Whatever avenue you choose, it is a spiritual journey that begins with God. Knowing that you are connected to God who has placed you here for a specific reason fuels the journey towards purpose and brings forth peace, prosperity and clarity.

Living on Purpose: Bishop T.D. Jakes

Living on Purpose: Bishop T.D. Jakes

A true visionary and entrepreneur, Bishop T.D. Jakes exudes purpose. Not just when he is in the pulpit but wherever he is, he commands the attention of his audience and inspires them towards purpose. Bishop Jakes is a producer, minister, author, and talk show host. In everything he does his purpose is always the same to uplift people and help them live better lives.

Carolyn Brown from Black Enterprise Magazine originally shared Bishop Jakes’ 11 Principles to Succeed in Business and Life. 

“Here are some of the top lessons the bishop has learned about operating a business and living life authentically:

  1. “You can hire intelligence, but you cannot hire instinct. Instinct can tell you what, why, and when to do something (such as when do you launch a product).”
  2. “Intellect loads the gun —but instinct pulls the trigger.”
  3. “If you have no records, you’re a hustler, not a business person. Data is a tool.”
  4. “Every opportunity I’ve ever seen came dressed as an obstacle.”
  5. “We are aborting too many thoughts prior to birthing them—all success starts as a thought.”
  6. “You are so busy with people who drain you, you don’t have time for people who build you.”
  7. “When what is in you is bigger than what is around you, you have to crack out of that shell.”
  8. “I refuse to be a slave to who you think I am.”
  9. “Find people like you in work ethic, but different in talent. Hire someone to complete you, not compete with you.”
  10. “I’m not afraid to die. I’m afraid of not living first.”
  11. “We all have a destiny. Find the courage to drive past the challenges, pains, and even the shortcuts of life.”