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.

PURPOSE OF LIFE: ACCEPT YOUR GIFT

“For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works.” Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV

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.

For His 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, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” 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 at some point in your life God starts to reveal things to you.

You may have discovered that you are a good writer and begin writing a book about your journey with God. You may have discovered you can write and compose songs and begin working on gospel songs for your choir. 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 minister.

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, according to Ephesians 1:11, which states, “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

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 his children. He created you out of his love and lovingly watches 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 God to help you. Ask Him to show you where you got off track and then ask Him to show you the proper way to cultivate your gift. If you have developed a fear in that area, ask Him to protect you as you begin to practice your gift again.

Just like the parent does with the toddler God will, 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 God has given you this gift and that through Him you were fearfully and wonderfully made to fulfill his purpose through that gift. Turn your struggles over to God and ask him to show you how to start again, but this time ask him to be your guide and actively engage him through your process. You will find it is much easier to navigate your new gift with a little loving guidance.

Day 40 – My Success

Today is the last day of the Forty Days to Success journey. So I know you are asking was this a success or rather what is my success? Yes it was a success, because I finished the journey. Success is finishing what you started. But let’s take inventory of where I started and where I am now.

Forty days ago I was immobilized by fear. The fear of so many things not exactly because the fear was real, most are not. But just fearful of the unknown, today I have embraced those fears and I am moving forward. I made quite a few confessions in the past week about my real desires and did not allow the fear to stop me.

I realized that I am really at a great point in my life. I stand here at this crossroad ready to go over into an area I have been trying to get to for most of my adult life. My business is successful because in the past week I have had three new inquiries for web projects that are going to become paying clients, two have already signed. I also have another prospective client to jump start my business coaching. I am preparing to launch my final website and to officially publish my first book.

But this is about more than business. This is about living not just waking up everyday and going through the routines, but really living. Enjoying each day good and bad. Not being afraid to take the chances even when it may look like the odds are not in your favor. But if it makes you happy and brings you joy, why not?

I saw For Colored Girls today and cried through most of it because yet again here was another movie that I was able to relate to in too many ways. But the truth is that I am tired of living that life, tired of being afraid because of the things that happened to me. The truth is that they did not succeed. I am still alive, breathing, loving and growing. I am not sick, crazy or depressed. I have three beautiful children who are flourishing and happy. I am in love with myself.

This is my success!! Thank you for reading my blog and following me on this journey.

Love, Peace and Prosperity

Athena

Day 33 – Revelation is a Key to Success

Today was a revelation day for me. I know I am headed into new horizons and I need to know what I am looking for. God gave me that vision today. I have been depressed for the last few days. I was not sure about the exact source of the sadness but today my eyes were opened.

I was allowed to see the painful truth of my life, while some of it was nothing new to me. Most of it was still quite depressing and sad. Somehow I had allowed myself to have a pity party for a few days. Today as I was listening to an audio book, which will become our next journey, I realized that I have lost my contentment.

Why was I no longer content with what God had given me? Why was I so unhappy all of a sudden? I realized that the truth hurts and can throw you into a pity party. However although I was faced with some harsh reality, I also was allowed to get a glimpse of where I am going. This reality is necessary so that today will be the last day that I have to live in this harsh reality.

Okay so what does that mean? It does not mean that tomorrow I will magically walk out of the situation. It means that this path is necessary for me to get to my next destination. I will need to focus on implementing the vision that God has given me within the allotted time. It means I have to suck it up and realize that things could be much worse than what they are and return to my state of contentment.

I have never experienced a depression during the holidays. I know others who have. I did not like it and when I wrote my list of last time things I stated that this is the last holiday season that I will spend depressed.

So my challenge to you is to use the power of your voice and pen. Write out your list of last time things. 2011 holds so much for you but you have to be ready to let go of those things that will hinder you. Write your list today!

Day 32 – The New Year is Here

Well New Year’s day was quiet and restful. I enjoyed the day and the time we had off. The children go back to school on Monday and we had to do winter packages. So today was the day to get reoriented with work and school. I made some preliminary preparations for my return to work on Monday.

So now that it is here what do we do? What do most people actually do on New Year’s Day? It is not like Christmas you exchange gifts on Christmas and spend time with family. But what do you do on New Year’s Day? Planning is probably a good thing to do because it is the first day of the year.

Take some time to map out where you are going and how you will get there this year.

Day 29 – Being True to Your Self is a Key to Success

I have been quoting a lot of Bible scriptures in the last few posts. God is always present in my life and the Bible gives me inspiration, direction and peace. I know that not everyone shares that but I am sure there is something that does the same for you. It may be the words of wisdom from a mentor, an author, a motivational speaker, a religious leader, Buddha or other religious texts such as the Qur’an. Whatever it is you should seek it diligently and use it to find the truth.

I gave both of my sons study Bibles for Christmas so that they could begin their journey toward their truth. Each Bible has additional content that is geared toward their age group. I have found myself drawn to my younger son’s Bible. It is the Guy’s Life Application Bible and written with extra text that relate to the issues of boys between the ages of nine to thirteen.  I really liked the scripture on the first page that states:

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT

Very adequate considering the Bible is geared towards young boys. However this scripture is not about a young boy. It is about a prophet named Timothy who was young in his ministry. Paul admonished him to not allow others opinion of him to lessen his self-confidence. He was chosen for the task at hand and was well equipped to carry it out. But people may look at his youth and think that he was not qualified. Instead he told him to become the standard, be an example in all you do and say.

We can be our own worst critics and may feel unworthy, under qualified or say to ourselves. “Who am I do this?” But I say to you “Who are you not to do this?” Let your light shine! Find your truth, your passion, that thing ignites you and brings a smile to your face and do it. Do it just because you want to, because you love to. If one of your friends or family members looks at you and says, “What are you doing?” Just look back at them, smile and keep going.

This happened to me the other day. I was feeling really good and I like to wear nice pieces of jewelry, different styles not typical ones. Well on this day I was wearing a choker necklace I have had for many years. I never wore it much because I did not have matching earrings. Well a few months ago I found a unique pair of matching earrings. I wore the set earlier this week. It looked good on me and was quite sexy.

Well a family member saw me wearing it and commented. They said, “Is that choking your neck?” “Why are you trying to be so fancy?” I did not comment, I simply smiled and kept going. I felt good in it and it looked good on me. I was not going to allow some else’s negative opinion of it to make me stop wearing it. In fact, I can’t wait to wear it again. I am setting an example and will continue to do so.

I am living my life on purpose, not by accident. I am doing things deliberately and with much passion. It was a decision I made a few years ago when I found myself suddenly single again with three children. The world is mine and before me stands a clean slate. Yes I made some mistakes but they were yesterday. Tomorrow is open for discussion. I want to enjoy my life and seek to do so. I no longer try to bury my passions instead I use them a fuel.

Find your truth, embrace your passion and use it to fuel your life! Get going!

Day 28 – The Ability to Keep Walking is a Key to Success

I wish I could tell you that you won’t encounter scary moments on your journey and that the road will be smooth and not bumpy. But the reality is that you will encounter moments where you may stand still in terror. But you need to have a solid foundation that will allow you to keep walking, despite the terror.

Within the first three years of my business I was hired to produce the 20th anniversary booklet for a local church. It was supposed to be a keepsake booklet. They hired me to do the layout, design the cover and get the books printed. I can’t remember how many books they needed but I am sure it was over two hundred.

I completed the layout and they loved the design of the book. I hired a printer and set out to get the books done. I had to deliver the books for the anniversary service. Well the printer messed up the cover and there was not enough time to have them reprinted. The colors did not come out right and the books were ruined. I was so upset and embarrassed. I don’t like to deliver less than perfect quality in anything I do. Needless to say they were not going to call me back next year. Yeah I can joke about it now but that was one of my terror moments. I was scared that this mistake would end my business. There was a part of me that wanted to go put my head in the sand and quit this business all together.

Find Your Strength

Habakkuk 3:19 says “The Lord God is my strength my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds feet and will make me to walk [not stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” This was one of the many times in my life I was able to stand on this exact strength and keep walking.

I did not end my business. I went to the Pastor of the church, apologized, gave them a refund and delivered the books, all knowing that they would probably never hire me again. So it was a learning experience for me. A costly one but it helped to define the foundation of my business.

So I say to you, find your pillar of strength. Use whatever source you have in your life to lean on for the strength to keep you going when you encounter a terror moment. The ability to keep walking and not stand still in terror is a key to success.

Day 27 – Cycle of Failure Crushes with Depression

Depression sets in when all else has failed. You have beat yourself up with guilt, beat others up with anger and beat up your mind with fear. Now the weight of all that is crushing you and making you feel like you are not capable or worthy of anything good. You don’t want to or are not able to participate in everyday life. You may be able to do the bare minimum and not doing that successfully but it drains all of your energy. You feel lost in a tunnel that has no end and feel like the end will never come.

Depression can be a deep dark journey and may require professional help. If you feel this way for more than a day or so, you may need to talk to your doctor about getting help. Clinical depression can be successfully treated with medication and therapy. For those who suffer from situational depression, medication and dealing with the issues that are causing the depression will eventually alleviate the depressed symptoms.

Break the Cycle

To break the Cycle of Failure, you first need to identify where you are in the cycle right now. Are you depressed? Are you fearful? Are you angry? Are you feeling guilty? Once you have identified where you are begin to ask yourself some questions about why you feel the way you do. You have to face the situation head on and yes it will be painful but also worth it once you begin to see yourself going down a different path. A path that is new and bright. Let’s revisit the Story of the Pit again to see what happens in the later chapters as she begins to ask questions about why.

            Chapter Four

I walk down the same street
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it

            Chapter Five

I walk down another street

 As you can see in chapter four she still goes down the same path, she recognizes he pit but makes a different decision. In the final chapter she learns to avoid the street all together. That is freedom, when you recognize the street even before you get to it and go in another direction.

You have to break the cycle one step at a time. You will not be able to conquer all of the steps at once. You have to be able to deal with each issue individually. Only move on to another once you have conquered the first. I spent a lot of time in the Fear stage and quite honestly fear still plagues me. However I don’t allow it to immobilize me anymore. I deal with the fear head on and keep going. I face what I am scared of and am no longer afraid to take the steps I need to. You can do it too. It starts with making a decision to break the cycle. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Start with friends and family that you trust. This will be your first key step towards success.

I leave you with this prayer of protection in your journey.

Heavenly Father,

I pray that now and through my life You would strengthen and enlighten me, show me the way Satan and his demonic spirits are trying to hinder, tempt, lie, and distort the truth in my life. Enable me to be the kind of person that will please you. Enable me to be aggressive in prayer and faith. Enable me to be aggressive mentally, think about and practice Your word and to give You, your rightful place in my life. Father I place all of my cares, all of my anxieties, all of my worries and all of my concerns once and for all on You, because I know that You love me and watch over me according to 1 Peter 5:7.

In Jesus Name I claim this victory today according to John 14:14.

Amen

Day 21 – Proper Training is a Key to Success

I am tired and mentally drained. I never wrote like this before and now realize that it takes so much. It comes from deep within and requires a high level of mental and emotional energy to keep up this pace.

Stamina is required to go the distance in any situation. When athletes are preparing for a big game or event they go through months of training to increase their stamina, so that they can perform at optimal level during the big game. I am finding that the same applies to any big goal. If you are taking on something that you have never done before you will need to prepare yourself. You may find that you are doing it but it is zapping all of your energy.

So how do we prepare ourselves to do something we have never done before? Big question that does not have a single answer. Since the work I am doing taps into my mental and emotional energy I have begun to meditate more. To allow my mind to be refreshed and restore my energy levels. It also helps to just have quiet time that does not require any mental stimulation. After much rest today, I felt much better and was able to write for today.

When you are on the road to your destiny remember to train for the race. Train and refine your skills and find tools that will renew your energy along the way. This will give you the stamina you need for your journey.

Day Seventeen – Doing Your Best is a Key to Success

I strive for perfection in all that I do. It has benefited me in several ways especially in business because my clients know that they will receive a quality product. However there are times when it has not been my friend because I am not okay with performing less than perfect. Although I clearly know that I am not perfect. This leads to stress and anxiety.

This journey has been a challenge for me because I want so much to finish what I started and to stay on the schedule. But it is okay if I miss a day right? I need to allow myself the flexibility of being able to do a job and not feel pressured to do it perfectly. That does not mean that I will ever sacrifice quality to get a job done. It means that I will do the best I can and be okay even if it is not perfect.

I am learning to allow myself additional time to get things done so that I minimize my stress level and things remain balanced. Having balance is important as it keeps me from exhausting myself. I have also learned about re-framing my thoughts. I take those negative, overly critical thoughts and turn them into self-inspiring, motivating thoughts. Instead of kicking myself for missing a day in my journey, I congratulate myself for not quitting and completing 16 days. I did my best.

I was very disheartened when I learned that my best efforts on my previous job were not appreciated nor acknowledged. It began to make me doubt my ability as a manager and made me want to quit. But I chose not to quit and stuck in there. I did a self-evaluation of my performance, remembered that I was a good manager and knew my job. I set out on a path to do my best and to work on the areas where I needed some improvement. After about three months I began to regain my confidence and saw some progress. Upper management would not acknowledge my progress but this time I did not allow it to make me feel bad about myself, because I knew that I had done my best.

Doing your best is all you can do because none of us will ever achieve perfection. The next time you are ready to beat yourself up over not doing something perfectly or someone else does it to you remind yourself that you did your best and therefore are still successful.

I would like to share the following poem with you and hope it helps remind you to do your best.

Do the Best You Can

by Rhoda-Katie Hannan

This I pray for you, my friend

That you strive to be all that you can be,

Yet never become a copy of another

That you realize your own unique qualities,

And all that makes you special

That you open your eyes to the beauty in each day

That you reach out to others less fortunate than you

That, by giving, you learn the joy of receiving

That you let go of the sadness of the past,

Yet always remember the good moments

That you learn to accept life as it is,

Even with its problems and disappointments

For life is meant to be enjoyed and, at all times, endured, but never taken for granted

And I pray that you will be aware at all times that you are one special person,

Among all special persons

And do the best you can.