Being in the state where you are not sure of what you want to do in life or how you want to spend the duration of your days is a nightmare. One saying that goes along with that is when you do not have a purpose for yourself, someone will give you one. The worse thing you can do is live your life according to what someone else told you that you should be doing.
Parents need to recognize what their children are good at and affirm them in those areas at a young age. I am a young adult myself, and I feel that we are an exiled generation. I say that in thinking about the children of Israel in the Old Testament of the Bible. The children of Israel were put out of what was home for them, and they left, hoping that they would find a home again. They were led into righteousness, and they rebelled against God, they were lost, confused, and willing to subject themselves to unrighteous behaviors. Because they were desperate in seeking a promise, not realizing they were already in their promised land, they were exiled.
Reading Exodus in the Bible reminds me of this current generation. We have all the resources that we need, but many of us, not all, do not take advantage of the open doors. We leave our parent’s home, and in these economic times, our parents do not have access to equity in their homes, many have borrowed from retirement funds to sustain their homes, and many young people have to settle for loans to obtain a quality college education. So, we go to school, while accumulating debt. Many finish with the hopes of landing a job in the field, they learn in college. For the majority, that hope goes unfulfilled.
We have become mal-employed, graduates who could not find jobs that require a degree. Instead, we settle for low-skilled jobs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. I have done this! I worked in the banking industry to help get me through college. Once I graduated from college with a degree in journalism, I began working as staff support for a non-profit organization. While in college, I learned to research using the best research tools available. I gained techniques in interviewing used by the pros. I acquired and practiced superb writing and editing techniques that were critiqued by the best in Chicago’s journalism field. Yet, I found myself in a cubicle, making copies, compiling contracts, and setting up meetings, with not even enough to make full payments to the loans that I borrowed for my college education.
So why are we exiled? Because it feels like a famine, many feel desperate for success and a lack of purpose. We rebel against the system, we abandon our gifts, and we aim for the top with frustration, we are in debt with a wealth of worldly knowledge. We are too smart to start from the bottom and work our way up because we were taught to go to college, we learned that knowledge has power and is the key to success, somewhere along the line we learned to neglect the process of obtaining power, we want to be leaders, but we do not want to be led. But is this our fault? The answer is, no, not entirely, we were giving much growing-up as a whole. Our parents were in a better financial place in the ’80s and ’90s, more jobs were available, the housing market was at a sound position, and life was pretty good. There were struggles, but not as many survival struggles for overall needs for middle – working-class individuals. It seems that when life is good, we forget to pay attention to the areas we need to develop, just in case life circumstances change. Circumstance has changed, and all we know is good, so we are chasing after the good old days. When the good that we knew is not our reality, what do we do?
Easy, start fresh! Rebuild, we have to know our gifts and create, reconstruct, and start over (return to our promised land). We were put out of a comfortable place, an easy credit lifestyle, and now a place of high debt and little possibility, but that does not mean that what God has placed in us has to die. If you know what you are great at and focus on that, you will find fulfillment and maybe even success, according to what success may equate to for you. Here are ten points on how to recognize your gifts to get you in the direction of Kingdom-building:
1. Identify your spiritual gifts – it’s good to know your office in the Kingdom of God. There are many spiritual gift tests out there. You can find them online by Googling “Spiritual Gift Test” or ask someone in your church who helps with Christian Education. Also, read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (regarding Spiritual Gifts) and Galatians 5:13-26 (regarding Life by the Spirit) in the Bible. I would suggest the English Standard Version, then The Message for more clarity.
2. What can you discern that you do well naturally – What is it that you do that requires little effort? Do you jump in and help others without thinking twice? Do you write in a journal and enjoy it? Do you enjoy planning things even if it’s a small event or a simple meeting? Do you find yourself teaching your friends and peers just through regular conversations? Do people call you for advice and you do not hesitate to advise them? All these things that you do every day are gifts and talents, and if you apply them to your career path, you will find fulfillment.
3. Truthfully decide what bothers you to your core – If you begin to work toward something to create change, you will find fulfillment in what you are doing. If you continuously complain about the education system and can come up with creative ways to help students, maybe you should consider teaching, administration, or a non-profit organization for youth.
4. Find a mentor, spiritual and professional – one of the best things you can do is connect with people who can guide you through a path that may be familiar as you grow professionally and spiritually. A good mentor will encourage you and hold you accountable to the things you set out to accomplish.
5. Pray for a vision – you may feel stuck at times, but God can and will give you the insight to work toward. You may not know how the vision will come to pass, but if you can see the vision that is motivation enough because one thing is sure, God fulfills His promises.
6. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in creating a plan for your vision – Once you have the vision invite in the Holy Spirit to guide you to the vision. Even if it seems the path you are led to take is not going to lead to the vision. The vision may tarry, but it will come to pass, and the Holy Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. Trust the process!
7. Devote yourself to daily prayer and studying the Word of God for constant alignment to His will – Devotion – spending time in the Word of God is very important. This helps you understand God’s promises for your life. Through the word, you’ll find that the process will connect to the promise.
8. View every task as Kingdom building business; it’s not for you; it’s for the Kingdom – I like this one the most because sometimes we can correlate where we are as being a steward for Christ, but even in a cubicle working for someone you can be doing Kingdom work. For example, being a Christian requires you to be able to respect leadership. In this, you may not necessarily like your boss, but being obedient to their rules and tasks create a pleasant environment and make you a good example. When someone asks you, how do you put up with your boss if he/she is a handful to deal with, you can minister to that person. A positive attitude may even cause your boss to self-evaluate.
9. Pray for alignment with a trustworthy accountability partner or prayer partner – It’s essential to align yourself with like-minded people who seek Christ. Having support systems helps create movement. It’s challenging to accomplish anything alone.
10. Network with people who are where you want to be – This keeps you humble because we never actually arrive. As long as we are alive, there is another height to achieve.
*This is extra, may have been first, but find a Bible-believing church home. This will make achieving the 10 points a little easier. Make sure you go seeking God because someone once told me that whatever else you go seeking in a church, you will find. Churches are filled with imperfect people that serve a perfect God.