David Borchard spoke of recognizing what we would define as our core values, and that everything else flows from those. He also explained that our passions are those things that are of deep-seated interest to us, as well as an energy source operating from our core values. Our talents entail our natural abilities, our aptitude, and those skills we develop over time. The weaving together of those two then become our motivators. Dr. Borchard basically said that gratification is a passing thing, but fulfillment is when you've achieved something and feel as though you're 'filled up' and satisfied with that which you've accomplished. But ultimately, the key to success comes from inside.
Success certainly means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? To some, it may be climbing the ladder of achievements. To another, it may be winning the game or defeating a competitor. To still another, it might be accumulating great wealth. But in our endeavors to be successful, we must recognize our responsibility as Christians. Our first priority is to our God (Matthew 6:33)! We are called to be one in the body of Christ (Galatians 3:28). It is our responsibility to serve Him and help those less fortunate and win others over to want to know Christ, and then helping them on that path (2 Corinthians 5:18 - our assignment). There is nothing wrong with great wealth - as long as we understand that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). I once told a very dear friend that success of this world means nothing if you've left your loved ones in the wake as you pursued that success full steam ahead. I said to imagine that he were one of those people trapped in the collapsing World Trade Center buildings. No degree, no bank account, no car, no house, no competition will have mattered at that point. All that remains is love. Leaving a legacy where those we leave behind can remember us with laughter or smiles through their tears is far more significant than any
worldly item or 'win'! That is what bridges generational boundaries.
We should not be discouraged is we haven't yet discovered our passions, or even our talents. Truthfully, it's been 8 years now that I've discovered my passion or even taken the time to recognize my talents – writing! I’ve done much privately with it, never knowing how to share it. Then in April, He revealed it – and this blog found its place in His Kingdom. It takes time . . . prayerful time in asking Him to reveal things within your spirit of where HE would have you go, and what HE has placed within you in order to reach this hurting world - even if it's only to reach one person at a time. God put His spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 2:22). "Soul searching" - taking time to evaluate your life, recognize your strengths, accept your weaknesses and do what you can to improve upon them, and come to understand your likes and dislikes. Then take it all to Him and ask what He would have you do with it and what He would have you learn from it. None of us is ever too old to learn something new about ourselves! And I readily admit to a LOT of frustration in the slowness of the process! But MUCH has had to happen in my life to get me to this point where I’m open enough, and completely SURRENDERED, and ready to move forward unencumbered with where He’s asking me to go.
We all enter this world in different circumstances, encounter different people and joys, and struggles in life. We are each made unique - in our appearance, in our personality, in our circumstances, in our gifts and talents, and in the passion that lies within each of us. But also know this: we are ALL created in the image of God. We all comprise His likeness. I imagine a "photo mosaic" picture - the kind where hundreds of individual pictures are artfully placed together so that when you step back, you see a whole new bigger picture. And the picture of each of us working together form the image of our heavenly Father. I'm reminded of a painting done by an artist, Bill Zdinak. I read his story in a book I took when clearing out my mother's house. The story so intrigued me that I did an Internet search of the artist in order to see his work. Mr. Zdinak made a painting entitled, "In His Image" that is truly unbelievable. At a distance, it is a depiction of Jesus wearing His crown of thorns. But as you look more closely, you understand that Jesus' image is actually comprised of the faces of so many people - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Jonas Salk (developer of the first polio vaccine), President John F. Kennedy, and Alexander Graham Bell (boy, wouldn't he be surprised at how far phone service has come!?!), to name a few, as well as simple everyday people. You can view the painting more closely and read some of his story on www.printsforinspiration.com. But the truly remarkable thing that you don't get to read on that website is that two years prior to creating this painting, Mr. Zdinak had been horribly injured in a freak accident. It was only after he cried out to God, that the inspiration came upon him to paint this piece, and that he finished it in 15 hours.
God IS there and He IS listening. I know there are times it seems He is not, but remember that HIS timing is best and we must go through the struggles we do to develop perseverance (Romans 5:3-4), and ultimately hope. In the song Broken (#5 in my playlist) it says, "there is beauty in the breaking". Boy, you never think so at the time, that's for sure! But, once you get through the valley (remember, He never promised us we'd go around that valley, but that He would walk with us through it!), you realize that there probably was some beauty to it in order to get you more experience where you can then use your struggle to help someone else. We ALL have been through those things. And quite honestly, I have found that many of those struggles have developed the passion within me.
I view doing things within my passion as something which gives me peace - peace at having done it (like writing this post to share with you). Your passion should entail something you greatly love to do, but also by means of utilizing the talents that God has given you. It breaks down to asking Him to reveal things within yourself to your self. And, do you know God's will for you? I'm not going to tell you. Go check it out yourself - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
And by the way, how do I measure success? Raising my children to know and love the Lord and to know these following things I live by: to love others and be loved, to offer myself in His service by whatever means He needs, to touch others' lives and hearts, to live each day to the fullest striving to do all that I can for Him, and to leave a little bit of "me" behind in each person I encounter along this journey Home. And, I must confess - just being inspired to write this has shown me that I have been successful. Sure, I've let the situations of each day overtake me rather than to live them to the fullest, exclaiming Psalm 118:24 - "This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it." It's truly humbling to realize that every day we're given could also be our last.
Remember, our passions have been set deep within us by God. Our talents come from God. He is the Creator of all things. He alone can see the big picture of the experiences we have and how they can then impact others' lives. And believe me, there are hurting people in this world who can gain from our insight based upon our struggles and experiences. So, do some real soul
searching and ask Him to reveal things to you about you! You never know whose life you'll touch with the insight you'll gain. Perhaps you won't know until you're called Home. But . . . it's invigorating to think of the prospect!
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes. It's by Frederick Buechner ~ The place where God calls you . . . is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.