continued from Part Three…
Discovering Our Call To Purpose
Three terms that are often heard when discussing our “purpose” in life are purpose, mission, and calling. These words often used interchangeably and can mean basically the same thing. I think the confusion comes in when an author or speaker uses these three expressions to mean different things. With that thought in mind, whenever I use these words, I take them to mean basically the same thing. Our mission, our purpose, and our calling refer to our God-given reason for being here on this planet at this time. In addition, I firmly believe that God has a highly specific calling for each of us that has three primary aspects:
- It is personal and specific to us;
- It is related to our spiritual gifts
- The realization and actualization of this mission is a major part of our spiritual formation and helps grow into the optimal version of ourselves.
In the next section we will talk about vision and it is important to understand how mission and vision are different. Our mission or purpose is far more general than our vision. Basically, you can say our vision is the specific way in which we will realize our mission.
We can say that your mission is your life calling, your reason for being here. It is not so much specific activities as it is the reason you perform those activities. Your mission gives your life meaning and gives you positive motivation to get out of bed each morning and, in positive faith, face the challenges that may come your way. Your true mission is a major motivator, something you enjoy doing, and something for which you have passion and enthusiasm.
One thing is guaranteed. If you cooperate with God and consecrate yourself to the process of becoming the optimal version of yourself, you’ll end up becoming far more than you ever imagined possible. In his infinite wisdom, God has given you divine potential to achieve your divine calling and, as we have seen, has equipped you perfectly to carry out that calling. As you work toward realizing your divine purpose, your will undergo great personal and spiritual change. You will be transformed into something far greater than you ever imagined.
Living With Vital Vision
A fundamental component of living a life of spiritual optimism is the birth, development, clarification, and realization of your personal vision. Solomon tells us in Proverbs that without vision, the people perish. The same principle is true for all of us. We may not physically die without having a personal vision to guide and direct our steps, but we will surely die spiritually. Without the motivating presence of our own vibrant, vitalizing, vision we surely cannot manifest the optimal version of ourselves.
A vision consists of our perception of our particular mission in life and more precisely, defines the specific framework within which we will carry out that mission. Vision gives us a sense of direction, acting like a compass when we lack certainty about our direction in life. In this sense, vision gives us a basis upon which we can make positive and effective choices among various options that might be available to us. A personal vision gives us hope and courage, especially when we are feeling overwhelmed or when we are confronted with difficulties or setbacks.
As mentioned earlier, vision is intimately related to purpose but more specific. Put simply, vision is the method whereby you see yourself living out your mission to completion. Living with vital vision involves every area of your life and how those aspects of your life related to your personal mission. Your vision involves your family, friends, associates, and especially your choice of career. Ideally, all of these things come together in a harmonious orbit around the specific vision you develop for carrying forward your mission.
Arriving at your vision is a process, not an event. It requires much planning, organization, and flexibility. Most significantly, developing your vision involves deep, focused, and above all, consistent prayer. You cannot expect to discover what God wants you to do and the best way to do it without communing with Him on a regular basis. Pray that the Holy Spirit walks with you, guiding you, and challenging you to move forward with your vision, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. More than anywhere else in the process of growth into excellence, the phase of vital vision may require you to think out of the box.
A simple way to look at the relationship of vision and mission is as follows. Let’s suppose that three friends all have a mission to provide convenient, quality, fast-food to busy workers. One may decide to open a Burger King franchise, another a Pizza Hut. The third may have a vision of a Taco Bell. You see, the mission of quality fast-food is the same; the vision of each friend is different. I realize this example is overly simplistic, but I do think it serves our purposes of demonstrating how a vision is a specific plan for carrying forward a more general mission or calling.
The concept of personal vision is intimately tied to at least four other significant factors in the life of a sincere spiritual aspirant: God, dreams, purpose, and optimism. Although space does not allow for a detailed discussion of these four critical connections, let’s take a brief look at how personal vision is tied to them.
It is imperative to understand that your personal vision is a Spirit-designed and Spirit-imparted phenomenon. Through my work with individuals and groups over the past 35 years I have come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit imparts a specific, achievable, personal vision to each of us prior to our birth on this planet. Further, God not only gives us this vision, but also supplies us with all the talents and gifts we need in order to bring that vision to life and completion. We may have to work at honing and sharpening those Spirit-given talents but we should always keep in mind that those gifts come from a divine origin.
Our dreams are also connected to our vision. I am not talking about the kind of dreams we have when we sleep. Instead, I am talking about those dreams that we entertain as we imagine what we would like to do and what goals we would like to accomplish. The dreams I am speaking of here have to do with our imaginings of becoming the best that we can be and even more significant, making a positive contribution to the world. These dreams, like our personal vision, come from God. I am convinced that our dreams are one method the spiritual realm uses to communicate to us about our personal vision. We, therefore, should never discount our dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may initially seem.
In fact, there are many times that the most impossible dreams have their origins in the mind of God. Think about it. I believe Divine Intelligence desires that we always remain cognizant of the fact that we are ultimately dependent upon him for everything. With this truth in mind, it is very reasonable to assume that the Holy Spirit may indeed give us dreams that are impossible to fulfill without a vital connection to the Divine Source. Perhaps I evaluate a dream and feel inspired, but say to myself, “That’s something I could really get into and it meets a very real need. Still, there is no way I can ever do that by myself.” God, in response, may very well be saying, “No, you can’t. But we can.” The Bible clearly tells us that with God, all things are possible.
I suggest that over the next week or so you set aside some time to examine your dreams, both current and from the past that, for whatever reason, you did not allow to grow and develop. Study these dreams and ask for guidance in gaining insight into how these specific dreams may now be or may have been connected to your personal vision. Do you see any common themes in these dreams? If these dreams somehow were to become manifest in reality, what specific and beneficial purpose would they serve? This exercise may help you in your search to discover the exact nature of your personal vision.
How do I discover my vision? There is no one way to do this, but one thing is true: Start by discovering your personal purpose. Your vision should then flow out of that purpose. Discovery of our purpose (mission) is intimately tied up with our personal vision. One thing I have discovered over the years about uncovering purpose and vision is this: You have to be creative and think outside the box. At first, don’t discount any idea just because it seems impossible. Often, God gives us impossible things to do so that we can discover that we need him to do anything of last worth.
Art Sepulveda, Senior Pastor of the Word of Life Christian Center in Honolulu has written an excellent book entitled, Focus: What’s in Your Vision. In this book Pastor Sepulveda gives the following guidelines for envisioning your future:
Expand your horizons by stretching your imagination
Nurture new ideas
Vote for positive changes with a welcoming attitude
Imagine the impossible
Stay ahead of tomorrowInvent the future
Notice unlimited opportunity
The pastor’s suggestions are first-rate and I would encourage anyone interested in kick-starting the process of discovering their person vision to implement his ideas. I think you will discover that developing vision is not nearly as difficult as you have imagined it to be. The reason for this is that you are not so much trying to invent something that doesn’t exist; instead, you are actually uncovering the outline of something placed in your heart by God before you took your first breath.
Finally, let’s see how your dreams, purpose, and vision connect with optimism. It is a connected as part of a process that begins with potential and ends with the glory of assisting in the realization of God’s kingdom on earth. Let’s take a look at a synopsis of this process – a process that can only lead to Christian optimism.
to be continued….
(c) L.D. Turner 2012/All Rights Reserved
- The Unfolding of Sacred Potential (Part Three – Revised and Expanded) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)
- The Unfolding of Sacred Potential (Part One – Revised and Expanded) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)
- The Unfolding of Sacred Potential (Part Two – Revised and Expanded) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)
- A Note on Unfolding Divine Potential (lifebrook.wordpress.com)