I don’t know what I want to do. Do you?

I am thirty-six years old. Strong. Intelligent. Blessed. And pretty darn humble too.

OK seriously… I am thirty six years old.

When I was twenty-five I knew what I wanted to do “for the rest of my life.” I’m not so sure about that anymore.

I don’t know how or where, but somewhere along the way things have gotten blurry. For the last couple of years I have wrestled with this thought:

Most young people are idealists. They come charging into life with intentions and plans to change the world, but somewhere along the journey “reality” sets in. They have a setback or two and before you know it the dreamers wake up, and “settle” for simply showing up and staying out of trouble.

When Idealism meets reality it seems like reality wins more often than not. Dreams get shelved… or worse, forgotten.

“Mature” men snicker and “poo poo” the enthusiasm of youth. They have forgotten what it felt like to dream. They have accepted “reality.”

And yet there is something beautiful about a man (or woman) who has taken a strong dose of “reality” and still continues to press forward with the dream… a person in whom idealism continues to breath!

I have met “reality” and tasted the bitter taste of disappointment and failure. I have felt the tug towards complacency and even been encouraged by some to “slow down.” And yet I live with the sense that these are the danger days… the days in which choices are made that separate dreamers from settlers… risk takers from security seekers. These are the days when I will choose to shelve my passion and hunker down or I will choose to light it up and move forward. I have seen enough middle aged and older people living with regret that I am determined not to be one of their number.

But I am troubled. What used to be so clear is not so clear any longer.

Somewhere along the way I have lost my clarity… my driving purpose… my “hill to die on”… the crusade for which I will give my life.

Now, I know that to write this is risky. It means that the people I pastor may wonder about me. It means that those who look up to me (everyone shorter than 6’1) may not look at me the same any longer. Some may not understand. This note is not for them.

This note is for you… those of you who, like me, still have a passion to change the world, to make an impact… you’re just not sure exactly how YOU are going to do it. This note is for you… for us.

I don’t have an answer… yet. But I know that there is a clear and specific purpose for each person. I have a general sense of purpose… to study, write, teach, and call people to God… but I lack specifics beyond that. I wish I knew what they were.

So, I’ve been reading a book called, Leaders Who Last, by Dave Kraft. In this book he discusses the importance of knowing your purpose… it’s critical for lasting in the leadership arena.

He gives eleven pointers that are well worth my time to follow up on so I thought I’d share them with you too. From Dave Kraft, “here are a few steps that will help you on the road to identifying your purpose”:

1. Record Bible passages God has applied to your life.

2. Reflect on how God has used you in the past.

3. Determine what you are passionate about.

4. List your known gifts and strengths.

5. Delineate what you have excelled at in your work experi­ence.

6. Define what action words best describe what you like to do.

7. Write down what you enjoy doing in your free time.

8. Reread all your answers.

9. Take note of common themes.

10. Write down key words or ideas that repeat.

11. Summarize those key words in a short, energizing state­ment about yourself.

Now I share this, my story and Dave’s tips, for two reasons:

  • I want to encourage you! Dave Kraft was thirty-eight when he really began to wrestle this matter to the ground. He went on to figure it out… and write a book about it! If Dave did it we can too!
  • I want to give you a process and a forum to begin discovering clarity! I’ve talked with enough of my colleagues and friends to know I’m not the only one wrestling with this need for clarification so I decided to throw the door open on this one and begin a conversation… one that begins with honest confession, assumes the confident belief that there is a purpose for everyone, and assertively moves forward and works through Dave’s eleven ideas!

Want to join me on this quest?

3 thoughts on “I don’t know what I want to do. Do you?

  1. I think you just said what so many of us feel. This happens especially when you become a parent and take on the responsibility of other little lives – you seem to lose your own sometimes.

  2. You’re trying to answer questions that typically only come following growing older and looking back in reflection. The adage; “with age comes wisdom” springs to mind. Trust me, what may not make any sense to you know will later in life. I have very very few regrets in my life although there were plenty of times I didn’t understand my circumstances at the time. Looking back now I can clearly see why they arose. It is rare that any of us will truly know whether our life lacked a specific purpose on any given day or not. He knows, and that is what matters.

  3. When I first met you I knew your gift was to write, I’m not sure when the time will be but I have always seen you as an author. (Just don’t put one of those creepy cameos on the front of the book where your chin is resting in your hand) You are so relateable and those searching on how to build a relationship with God would benefit by your experiences. I still reflect on many of the things you taught at Northgate…..
    just a thought.

    Beth Beale

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