I have the best job ever. As a leadership coach, every week I spend time with women who want to make their lives count. Regardless of their age, they share with me they are no longer content with an aimless life. But they’re also not quite sure how to change course or what direction to choose.
Maybe you’ve been there too. Maybe you’ve found yourself saying some of the same things they’ve shared with me:
- “I don’t know how I got here.”
- “It seems like other people are doing all the deciding for me.”
- “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my gifts, my skills, my life.”
- “Is this all there is? There should be something more.”
I love helping women navigate this territory because I can relate. I’ve been there myself.
About five years ago, I was sitting on the dock at my friend’s lake house processing this very thing. My life hadn’t seemed to follow any sort of clear path, and I was questioning just about every decision I had made up to that point. I was thinking, and praying, and asking God about the next chapter in my leadership, my career, and my life.
Truth be told, I was secretly wondering if I should just throw in the towel and give up my hopes of making a difference. I was daydreaming of going to work at my local bakery. I figured while I may not be living out my calling, at least I would be bringing sweet, baked bliss to all the people of the world. (Not so bad, right?)
Sitting on the dock that day, I had my Bible open and a set of Listen to My Life maps sprawled across my lap. The maps helped me reflect on my seemingly haphazard career choices and see God’s hand of provision all the way through. Looking back showed me the depth and maturity I had gained from difficult experiences. When I looked closer, I saw patterns of passion in the kinds of people and work I was drawn to.
When I looked at Scripture, it reinforced God’s vision and intentional design—of me:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me’” (Jeremiah 29:11–13).
“Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14, NIV).
Both the maps and God’s Word prompted bigger questions about my next step. Questions like:
- How am I unique from everyone else on the planet?
- What would make this next chapter of my story worth writing?
- What is the work of my hands, God?
Mapping Out the Future
That afternoon on the dock inspired me to start dreaming with God. I asked him more intently about his plans for me—about the woman he was creating me to become.
In fact, I imagined my very last birthday party (imagining my funeral seemed a bit too somber). I thought about the people I wanted to be there with me and what we would be celebrating. I dreamed about the impact God wanted to make on the world through me and what really mattered most at the end of a life.
What I saw was this older version of me who was healthy and strong: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I envisioned my boys having grown into men who looked at the world, and women, differently because they had me for a mom. I envisioned a room full of women leaders empowered to change the world because of our time together.
I discovered that at the end of my life, what I really want to be known for is loving well, being present, provoking “aha” moments, encouraging wholeheartedly, and challenging fearlessly. And as I thought about all of that, I realized I could start living toward being that woman right now.
I realized every opportunity, choice, and decision either took me a step closer to, or a step away from, the woman I imagined God creating me to be.
Think about it:
- When I let other people’s priorities become my priorities—a step away.
- When I regularly operate well outside of my gifts, skills, and passion—a step away.
- When I settle for status quo and ignore the dreams God has given me—a step away.
Or put another way:
- When I do the things only I can do—a step closer.
- When I invest in those God has given me to care for—a step closer.
- When I dare greatly and push past the fear—a step closer.
You see, this question has become a sort of personal decision filter for me: Does this [insert easy or difficult life choice here] take me a step closer to, or a step away from, the woman God is creating me to be?
That’s really all intentional living is: making daily choices that take me a few steps closer to the woman God is creating me to be. We don’t have to live as though the world is just happening to us anymore. Instead, we can heed this call: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Galatians 6:4–5, The Message).
What about you? Maybe the steps you’ve taken have been all over the map. Are you ready to live life on purpose? I encourage you to meditate on the Scriptures above or use my questions as your own prayer. Settle in on a friend’s dock (or patio) for a little while and dream with God about the woman he is creating you to be.
We were created with purpose to live with purpose.
Choose with me to live life with purpose today.
Becoming Who You Are
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