A Test to See If Your Compass Is Pointing True North

Have you ever gotten lost before? I have.

I remember as a young, elementary-aged kid going to a relatives’s home for the weekend with my family in beautiful Napa Valley. Down the street was an amazing carnival with all sorts of fun rides – you know, the ones where feeling nauseous and dizzy is part of the reason you paid for the ride in the first place.

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I remember getting so enthralled with my surroundings that I failed to notice my parents walking ahead of me and turning a corner.

All of a sudden, my joy turned to sheer panic as I got back in the moment and did not see my parents.

L-O-S-T.

I remember the feeling of my lostness – my heart stopped. The carnival was just down the street from the house we were staying at, but the way I felt, I might as well have been parachuted into the middle of the Amazon Rainforest all by myself. 

Somehow I was able to get to my relative’s home, crying and in despair. They became my “true north” bearing for me as they assured me all would be well and took me back to the carnival and helped me find my parents.

O blessed reunion!

In last week’s post, I emphasized three ways to lead yourself before leading others. And one of those emphases was writing your own personal mission statement. If you have not done this, I would highly encourage it because it will allow you to creatively and thoughtfully come to your own “true north” in your life. It allows you to see where you are and where you want to be.

Because drifting is too easy.

As a follow up, I want to reference a guest post from a couple of years ago from a dear friend of mine, Bobby Wood. There are few people who have shaped my thought and invested in me more than this guy. His post is about how to write your own mission statement, and I believe it will add value to your own life as you perhaps think about your own purpose or mission.

I appreciate the thoughts in this post and hope they are inspiring to you as well.

~~~~~

Personal Mission Statement

What if a company was without a mission statement? Why should we worry about it? We don’t usually ask or look for Mission Statements in business establishments. So why do we care about what they want to accomplish?

Because a company that doesn’t know why they exist won’t exist for long. 

Confusion in complex decision making will quickly bring it to its knees.

My personal experience confirms what my mentor taught me: without a purpose in life I would meander around and not get much accomplished and I will have trouble with decision-making just like a company without a mission statement. We end up making choices we think are “good” and then waste time on merely “good” things when we could be choosing God’s “best.”

It is easy to fill our lives with “good” things and you will always find that, at some point, you have to choose between good things and other good things without knowing which ones you are supposed to do. Quickly watch this video and then come back.

Made for More than Merely Existing

What is your purpose in life? If that guy in the video were to have stopped you on the sidewalk, what would your answer have been? What did you notice about all the responses? Almost all were self-centered with the exception, perhaps, of the girl that wanted to save the planet by saving electricity.

Forbes Magazine highlights an amazing Harvard research study demonstrating that having plans for how you want your future to look is directly and overwhelmingly correlated to your overall success in life. But for the unbeliever who contemplates why he exists, these thoughts often existentially take them to great depths of agony and misery despite success. Merely pursuing what we want with no regard for God’s design for us always leads to an empty dissatisfaction in life.

God’s Very Intentional Mission for You

Christians should be INTENTIONAL in our walk and how we use our time. For the Christian, Ephesians 2:10 says “We are HIS workmanship” (Workmanship in Greek is poeme). Recognize that root? This is not just any poem, but a Masterpiece! You were handcrafted by majesty! God stopped and thought about exactly what you needed to accomplish HIS plan and gave it to you. Not your plan, but HIS plan.

Maybe you are only 5’9″ and wanted to play in the NBA. At some point you must acknowledge that the NBA likely wasn’t HIS plan for you. Moving on in Ephesians 2:10 it says “in Christ Jesus.” That gives me great confidence. I can do ALL THINGS through Christ. Maybe not all things I want, but all things (“unto good works”) HE created me to accomplish.

I could exposit this verse more, but to stick to our point there is a natural question that follows.  If God knows exactly what HE created me to accomplish, but I don’t know it, shouldn’t I be asking HIM to make that purpose clear to me? WARNING: It doesn’t become crystal clear overnight. It took me about 6 months of praying and searching and listening to God before I was comfortable saying “This is why God created me.” You must know your raison d’être or reason to exist.

I have developed a process for my students to explore and write a personal mission statement. If anyone is interested in taking the challenge, I will be glad to email it to you (alohabmw@gmail.com). Once you have a clear view of the finish line it is much easier to run the race.

Mission Statement: Core Values and Call to Action

While there are thousands of definitions of mission statement, a Personal Mission Statement should include your highest core values and some sort of call to action. God created you with a unique set of skills and abilities and then burdens your heart for specific tasks. The challenge is trying to figure out how to synthesize these gifts into a memorable expression of why you exist. Once you have completed it and beat it up and are happy with it, you will have a compass to help steer your decision making patterns from “good” to “best.”

I’d love to hear from you — please leave a reply below if you have any thoughts to add to this conversation.

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