Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught . . . Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever. ― Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor
In my last article on personal vision I said, “Our personal vision is the clearest description of our calling, what God has made us to do in this life.” The question we want to address in today is, “How do we discover our personal vision, or calling?”
It is important to remember that jobs and careers come and go. Your calling—your God-appointed mission in life—stays constant throughout your life because it is a reflection of who God has made you to be.
George Barna defines “vision” as “the clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to his chosen servants based upon an accurate understanding of God, self, and circumstances.” Given this definition we can begin to see why it is so important for us to discover our calling, or personal vision. Discovering our personal vision will help us to:
- Live holistic lives. Theologian Louis Berkhof wrote, “…If all those who are now citizens of the Kingdom would actually obey its laws in every domain of life, the world would be so different that it would hardly be recognized.”
- Live with a Kingdom focus. Jesus tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 6:33).
- Live lives that are transformational. As Christians who become salt and light, we have the ability to influence and transform the world around us (Matt. 5:13-16).
- Live in a uniquely Christian manner. We must live lives worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1-16).
- Live with an eye to the common good. We are most blessed when we are a blessing to others (Jer. 29:7).
Our calling is the expression of our personalities and our gifts in a unique, given direction. In seeking to discover our personal vision, we must realize that God created us with many particular characteristics, desires, and talents. Instead of embracing the world’s maxim, “You are what you do,” we are to understand God’s calling to say, “Do what you are.”
Here are five areas in which you can find clues that will help you discover you personal vision:
- Personality: Understand your God-given personality, because it defines the real you. There are many tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that you can take this will give you great insight into your personality.
- Strengths and gifts: Take a test like StrengthsFinder, to help you more clearly identity your strengths and gifts.
- Passions: Sit down and make a list of the things you are really passionate about.
- Life verse: Is there one verse in the Scriptures that so strongly resonates with you that you would call it your life verse?
- Life history: As you look back through your life, even your childhood, are there things that you were really good at and sincerely enjoyed doing?
As you prayerfully consider these five areas, a picture of who God has made you to be will begin to emerge. This picture may be fuzzy at first, but it will begin to give you a foundation on which you can create a meaningful personal vision for your life. It’s also important to work through these five areas in community. Your friends, family, and church can help you see your personality, your strengths and gifts, and other aspects of yourself you might not see at first.
Our world is governed by God, and so is your life. You are the work of his hands. The only way your life will have true meaning is when you engage God’s world the way that he designed you to. Early in the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf tells Frodo, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
And so it is with each of us.
This article originally appeared on the website of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics.