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48 Days – “Ah Ha Moments”

48 Days – “Ah Ha Moments”

48Days-3“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I call them Ah Ha Moments – like a light bulb appearing over a cartoon head on TV – all of a sudden that moment of realization hits you – that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I was sitting in the 5th row of seats at church.  We were a few minutes early and made it in time for the on-screen announcements.   To my surprise Dave Ramsey appeared on the jumbo screen.  Everything in life paused for a moment and my face lit up like a candle!  I caught myself instantly being filled with an overwhelming sense of longing to Dave’s energy and passion for what he does.  I’ve always liked Dave Ramsey – his personality, his passion, his energy, his drive, his overall message, his love for the Lord – all of it.  He even reminds me of my dad and I catch myself calling him “Uncle Dave” – even though I don’t have any relation to him at all (deep down I really wish I did though).

Dan says in his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love, that everyone has a vocation or a calling and you need to take notice of Ah Ha Moments in your life – this may give you a strong indication of your calling.  Those moments of deep longing, or when you are doing something and realize in that moment that you are doing exactly what you were born to do.  A calling is not something reserved just for pastors, priests and monks.  God places a calling inside each one of us with special gifts and talents reserved just for us as individuals.  We fulfill our calling simply by being exactly what God created us to be and by being excellent at it.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  I’ve struggled with this idea for such a long time – trying to figure out my true calling in life and never really understanding what it is.  Half the time I always felt like people are “called” into ministry – but rarely  do you hear someone say, I’m called to be a mom or an IT professional.  Seems like you can only be “called” when it has to do with devoting your life to full-time ministry, but that’s flawed thinking – 100% flawed.  Think about it – God created everything and everyone and each has a unique purpose – God created trees to be trees and by that tree being a tree it gives glory to God.  The same is true for us – God created each of us unique and by being ourselves and doing to the best of our ability exactly what God intended for us to do, we will find ultimate fulfillment.  Whoa!  That was profound – even for me!

So, how in the world do we figure out our calling?  According to Dan it starts with understanding the difference between your vocation, your career, and your job.  I’d have to say I used the words vocation and career interchangeably – they seemed like the same thing, where in fact, they are not, and this understanding has again lifted a burden off me.  Your vocation is the big picture of your life – the overall direction and purpose, the thing you do in life that gives you meaning and leaves a legacy for generations to come.

The Dictionary defines Vocation as:

  1. a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
  2. a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
  3. a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life.
  4. a function or station in life to which one is called by God.

I define vocation as the overall direction of your life, your calling – that unique path for your life that only God could put you on – that “thing” that you were put on this earth to do.

Your career is an entirely different thing – it’s a line of work that you do for a certain amount of time and you can have many different careers in your lifetime.

The Dictionary defines Career as:

  1. an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.
  2. a person’s progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking.
  3. success in a profession, occupation, etc.
  4. a course, especially a swift one.

My favorite definition is #2 –  a person’s progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking.  “Through a phase of life” – this perfectly explains a career to me.  A phase of life – think on that.

When I figure out my vocation and the overall big picture of what I want to do with my life, then there will be many careers that I may choose to do that still fulfill my overall vocation, especially if I decide that the career path I choose when I was 18 is no longer the career I want today.  Take for example the vocation of “helping people” – that can translate into many different careers such as being a teacher, doctor, pastor, writer, entertainer, etc.  And that also translates into many different jobs within a chosen career path.  If you started out helping people by being a special education teacher in an elementary and then decided that teaching kids was not your thing at all, then you could change your career path by going on to teach college students instead or start a ministry where you are helping homeless people.  All of these careers still fall within the vocation of “helping people.”

I hope I haven’t lost you yet!  All of this is a like gold to me!  I feel like I’m learning about myself and living backwards – oh to go back to my younger years and do all of this in the correct order!  Oh well, I’m sure if I could go back in time, none of this would seem so profound.  Right?!  I’m hoping my journey can somehow offer hope to someone else in my shoes who is struggling with their calling as well.

Let’s also define a Job – the Dictionary defines Job as:

  1. a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price.
  2. a post of employment; full-time or part-time position.
  3. anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility.

A job is a job.  It can be big or small.  It can be fun, or awful.  It can be the best choice you ever made or the worst.  It’s all up to you!  And the best part, it’s just a job – so if you hate it, change it.  If you love it, turn it into your career and if it’s fulfilling to you, then most likely it’s right in line with your vocation and you can truly say it’s your calling in life!  I think most people live their entire lives never finding their true vocation or calling – not because they haven’t tried, but because they let life and circumstances get in the way.  There were bills to pay and kids to take care of and they took the first job they could make money doing so that their kids were taken care of.  Next thing they know, it’s 20 years down the road and they are wondering what happened to their life.  Maybe, it never occurred to them to look at their life’s purpose and seek to understand what is God’s best for them.  Please Lord, don’t ever let that be me!  I don’t want to be scared to dream, to wonder, to take a leap!

Dan says, “Jobs will come and go, but they should never derail you from the fulfillment of your calling.”

I think I’ve made it too hard for me to see my calling.  It’s probably right in front of me and has been all this time.   I must be making it complicated – as if my calling is not enough – like it must be more, or harder, or it’s not worthy of being the calling of my life.  Funny, when I consider who placed that calling on my life – who is the Master and Creator of ALL that I am?

“You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” – Psalm 139:16

Lord, help me see it – help me see my calling, my vocation, the overall direction of what you want me to be and do with my life.  Make it clear to me and give me a sense of Peace when it’s resonated in my heart.

I’m still working on this one you guys…. I’m thinking and praying about it and will be back with my thoughts soon.

48Days-3

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September 19, 20170 commentsRead More
My 48 Day Journey – Money Isn’t Everything

My 48 Day Journey – Money Isn’t Everything

48Days-2“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

As I dive into the 48 Days to Work You Love book by Dan Miller I’m struck with many “um hmmm” and “yes” and “oh you tell ‘em Dan” mumblings out of my mouth.  I read a page or two and wanted to highlight most of the words!  He has so many one-line truths that make me feel very hopeful and validated.  I even feel validated in my confusion of what I’m doing with my life, which is very encouraging.  I think I’ve always felt that your job is what defines your success in life – if you climb the corporate ladder just high enough, or if you start your own business and have a bunch of employees, or if you join a network marketing business and build your team to the top level, then that means you were successful in life.  With each of these, there would also be a big stream of money that came along with it.  Big fancy job, high level career, top earner and lots of money – to me, that was being successful.

I hate that I even put that on paper, I feel like it makes me sound shallow.  Yes, I had dreams too, and yes having money sure seems to be the best solution to a lot of life’s hardships.  How many times have you taken a job just because of the money?  Or better yet, how many times have you tried a job because of the promise of BIG money?  You know what I’m talking about.  We all have the one friend who is in a network marketing business – not too long ago I was also in one myself.  My husband and I got into the business because we loved the products and we wanted to share them with everyone!  Naturally, I assumed that every person in my life would want to try them, and I also assumed that the products would literally sell themselves.

At the beginning, lots of friends and family did support us and they gave the products a try.  Our business declined as soon as I ran out of friends and family to talk to.  I desperatlely wanted our business to succeed because we both wanted that promise of money, more time with the kids, and the cool car that came along with the higher levels of achievement (we did need a new car at the time, so this seemed like a win-win).  We stuck with it for two solid years.  We went to all the local meetings, and traveled to the BIG meetings out of state, and held our own meetings out of our house.

I wrote ebooks, blogged about the products, shared the products on all forms of social media, messaged and called all my contacts, and as time went on I started to notice a shift in my attitude.  I no longer saw people as people – they were a target.  I would consider every possible angle I could think of to somehow bring up how my products or business could fix any problems they had.  I no longer saw people for who they were – my friends, my family, people God placed in my path on a daily basis that needed His love – they were all possible business associates that could take us to our next level.  Ick!!! When I finally realized this I was ashamed of who I had become.  That’s not who I am.  I love being around people and being there for them when they need something.

I realized my new business that I started with the best intentions had turned into something that I didn’t want to be a part of anymore.   And you know what?  I didn’t see God’s blessing in it either – it was like  we were spinning our wheels and never getting any traction.  After the second year of trying to fit a square peg into a circle we finally walked away, and I’m not sorry we did.  Let me tell you, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I could finally love on my friends again without seeing a dollar sign.  For me the big selling part to joining a network marketing business was the amount of money and success you could achieve – all depending on how hard you work – I wanted to experience the American Dream of having lots of money, toys, and time.  While I think this business model is legit, it’s super hard, and so many of us try and don’t last very long.  For those that make it and enjoy it, I applaud you, but for me, I sure hated how much I thought about money and the constant push for more time, more meetings, more people, more…more..more…more.

In the pursuit of my dream, I was sacrificing so many other parts of my life.  I was focused too much on money and forgot about caring for people.  My good intentions of having a better and more fulfilling life were pushed way off to the side and eventually I lost myself.  I toiled so hard in working our business that I didn’t make physical exercise a daily habit, and I quit eating healthy because it took up too much time to prepare healthy food.  I only made coffee dates with potential clients instead of just meeting up with a friend to see how they were doing.  I stopped volunteering to make dinners for neighbors in need because I was “too busy working”.  I quit doing a lot of the things that God put me here on earth, in my state, in my neighborhood, on my street, to do for others.   Like I said, it was a big learning experience!

My journey of being a part of a network marketing company taught me many things about myself.  I don’t want to sell – period.  The funny thing about that is I totally can.  I have a personality for days – I can talk to just about anyone, but I hate the feeling of having to “sell” to someone or convince someone they need what I have.  It’s not who I am and I’m so glad I found Dan’s book because one thing I’ve learned is that just because I have the skills to do something really well, like selling, it doesn’t mean I have to do that for my job.

Until I figure out what I want to do for my “work” I’m happy that there is more to life than just job success.  I saw so many people in my network marketing business that seemed happy on the outside because of their top level achievement, but behind the scenes when no one was looking, they were over-worked, stressed out, and quite possibly unfulfilled.  I didn’t want to be one of those people who spent all my time, efforts and energies working on my business and neglected all other parts of my life.

I won’t ever take a job again where I have to convince people to buy something – it just feels wrong to me.  For those of you out there who are in a network marketing business and love it – ROCK ON!!!  Stick with it if you are loving it and can’t wait to get up every morning to work on it.  For me, I’m glad I now know that my job success is not the only piece to a successful life.  There are so many other parts to who we are as human beings, and the key is to keep it all in balance and to make deposits into all areas of your life – not just work.

Dan’s book has a whole new take on what really is a successful life.  A successful life is so much more than a job or a career.  Your work is only a small part of your overall life success, or at least it should be.  That’s the key.  In Dan’s book, 48 Days To The Work You Love he says, “Work cannot be the only component of a successful, fulfilling life, but it is a very useful tool.”  God made us to work and it’s a part of life, but why not have work that is fulfilling both physically, mentally, and spiritually? Yes!!

How in the world do you even figure this out?  That’s what I want, a J-O-B that earns money, is fun, exciting, fulfills my spiritual gifts, helps people, and doesn’t feel like work.  That’s what I’m looking for.  But I have to remind myself that work is not the only part of having a fulfilled life.  We need to stop being defined by what we do, but instead by who we are.   There are 6 areas of your life that need constant deposits made into them to keep them running – Work, Family, Personal Development, Community, Church, and Recreation.  If you spend all your waking hours working, then your family and kids suffer.  If you spend all your time with your friends in community – staying out too late then your job suffers and your home life falls apart.  If you spend too much time working on personal development by reading books and watching YouTube seminars never leaving your couch, then your health suffers.  If you give and give and give to your kids and family always meeting their needs first, then your health and personal development suffer.  It’s a nasty cycle of give and take.  You give too much to one thing, than everything else suffers.  I think a successful life is all about balance – which is so much easier said than done.  Am I right?!  Success cannot be defined by work alone.  Mind-blowing!!!

So…wrap it up Katrina…what do you mean?!  For right now, I feel like Dan has just lifted a burden off of me.  Work and money are not everything!  In our crazy, success-driven American lives, we give our souls to our work and there are lots of other areas of life that are worthy and are part of a successful and fulfilling life.  Just dwell on that for a few days…until I have more.

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September 7, 20170 commentsRead More