Seasons (Part 2)

Here is my second reflection on Paul’s life and the transition of seasons he was undergoing in leaving the city of Ephesus (read Seasons – Part 1).

Seasons are Marked by Endings and Beginnings

Paul felt an urgency that compelled him to leave Ephesus and go to Jerusalem, though he was completely in the dark about what would happen there (Acts 20:22). In fact, he knew there were hard times and imprisonment ahead (Acts 20:23). What mattered most was to finish what God had started through him – letting everyone know about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God (Acts 20:24). While with the church at Ephesus, Paul gave it all he had (Acts 20:18-21). He was with them totally, doing is best, giving his all (Acts 20:26-27, 31). But now he knew his time in Ephesus was coming to an end.

I know the feeling. I served on staff of a large church for 32 years – 22 years as the Senior Minister. I gave it all I had. I did my very best. But in the end, I was tired … I was spent and ready for a change. I had said and done everything I could and needed to. As I reflected personally and discussed this with my family over a period of time, I sensed that an ending was at hand. It was time to move on.

Life’s seasons are marked by endings and new beginnings. In fact, life is a series of endings, in-betweens, and beginnings, all interconnected. Examples include family changes (getting married, becoming a parent, a marriage breakdown, sickness, aging or death), school changes (from primary to secondary to university), work changes (career changes, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, promotions or a new boss), house changes (moving, immigration, relocation), church changes (relocation, changing demographics) and ministry changes (transitions, relational changes).

Henry Cloud is his helpful book book Necessary Endings says:

“Endings are a natural part of life – we either face them, stagnate or die. Without the ability to do endings well, we flounder, stay stuck and fail to reach our goals and dreams. Endings are crucial but we rarely like them. We naturally avoid them. That’s the problem. When endings are done well, the seasons of life are negotiated, and the proper endings lead to the end of pain, greater growth, personal and business goals reached and better lives. Endings bring hope. When done poorly, bad outcomes happen, good opportunities are lost, and misery either remains or is repeated … Endings are not failures or something to be avoided. Nothing lasts forever. Endings are normal. Life produces too much – more relationships, activities, clients, mentors, partners, strategies and stuff than we have time and room for. It it time for pruning? An ending does not mean you have failed. Avoid misunderstood loyalty and co-dependency. Insecurities and fears cause us to resist endings.”

The first half of life involves mostly beginnings. In the second half of life there are more endings and new beginnings. What endings have occurred for you that led to new beginnings? Make a list of them all. You’ll be surprised how many there are in life. What were these times like for you? What were the various feelings you had to navigate? How are you different now? What did you learn?

Seasons (Part 1)

I love Autumn! It is one of my favourite seasons of the year. The somewhat cooler days, the clear blue skies, and the glorious colours of the leaves. Change is in the air. The cycle of life is moving forward.

Nicole and I moved back to Melbourne last May after 18 months of living in the Sunshine Coast. We love Queensland but one of the things we missed were the seasons. I remember Nicole saying to me one day after 6 weeks of continuous sunshine and 32 degree days – “I really miss the rain!” Then when we were driving into Victoria, the first thing we noticed were the beautiful autumn leaves everywhere. We were coming back ‘home’. Yes, we have fallen in love with Melbourne … again.

Our time away was vital for us. It was like a long drink at the fountain, a place to re-fresh and re-fuel, a time to re-calibrate and transition into this new chapter of our lives. I am deeply grateful for it. It was part of my ongoing metamorphosis – of becoming who I truly am, apart from the various roles and responsibilities I have had for so many decades.

Today, I want to review some thoughts I shared back in 2015 about ‘seasons’. Take some time to read the story of the apostle Paul when he was about to leave the church at Ephesus. It’s recored for us in detail in Acts 20:13-38. Here are my observations:

Life is a Journey with Many Seasons

Paul grew up as a strict Pharisee, committed to his Jewish faith and its legal requirements. After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), his life was radically changed and he became an apostle to the Gentiles, sharing the gospel of Jesus to people from every strata of society. He ended up basing at the church in Antioch from where he travelled out on a number of church-planting missionary journeys (Acts 13). Eventually, he re-located to Ephesus where he had three years of his most fruitful ministry. This episode in his life shows us his transition away from Ephesus towards his eventual destination of Rome, the centre of the Roman Empire.

Paul’s time in Ephesus was about to come to an end. His life, like ours, was a journey with many different seasons, a story with many different chapters, much like a movie with many different scenes. Time is a constant as everything continually moves forward and is continually changing. Today becomes yesterday and tomorrow becomes today … and more quickly as you get older! We can’t control or stop the seasons, which are under God’s control (Ecclesiastes 3:1). However, we can decide how we will respond to the circumstances and the seasonal movements in our life.

In his book The Making of a Leader, leadership expert Robert Clinton says that each person that God uses goes through a common journey with different phases – sovereign foundations, ministry maturing (a primary focus on ‘doing’), life maturing (a greater focus on ‘being’), convergence, and then afterglow. There are many tests and incidents along the way – both positive and painful. There is benefit in stopping and reflecting on your journey. Life is lived forward but often understood backward.

Take some time to reflect on your life. Look back … where have you come from, where are you now, where are heading? What is God up to? What are incidents that have shaped who you are today? What have you learned? What season are you in right now?

Experience isn’t the greatest teacher. It is only the experiences that you reflect on that have the potential to become insight.

P.S. If you haven’t already, have a read of my poem entitled ‘Seasons‘.

Do You Have a ‘Secular’ Job?

Every now and then when I am talking with someone, in the course of the conversation, they will mention their ‘secular job’. I always pause and think about that statement. It actually grates me. Why is that?

Unfortunately, many people have created a division between the “sacred” and the “secular”. This dualism is a product of Greek philosophy that has so influenced our Western worldview. Life is often seen as a series of boxes– one for family, one for work, one for friends, one for recreation, and one for faith (God or our “spiritual life”). As long as we prioritise correctly and make appropriate contributions to each box, life will work out for us. This results in a compartmental style of thinking. In contrast, in the Hebrew or Jewish mind, and also from a Christian perspective, life should be viewed as one large circle with God in the centre. Everything else is to find its meaning and perspective from that centre. God wants to be involved in every area of our life – not just our spiritual life. All of life is sacred and God is interested in every dimension of our lives. 

Brother Lawrence, a French monastic from the seventeenth century, is well known for writing a little booklet that has touched millions of people’s lives. It’s called Practising the Presence of God. It’s about living with a greater realisation each moment of every day that God is with us and interested in doing life (including work) together with us.

The apostle Paul put it this way: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).” Doing something in Jesus’ name means to do it in his character. It means doing it as Jesus himself would do it if he were in your place. Paul is saying that our entire lives – from the moment we wake up until the time we lay down to sleep – are be lived out ‘in the name of Jesus’. Yes, God is interested in our work life. It matters to him and hopefully it matters to us too.

I hope you enjoy your job this week, whatever you may find yourself doing, and that you see it as part of your meaningful contribution to making the world a better place.

On my new podcast, I recently released a two-part series of messages called “Your Work, God’s Work” given back in 2013 which present a holistic view of our daily work. Visit Podbean or iTunes or your Spotify account to listen. You can also read the summary notes on my BLOG.

Freedom from Depression

Depression has been called “the common cold of the emotions”. Depression simply means “low mood”. Every one has time when they feel down or experience low mood but sometimes those feelings can linger for days, weeks, even months at a time. This can be quite debilitating, especially when others around you don’t fully understand what is going on.

The biblical stories include people’s experiences with the full range of human emotions, including depression. Famous people such as Moses, Job, David and Jeremiah went through bouts of depression, even cursing the day they were born. One of the more well known experiences of depression is the great prophet Elijah. He was so down that he had even become suicidal.

God shows us some excellent counselling skills as he walks Elijah through this dark valley of depressing emotions. I unpack these more fully in a BLOG series I did in 2017 called “Dealing with Depression“. Take some time to read through those posts, especially if you are facing depressing feelings currently. It will also help you to be a better support to people around you who may be experiencing low mood at the moment.

To listen to a message on “Freedom from Depression”, which was part of a teaching series at CityLife Church back in 2007 called “Prison Break”, visit the Mark Conner’s new podcast.

The full content of this message on freedom from depression, as well as teaching on freedom from other common challenges such as anger, worry, fear, rejection, addictions and spiritual bondages, purchase a copy of Mark’s best-selling book Prison Break – Finding Personal Freedom from WORD in Australia or Amazon internationally.

NEW Podcast of Mark Conner’s Teaching

I am excited to announce a new podcast of my teaching messages. This podcast is available directly from Podbean (including on their mobile Apps) or from Apple’s iTunes (including all iTunes Apps) or from within Spotify (if you are a subscriber). It is not possible to publish podcasts on Google Play from Australia yet.

Every week or so a message will be published, selected from recent messages I have spoken at various churches or conferences, as well as some messages given over the years when I was at the Senior Minister at CityLife Church (1995-2016).

I also intend on including some conversational podcasts on a variety of relevant issues and topics in the near future.

Be sure to subscribe so you are notified of recent releases.

Enjoy!

Mark Conner

Celebrating the Life of my Dad – Kevin Conner

Thank you to all of those who attended or watched the thanksgiving service for my dad, Kevin Conner, today at CityLife Church in Melbourne, Australia. We also appreciate the many messages that people have sent in, offering support and prayers, as well as commemorating my dad’s life.

On my dad’s web site, you will find more information, including:

A link where you can watch a video of the funeral service.

Eulogy of his life – 92 years, well-lived.

A Poem I wrote about him, called Nearing the End.

A dedicated web page where you can leave a personal tribute to his life.

Information about what’s next in my dad’s ongoing ministry impact.

Dad was a remarkable man, rising above adversity and rejection to make a significant mark on his Pentecostal religious world at this time in history. He grew up as an orphan, without a mum or a dad, yet he did his best to be the dad he never had to my sister, Sharon, and I. Our loss is heaven’s gain. No doubt, he is hearing from Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

Dad, thanks for everything. I love you very much!

Kevin Conner Passes Away Peacefully

Kevin J. Conner

My dad, Kevin John Conner, passed away peacefully today at 2.00 pm in Melbourne, Australia. Having just turned 92 years of age, dad has spent the last year or so in an aged care home where he has had excellent care and regular visits from family and friends. He lived a full life, touched a lot of lives, and was ready to go. Our loss is heaven’s gain. 

Dad was a wonderful dad to my sister, Sharon, and I, and to so many others too. He has influenced untold thousands of lives through his life, his books, and his teaching. No doubt, he is hearing, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord” as he graduates to heaven today.

A public thanksgiving service for Kevin’s life will be held at CityLife Church (1248 High Street Road. Wantirna South. Victoria. Australia 3152) on Wednesday, 27th February at 5.00 pm Melbourne daylight saving time. All are welcome.

UPDATE: This thanksgiving service will also be live-streamed over the internet. Please note: this internet link will not be live until 4.45 pm local Melbourne time (which is 9.45 pm Pacific Coast time in the USA on Tuesday 26th February). A video of the service will be available shortly afterwards for those unable to watch online.

If you would like to leave a brief tribute of how my dad has influenced your life then please do so on the post “Tributes for Kevin Conner“. Enter your thoughts in the ‘Comment’ section. This will help ensure our dad’s legacy continues. NOTE: Please allow up to 12 hours for your comments to be seen on the website.

Thank you.

Mark Conner

The Blessing of Giving

Jesus said and did many things, a lot of which is recorded in the four Gospels of the New Testament. But not everything Jesus said and did was written down (see John 21:25). The apostle Paul rarely quoted Jesus, but one statement that must have been passed on to him through ‘oral tradition’ (it’s not recorded in the Gospels) is Jesus saying this:

“It is more blessed to give than receive.” NIV

“You are far happier giving then getting.” The Message Bible

“More blessing come from giving than receiving.” CEV

Acts 20:35.

Paul used this statement as the foundation for his life of generosity. In the city of Ephesus, where he had lived and ministered for three years, he had worked hard with his own hands – to meet his own needs and to help other people (see Acts 20:32-38).

Jesus is saying that we are far happier, better off, fortunate, and blessed when we are in the giving mode than the receiving mode. This sound unnatural, doesn’t it, even counter-cultural!?

Well-known Jewish psychologist, Martin Seligman, an influential leader in the positive psychology movement, tells a story in his book on Learned Optimism about lecturing students in university on the subject of happiness. He gave them an assignment of doing two things during the week – (1) something pleasurable for themselves (e.g. eat a hot fudge sundae, or see a movie) and (2) something for others that had no personal benefit (e.g. work in a soup kitchen, give flowers to someone, or help an elderly person across the street). They were to measure their emotions before, during, and after these two seperate events.

The students returned from their assignments and unanimously noted that when doing something pleasurable for themselves there was a sudden spike of positive emotion that quickly faded away. However, when they did something for others, their positive emotions built up toward the event and then lingered long after.

They could have saved all the work by just listening to Jesus! Yes, it is true – we are far happier when we are giving out to others than when we are self-obsessed. It’s a fact of life.

In what ways are we happier giving than receiving? That was the subject of my message at One Community Church last weekend where I spoke on this teaching of Jesus. You might want to listen to the audio online (26 minutes) OR check out my new podcast. Enjoy!

Finally, may you find great joy in looking out for others this coming week and serving them in love. You will be glad you did.

Learning to Retreat

A few years ago, TIME magazine published an article stating that distraction was the pre-eminent condition of our time. Not only are we busy, we are pulled in multiple directions constantly by distractions of all kinds. The antidote? Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is about taking time to be still, to reflect, to meditate, to contemplate, to be quiet, and to think. Mindfulness is being encouraged by experts in the fields of sport, medicine, health and well being, and religion.

For people of faith, it is interesting to note that meditation has roots that go way back to Isaac.

Genesis 24:63. One evening as Isaac was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming … NLT

I am sure Isaac had plenty to do. He inherited great wealth from his father Abraham in the form of livestock and he had a large household to manage. Yet, he took time to get out of the house simply to meditate.

Jesus did the same.

Matthew 14:23. After Jesus dismissed the crowd, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.

By retreating regularly, Jesus was able to replenish himself from the demands of his work in helping people and to gain perspective for his life.

It is so easy to be driven by the clock, which is all about speed, and fail to look at the compass, which is about the direction we are going in.

Here are some retreat ideas:

  1. Begin each day with a few moments of stillness in order to prepare yourself for what is ahead.
  2. End each day with some time of reflection. Ask yourself some key questions. What went well? What didn’t? What did you learn? What energised you? What drained you? How could tomorrow be different?
  3. Make an appointment with yourself at the beginning of each week to have a Weekly Review. Take time to reflect on the previous week and prepare for the coming week.
  4. Take a half or full day each month to retreat.
  5. Have a quarterly review time (every 90 days).
  6. Take time to have an annual review. After all, experience isn’t the best teacher. Only experience that is reflected on becomes insight for positive change.

Let’s face it – retreating is not easy, especially for activistic types like myself. It’s a little like stopping to fill your car up with petrol on a long trip. While you do so, all of those trucks, caravans, and slow drivers that you have been meticulously passing are now passing you! How annoying. Yet if you don’t stop, you won’t make the distance.

Is it time for you to retreat?

P.S. This habit is one of five habits I share in my recently published book How to Avoid Burnout: Five Habits for Healthy LivingWhy not pick up a copy today.

P.S.S. To listen to a recent message summarising these five habits, check out the Discovery Church podcast of my message given there on Sunday morning 4th February.

Decisions – How to Know God’s Will For Your Life

Many years ago, when Nicole and I were working for my dad, Kevin Conner, who was then the Senior Minister of Waverley Christian Fellowship (now CityLife Church), we had a number of people advise us to consider moving away for a few years. They thought it would be good for me to get out from under my ‘dad’s shadow’ and grow to become my own person.

We gave it serious thought over a few months and even had conversations with two churches interstate. But we weren’t sure. What was the right thing to do? Should we go? Should we stay? What was God’s will?

If you have ever had a similar situation, then you are normal! Even the great apostle Paul had times where he was trying to figure out his next step – something that took time, as well as trial and error, and a few closed doors before the right one opened up (see Acts 16:6-10).

There are many wrong approaches to this whole idea of God’s will – including approaches that are fatalistic, negative, frustrating, fearful, and overly mystical! Thankfully, we have been given a good GPS – ‘God’s Positioning System’ – to help us on our journey. It includes the Bible, wisdom, circumstances, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, and at times supernatural indicators. They bigger the decision and the greater the risk, the more we need multiple ‘lights’ to line up.

Our journey through life is a process of decision-making. Every day is a day of decisions. Where we are today is in many ways a result of the decisions we made yesterday and where we will be tomorrow will be influenced by the decisions we make today. Choose wisely! Choose life.

I unpacked this whole idea of knowing God’s will recently in a two part teaching series at Bayside Church in Melbourne. If you’d like to listen to it, then here are the video links:

By the way, we never did leave … and we are sure glad we didn’t. Beware of people who like to project their good intentions on to your life. Take time to be still, to read your own heart, and to know what is best for you and your future.

Enjoy … and all the best for a bold and courageous 2019!

A Hot Air Ballooning Adventure

Back in 2014, Nicole and I had the opportunity to be part of a tour of Turkey and Greece. It was a fascinating experience and we loved exploring the history of these iconic places.

One of the highlights was a visit to Cappadocia in central Turkey. Cappadocia is an ancient name which means ‘land of beautiful horses’. Most people who live there are farmers or merchants. This area was once the homeland of the ancient Hittites (19-11th century BC). The biblical character, Abraham, bought a burial site here from Uriah the Hittite. There are also church buildings here in caves dating back to as early as the 2-3rd century AD, with frescoes from the 11-12th century AD. This World Heritage area is magnificent, with fairy chimneys and pillars, river valleys and cliffs, all shaped by volcanic eruptions and erosion over the centuries.

An optional extra on our tour was to get up at 4.00 am one morning to go hot air ballooning in the Goreme Valley. Confession time – I am afraid of heights! So I quickly put that option out of my mind. But then another tour member told me about their experience of hot air ballooning in the Yarra Valley and how amazing it was, so … [gulp] … I decided to go for it.

As it turned out, there were about 100 hot air balloons taking off that morning. Each hot air balloon was attached to a large basket for passengers which held up to 24 people. I stood right in the middle! After a gentle launch, we gradually ascended to our target of 500 metres high but ended up going 1,000 metres above sea level! The trip was incredibly smooth and peaceful, and the views were breathtaking as we saw the sunrise across the horizon (see the brief video below).

This turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and sensational experiences I have ever had in my entire life. The thrill, the exhilaration, the views. It was surreal. I am so glad I did it. Yet, to think that I almost missed out on it … because of my fears.

To me, this experience, and the pictures I have to mark the memories, speaks of adventure, freedom, risk, moving out of your comfort zone, letting go, and soaring to new horizons.

May this year be one of pushing through our fears and the barriers in our minds to experience things we have never dreamt of.

P.S. I took the photo above on my iPhone (using panorama mode) from the hot air balloon, as well as the one on the front page of this web site. For more information on hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, visit the Tour and Leisure web site.

Welcome to 2019!

Happy new year!

I hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas season and that the new year has gotten off to a good start for you.

Nicole and I have been living back in Melbourne since late May 2018. We thoroughly enjoyed our 18 months living in the Sunshine Coast but decided to come back to be near our family, especially my ageing parents. Rene Conner, my step mum, passed away on 4th October last year at age 89. She lived a good and full life. My dad, Kevin Conner, turns 92 in a few weeks time and has been living in an aged care home for over a year now where he is well looked after and where friends and family can visit him regularly.

It’s hard to believe that it has almost been two years since I finished up as Senior Minister of CityLife Church. This change was a big one for me and a huge step into the great unknown. As difficult as transitions and liminal spaces can be, I can attest that endings make way for new beginnings. I am thoroughly enjoying my new life and the vocational contributions I am now making in coaching, training, speaking, and writing.

Last year, I wrote three new books: Money Talks, How to Avoid Burnout, and The Spiritual Journey.

I have been encouraged by the feedback I have already received about how helpful these resources have been to so many people.

If you haven’t visited my web site for a while, let me remind you about these pages:

  1. My 2019 speaking schedule (updated regularly).
  2. Videos of messages I have given, including everything I spoke on at Bayside Church last year where I am part of the teaching team with Pastor Rob Buckingham.

Also, here are my most recent BLOG posts:

If you want to make the most out of this year, by setting some clear goals that reflect what has value and meaning to you, then I highly recommend “Your Best Year Ever” by Michael Hyatt.

Finally, may 2019 be full of memorable moments, meaningful contribution, and dreams fulfilled. Remember to live simply, laugh often, and love deeply.

How’s Your Spiritual Journey?

As we near the end of another year, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on our lives. There are many metaphors and images through which to do so. One of those is through that of a journey. A journey usually has different sections, hills and valleys, twists and turns, and a few surprises along the way. That sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it.

On a journey, it is helpful to have a map of the terrain and a guide to give us a few pointers of things to look out for along the way. I’ve put together such a map for the stages of faith often experienced in the spiritual journey. This outlines what often happens for people, not what must or should occur. 

Here are some of the stages of faith:

  1. Awareness – this is where we discover or recognise the reality of God. Everyone ‘wakes up’ at different times and in different ways.
  2. Growth – here we start to grow in our faith, often aided by being part of a faith community, spiritual experiences, and spiritual exercises. 
  3. Contribution – here we discover our life purpose and start to live it out with fresh intentionality.
  4. The Wall – sooner or later our faith doesn’t work as it did in the earlier stages. Often due to a crisis, a challenge, a loss, or disappointment and pain, we start to experience questions, doubts, and uncertainty. 
  5. Surrender – if we courageously refuse to deny that the wall exists or to defect on our faith, we can end up with a much deeper faith by surrendering to God in new ways, even when we don’t understand why we experienced our time at The Wall.
  6. Paradox – at this stage we embrace the mystery of life and become comfortable with ambiguity, uncertainty and even contradictions.
  7. Love – at this stage we realise that life is not about us but about God and others. We lose our life only to find it again.

A few observations: 

  • This is not the end. Hopefully, we continue to move on to a greater awareness of God, as well as further growth and contribution. Inevitably, we will spend more time at The Wall and come to places of fresh surrender.
  • The spiritual journey is often more random than ordered, more cyclical than linear.
  • God is present and at work in each stage and our goal is not to try to control our growth experience but to draw closer to God in each season.  
  • Various stages may be fuzzy and even overlap. We may also re-visit stages at times in no particular order.
  • There are no set formulas for spiritual growth nor can we always know exactly where we are in our spiritual journey. Unfortunately, we also can’t control the length of time we may spend in a particular stage or the time we spend transitioning from one stage to another. 
  • The most important thing is that we are more connected to God and we are becoming better people every day. That’s the ultimate goal of the spiritual journey.

Some questions:

  1. Where do you think you are now in your own spiritual journey and why?
  2. Where have you been in the past? What stages do you recognize or identify with?
  3. What are some insights for relating well to others who may be at a different stage than you?
  4. What sort of activities or experiences might be most helpful at each stage?
  5. In what ways can entire families or communities of people experience various stages of faith together (e.g. grief, joy, or awareness of God)?
  6. Many churches focus primarily on the first three stages of faith. How can church leaders better equip and prepare people for the full journey of faith will all its nuances and diverse experiences?

If you found this BLOG post of interest to you, here are some further resources that will be of help to you:

  1. Check out my new book on this topic: The Spiritual Journey – Understanding the Stages of Faith. It is available from WORD in Australia and Amazon worldwide (in paperback and Kindle formats).
  2. Watch the videos of a two part teaching series that summarises this material, which I gave at Bayside Church in Melbourne recently (see part 1 and part 2).

All the best on your own spiritual journey!

Discovering Your Life Purpose (Part 2)

As you take time to discover your life purpose (see part 1), here are a few ideas to help in your exploration:

Your Desires

Ask yourself:

  1. What do you enjoy doing? 
  2. What do you get excited about?
  3. What energises you?
  4. What makes you angry? What annoys you? For instance, if you get irritated by disorganisation maybe your gift to the world is to help create a little more order. If you get ticked by the boring and the predictable maybe you are the one to bring some creative freshness and innovation to our world. If you are upset by injustice, maybe you are one of those called to champion a more just society.
  5. What do you desire?
  6. Who are your heroes and the people you admire? Maybe they are mirrors of the kind of person you are to be.

Your Abilities

Abilities are the natural talents or skills you were born with or acquired through education or life experience.

  1. What are your strengths? 
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What is your best contribution?
  4. Where are you most effective?
  5. Are you musical, creative, planning, building, organising, team building or good with finances?

Continue reading “Discovering Your Life Purpose (Part 2)”

Discovering Your Life Purpose (Part 1)

Take a moment to think back to when you were a child (for some of us, that is a little further back than for others!). Question: “What did you want to be when you grew up?” Maybe you dreamt of being an astronaut or a scientist or a movie star? We all had ideas of what the future might be. Sometimes those dreams become a reality, while at other times they don’t. Some of us are really clear on who and what we want to be. Others aren’t quite sure or our desires change over time.

As a kid, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had a neighbor who had lots of pets so early on I wanted to be a naturalist. I built myself a wooden ‘run’ in the backyard where I kept a few long-necked turtles and blue tongue lizards as pets. But after they either escaped or died, I lost interest in that pursuit. Then I wanted to be an architect. I was really good at three-dimensional perspective drawings but my handwriting wasn’t that neat. Then I wanted to be a cabinet maker. But after a week of work experience while in high school at a cabinet making shop, the fascination of that career died, mainly due to me spending hours sweeping up wood shavings up every day!

During my studies, I dabbled in many different jobs – working for a building renovator, a bookbinder, and a printer. Then eventually I ended up working in jobs involving music, youth work, and ultimately in various church leadership roles.

Whatever our story may be, one thing we ALL have in common is a desire to be useful. I have yet to meet a person whose aim in life was to be useless! Most people want to do something meaningful and significant in their life. They want to make a difference in the world. All of this is deep inside of us, whether we’re aware of it or not and whether we respond to it or not. As humans, we are hard-wired for a purpose. It’s in our very DNA.

Continue reading “Discovering Your Life Purpose (Part 1)”