“Seize the day,” “Carpe Diem,” #bucketlist, the world chants on. We all know we have a limited amount of time on this earth, and we are desperate to make it count. We frantically charge about, trying to make our time here worthwhile & maybe feel something. Feel fulfilled, enriched…maybe even whole.
The pandering never stops, “15 place to see before you die,” “Simplify Your Life and You Can Live with Purpose,” and “10 things to add to your bucketlist.” None of these are bad things; they are means to a goal, but not a goal.
What matters is your goal; in terms of the hour, your mission statement. This mission statement can serve as your North star, and a filter by which your smaller decisions are made. When you have a mission statement, you have long term vision and decision fatigue falls by the wayside. The smaller decisions have meaning and purpose, because you know what you are moving towards.
A marriage can be more purposed and expectations clearer when you are on the same page about your mission statement for your marriage. There is more unity in parenting when you and your partner are on the same page about the purpose of your parenting.
There are lots of outlets for a mission statement, but let’s start with the most important one: YOURS.
You may be a spouse, parent, business owner, employee, athlete, artist or volunteer, but all of those things START with YOU.
Creating a mission statement for your life should be a slow and thoughtful process. A rushed mission statement will not create a long term impact on your life. The statement should be specific to you, but abstract enough to encompass the inevitable changes in your life. There are three foundational things to consider when making a mission statement for yourself.
I’m a Christian, so that worldview dictates a lot of what I believe about people, and in turn, my mission statement. I respect everyone’s right to their beliefs and these are some of mine.
I believe that we, as Christians, are to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40). That we are to do everything as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17) and we are to serve and care for others (Philippians 2:3).
I believe that we are created in the image of God and are immeasurably loved and valued by Him (Ephesians 3:18).
What you believe about the value and purpose of humanity greatly shapes your mission statement. It dictates what you believe about yourself and how you relate to others.
If you aren’t sure about your worldview, take time and seek wisdom. Your worldview is an important foundation that shouldn’t be laid in a hurry.
It’s important to know your worldview and what that means for your passions. Passion that isn’t bridled with a solid worldview can quickly run rampant. But what if you don’t know what your passions are?
What do you feel strongly about? When ___________ comes up, you can barely keep yourself from bursting; you feel a fire that feels like it can burn forever. I’m not strictly speaking of a particular cause, although that could be the case. Your passions can be more abstract and hard to pinpoint.
You can be passionate about creating, advocating or teaching. Your passion is very personal and unique, but I’ll argue there is one point of passion we all share: comPASSION.
(Forgive me, I couldn’t forgo the pun).
What I really mean is giving to others. All of our passions are ignited when we give of them to others; selflessly, without any expectations.
“I’ve never had a bucket list, and I’m thinking that I don’t want a bucket list as much as I want a poured bucket list. I’m thinking:
The best lives don’t have Bucket Lists as much as they have Empty Bucket lists.
Because the thing is when I kick the bucket, I don’t want there to be anything left in my bucket. When I kick the bucket, I want the bucket right empty.
I don’t want my life to be how I took experiences — but that I gave exceedingly.
That I gave every last drop, that I poured it all out, that I held nothing back. Because the way to really live is not to try to fill your life up — but to spill your life out.”
You might not know what you’re passionate about, but here’s what you can do. Pray, ask God to put a passion in your heart, give you discernment to see it and courage to pursue it.
Try different avenues of giving of yourself to others; all the while, prayerfully seeking the Lord’s will.
Everyone has unique and special gifts. Our society can definitely shine a spotlight on more “glamorous” gifts, but that doesn’t make them more important.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Einstein
Gifts also aren’t as clear cut as we might wish. Someone might be clearly gifted in music or science, but there are other, less categorical gifts. You might be gifted with having thorough and methodical work ethic, hosting or being an encouraging presence. If you aren’t sure what your gifts are, here are a few ideas to help you find them.
- Keep A Journal – There are a lot of wonderful things about keeping a journal, and one of those is the ability to track your character and growth. Write down the things that come naturally to you, you might start to notice a pattern.
- Ask People – Ask people who have know you for a while and love you what they think your strengths are. We often (if not always) have a skewed perception of ourselves. A third party opinion can bring a fresh perspective.
- Take A Test – You have to be careful with personality tests, they don’t hold the key to your identity. However, they can often put things into words that we relate with. Had someone not phrased it that way, we might not have noticed this tendency in ourselves. I like the Meyers-Briggs and The Enneagram. Again, take these tests with a grain of salt.
- Look at Your History – Set aside some time to look back and try to identify your strengths.
Personally, I believe everyone has unique and useful gifts. They might be starkly different then my own, but acknowledging them as unique and useful gifts is a tool to positively relating to someone different then yourself.
As you’re creating your personal mission statement, take plenty of time to consider your worldview, your passions and your gifts. When you are clear on all of these things, you can make daily decisions with purpose