Eleven or twelve years ago, I had been hired into a position at a local college for which I was very grateful. It was a position where I talked to people and greeted people a big portion of my day. I am an extrovert, so you would think that this would be perfect for me. The problem was, I was very unsettled and discontent in this role. Even though I was grateful to have this job, I felt that my gifts and abilities were not being used to their full potential, and it caused me to feel very unfulfilled. I kept feeling like there was something else I was created to do.
One day I decided to go talk to a professor on our campus, who was also a pastor. I respected him very much, and wanted to get his advice. I told him I kept feeling very unsettled in my spirit, as if I wasn’t really doing what I was called to do. But honestly, I had no clue what I was being called to do. I had spent the majority of my adult life raising children and homeschooling them. Those were some of the most precious years of my life, but now my nest was empty. What was I supposed to be doing in this stage?
He counseled me for a while, and then gave me a book to read. He told me after I read the book, to come back and talk to him. The book was called The Path by Laura Beth Jones. The part I remember the most were the pages of words (verbs). You were to look through the words and pick out three verbs (actions) that lit a fire under you. You were to use those words to make a life‘s mission statement for yourself. I carefully looked through all the words and gave a lot of thought to each one. I picked out three I felt I love to do and doing “those things” always brought me much joy. I wrote my life‘s mission statement at the end of the book. I felt I was created to “motivate, encourage, and compel people to make positive changes in their life.” YES, that was it.
I went back to see the professor, and proudly told him my life's mission statement. He asked me, "who are you going to encourage, motivate, and compel?" Shrugging my shoulders, I said, "I don’t know. Maybe women." He asked me , what are you going to do to motivate, encourage and compel people?" Shrugging my shoulders again, I said, "I don’t know. Maybe speak." Every time he saw me on campus, he would get me to repeat my life‘s mission statement to him, so I did not forget it. I didn't forget it.
Time went by and I ended up changing positions at this college three different times. In each position, I was learning new skills, and I was beginning to use my gifts of motivating, encouraging and compelling people. In this case, it was students and potential students. I learned so much in these positions. Little did I know, what I was learning would be used in my next stage of life.
In my last position at the college, I did a lot of traveling and networking and partnering with people. This, too, would be used in my next stage of life. But I had no idea.
I decided about four years ago, that I would begin working towards a side hustle business of professionally speaking. In making my website, it was only natural to use the words I am here to “motivate, encourage and compel you to make positive changes". I offered my services to some of the partners (and friends) that I had made through the college and before I knew it, I was speaking at conferences and staff development meetings. This opened the door for many more opportunities.
The joy that I found in speaking and encouraging others was so rewarding and fulfilling. I don’t even really know how to explain it, except that it lit a fire under me. I found so much joy in doing it and the people I spoke to said that they were blessed and encouraged.
A year and a half ago, I resigned at the college to pursue my business full-time. It certainly has morphed into something totally different than I ever anticipated. But God has given me so many opportunities to use my gifts. When I walk away, knowing that people have been changed and that I may have made a positive difference in their life, I am so blessed and thankful.
I look back 12 years ago when that professor suggested I find my life‘s mission statement. I believe God was in that. As the years went by, and I developed skills and experiences that I would use moving forward, I believe that God was in that. When I met people that would later invite me to speak for their organization, I believe that God was in that. When people tell me that my presentation encouraged them and made a difference in their life, I believe that God is in that.
I am so grateful that I have been given this opportunity to speak professionally, as well as do healthy food demonstrations and wellness events for people. Sometimes I wish I had started this business several years ago. But looking back, I realize there were lots of things I needed to learn along the way to prepare me for where I am now. There were lots of people that I needed to meet along the way that helped prepare me for what was to come. So, I believe it happened in God’s timing.
Maybe you’re unsettled in your spirit and know that you were created to do something a little different than you’re doing now. I would encourage you to:
1. Think about three things that you love to do. It lights a fire under you & brings you much joy.
2. Begin looking for opportunities to use those gifts that God has blessed you with in your current situation. This may be a season of training and preparation for your next stage of life. Do your best NOW as you wait.
3. Keep dreaming of that goal (and praying about it too). Maybe eventually, you’ll be able to use your gifts full-time. And from experience, I will tell you that it will bring joy to you and it will bless others.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord….” Col. 3:23a