My husband joked with the kids this morning, as they scrambled around, late for school, "We're all late this morning because I was busy listening to your mother. And I'm still not getting paid the hundred dollars an hour she should be paying me!" I smiled at him in agreement, even though I was previously irritated with him these last couple days over some other non-consequential weaknesses of his.
One thing I can say about my husband is that he IS a good listener. And I would probably owe thousands to a counselor if I didn't have him to help me sort out my thinking and my conclusions simply by his listening to me. I can be honest with him and say what I think, and ponder aloud. I am blessed to have a husband like this.
What's one thing someone could say about you, in a nutshell? I enjoy hearing a straight-to-the-point assessment of oneself. I'm intrigued by someone being able to take a whirlwind of attributes, talents, calling, and inner conflicts, and summarize it all by saying "One thing I do know is ..." or "One thing I'm good at is..." or in the Apostle Paul's case,
"but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" Phil. 3:13,14
Paul says, in a nutshell, I'm good at forgetting what I should forget. I'm called to reach forward and press toward what I don't want to ever forget- God's upward call on my life.
I found a little hidden paragraph in Joel Osteen's new book that tells me how he sums up his best skill, his essence, his anointing, if you want to call it that.
"One thing I'm good at is staying focused. I don't allow what people are saying to distract me...I'm called to plant a seed of hope in people's hearts... My gifting is to encourage, to challenge, to inspire."
I read widely and voraciously. (Just ask the local librarians. They constantly call me to tell me the books I've reserved, are "in".) Years ago I read a number of books by trained Life Coaches. Many of these books had exercises you'd go through where you would arrive at some conclusion or assessment of yourself. I remember doing one exercise that had you circling the verbs that resonated with you, narrowing down which were your key activities that you should center in on. It was hard to keep crossing off extra words that were so important to you, but the test had you continually refining what your key motivational attributes or activities were. Then it had you get down to just four.
This was over seven years ago, and I have never forgotten my 4 words. The first two words start off everything I do in life, really. These are my motivators. This is what provokes me, gets me passionate and purposeful. These two words, in particular, and in order, light up my path and fuel my faith.
In that order. I mean, really-what could I share with people other than what I have learned? And what I set out to learn, I also think many other people want to learn. I know I want to learn how to go forward in life, and not backward. I want to learn how to live in peace but not let peace pacify me and make me dull about battle strategies or the need for them. I want to learn how to appropriate at least a measure of the victory God has in store for me, a portion of that good Plan, at least, that is for my progress and my purpose in this life: that Christ be lifted up, in me, in my life.
And then with what I learn, I want to inspire. While I do teach, I am not trying to get information across. I am not trying to educate. Life Changing Information is available to us in so many places, yet few are grabbing hold of it and applying it with a vengeance. I believe inspiration is needed.
I know I need to be inspired, if I want to make radical changes in my life. I can't just be educated about choices. I can't just be informed. I need the breath of inspiration in me, the lightening rod of the Holy Spirit, the wind of His arrival, the sudden illumination of Truth in a way I can understand.
These are the first two words and the main two words of my existence. One thing I'm good at is learning. Or I should just say that I love to learn. (Let's let God be the judge as to whether I'm good at it!) And as to whether I inspire others, that remains to be seen. I can tell you, I do know how to inspire myself. But it's more that I allow God to inspire me, that I "see" when He's trying to get my attention, provoke me to passionate exploits done in zeal and in crippling but necessary weakness.
You ought to hear me at times, sounding the battle cry- and none are around me. I will be driving in my car, the radio off, with my words loud and feisty as I talk to myself. I call the troops together- and let my emotions and my thoughts know that I am the general and we ARE going forward. I have learned I need to do this. And inspiration takes over. God breathes a new thought into me. I hear it. Or I might sense it in my spirit. I am His own, after all. God breathed life into me that moment in time. And He does still.
There's very little about me that anyone could ever sum up in two words. My temperament and personality is complex, my experiences varied, my interests- many. But you can sum up what I am out and about doing, in this life.
What motivates me beyond all else are two motivational verbs that thrill me beyond belief. They are not the only important verbs in this life. It's just that those two verbs- learn, inspire- are me. They're what I really want to do in this life.
In a nutshell.