How Volunteering Can Help You Discover Your Mission

Experience is one of life’s best teachers. As you seek to discover your mission in life, you can read about different opportunities, you can listen to other’s stories, but nothing beats firsthand experience.

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Courtesy of Partners in Hope Lake Travis

 

Since a teenager, I have volunteered locally by serving food at a soup kitchen, stocking shelves at a food pantry, helping elderly widows, working on house repairs for less fortunate, helping build a church in Louisiana, and spending time with kids that lived at a children’s shelter.

Short term mission trips also gave me many opportunities to volunteer. I have helped conduct Vacation Bible Schools and build a church in Mexico, help build a school in Guatemala, handed out Bibles to Chinese Tourists in Thailand and Macau, dug a well in Honduras, hung out with more kids in a children shelter in Thailand, visited men, women and children in prisons in Thailand, prayer walked in Chinese villages, and spent time encouraging missionaries on the field.

When you volunteer for different things, especially things that out of your comfort zone, you begin to learn things about yourself that will help you discover your mission in life. Here are a few things that you will help you as you volunteer:

  • You will find out what spiritual gifts God has given you. God has given each of us gifts to help us do the work He calls us to do. If you aren’t a believer, I think that gift is dormant within you, waiting to come alive!

You might have the gift of mercy giving you a heart for the vulnerable. Or maybe your gift is teaching, and you discover this as you teach women in Thailand caught in the sex industry. Or your gift might be generosity, and you as you create wealth you enjoy funding mission activities around the world.

  • When you experience something that matches your gifting, a passion awakens within you. When this happens, you begin dreaming about how you can reorganize your life around this newfound passion. If it truly is a purpose for you to pursue, it will outlast the emotional high.
  • You learn what you aren’t cut out to do. This may sound like a negative at first, but really it’s a great thing. We know we can’t do everything, so identifying what’s not for us to pursue, we can focus on discovering what is our mission.

Volunteering just once or twice for one or two opportunities probably won’t accomplish much of what I am talking about. If you want to discover your mission in life, I recommend a first step of making volunteerism a priority. Integrate time on at the very least annually to volunteer. I think monthly is better. And, as you probably can guess, I recommend volunteering for different things. Again, not for the sake of volunteering, but so you can discover your mission.

Once you discover your mission in life, it won’t be a matter of finding time to volunteer. I promise, you will adjust your whole way of living around that mission.

How Is Your Lifestyle Affecting Your Mission?

4 Ways to Adapt Your Lifestyle to Your Mission

Does the way you live your life enable or hinder your ability to engage in mission? If you know what your mission is—whether it be orphan care, working with the poor, mentoring young couples—does your lifestyle help you embrace that mission?

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We all have resources at our disposal. We have time, money, talents, relationships. Trouble is we tend to use them on our own agenda.

What dictates how you spend your resources? Do you put thought into these things or do you just go with the flow?

Another way to pose the question is, “Do I adapt my lifestyle to my mission or purpose in life?”

Here are a few ways that I think will help us intentionally adapt our lifestyle to our mission. Do understand, I am not an expert on this. Not even close! I find that I have to continually re-calibrate my life to stay on mission.

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Do You Know Why You Were Put on this Planet?

Discover Your Mission. Embrace Your Destiny

I posted a blog last month—Discover and Engage Your Passion. I want to expand on that thought. Passion, in this context, is defined as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”

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As I work on refocusing my site, I had landed on that word. However, I decided that doesn’t quite define or capture what kind of content I want to offer.

I have blogged for over two years about mission. A good, general definition here is “a special assignment given to someone.”

Mission still describes what I want to blog about. Yes, mission involves passion as we do get enthusiastic and excited about a mission (at least we should). But I think passion is often thought of as something that comes from within us.

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Is Adoption a Covenant Relationship?

The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. It presupposes two or more parties who come together to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities.

The day we adopted our son!

I think of marriage as a covenant. Sure marriage is a partnership or agreement that is legally binding. One important fact is that this kind of covenant is between two equal parties capable of making a mutual decision.

I also believe that my relationship with God is a covenant. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God refers to His relationship with His people as a covenant relationship. However, different from a marriage covenant, this relationship is not between two equal parties. God bases our relationship with Him on His promises and His ability to uphold them.

Is adoption of a child a covenant relationship?

So what about when we adopt a child? Is that a covenant relationship?

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What Do Your 2016 Goals Reveal about Yourself?

A new year. Resolutions for some. Others call them goals. Many don’t bother at all.

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Regardless of where you fit, I am guessing that if you did set goals or make resolutions they look something like this:

  • Eat less.
  • Exercise more.
  • Plan a certain vacation.
  • Start a new project/business/hobby.
  • Make more money.
  • Spend more time with family and friends.

All good things for sure. Typically we make resolutions or set goals at the beginning of the year that focus on self-improvement. And, certainly goals like these help us accomplish a mission.

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2015 Reflections from My Journal

Throughout the year I use my journal to record events, to process thoughts, and to dialogue with God. Journaling helps me to remember these things which lends to a more accurate perspective of life. I tend to forget what God has done in my life, things that have happened (both good and bad), and thoughts, goals, and accomplishments.

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In the moment when journaling, I benefit by processing my thoughts and staying focused in my prayer life. But if I never went back and read entries, I would lose all that perspective. So, at least during this time of year, I read back through my journal.

I am always surprised at how much I forget. And since I have a young son, I notice how quickly things change in the span of just one year.

Each year it reminds me about things overcome, goals set (some accomplished and some not) and yes, a few regrets.

Would you like to see what I pulled from this years journal? Here are 20 reflections from my 2015 journal:

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Top 10 Blogs from 2015

Thank you!

Wow! Another year has flown by. I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has read my content, encouraged me, and shared my blogs this year.

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I continue to learn a lot about not only how to write, but also how to create and provide content that benefits you. As I have shared in a recent blog—Discover and Engage Your Passion, I have some big changes on the way for my site. I am looking forward to 2016!

Top 10 Blogs from 2015

However, before leaving 2015 I want to share with you the Top 10 Blogs from 2015. You made these the top 10 by views, shares, and comments.

Again…Thank You!

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The Joy of Creating Memories

Enjoying Year 5 at the Beach

For many years now, my parents have rented a beach house or condo on the Texas coast the week of Thanksgiving. Then whoever in the family wants or can, for however long, shows up. For the past five years my parents have rented the same house. Some years the weather is cold and rainy, exactly what one would expect for the end of Thanksgiving.

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-The House We've Stayed at for the Past 5 Years

But some years, like this one, we are blessed with mild to warm weather such that some brave the water to jump waves or ride a boogie board.

I don’t have any profound thoughts or insight to share here… Just a few memories along with some fun pictures. I hope you enjoy!

The first year our family stayed at this house was the first Thanksgiving that our son was with us. He was still a foster only child. We weren’t even sure that he would be with us when we made Thanksgiving plans. I knew that we either were going to be enjoying watching a one-year-old experience the beach for the first time. Or…we would be recovering from the bittersweetness of him going back to his biological family after living with us for several months.

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When It’s Hard to be Thankful

Holidays Are Hard for Foster Children

I think for most, Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season is a time to spend with family. I know, that’s not always a reason to celebrate. (tongue in cheek) But for many, it’s a reminder that you really don’t have a family.

Photo Credit: andrewbuter via Compfight cc

Here are a few quotes from children in foster care about the holidays:

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5 Ways We Can Go to the Nations without Leaving Our Community

Do We Really Have an Excuse for Not Taking the Gospel to the Nations?

Often we use excuses for not going to the nations as God’s Word commands us to do. The usual excuses are “not enough money” or “not enough time” or “my kids are too young/too old”.

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Those excuses may have worked a generation or two ago here in America, but not any longer. Especially in urban communities where thousands of people from all over the world live, work, and go to school.

Simply, the world is becoming a smaller place.

Just at the University of Texas in Austin about 127 countries are represented. According to VisitHoustonTexas.com over 90 languages are spoken in the Houston area.

I am sure that these numbers reflect the community you live in as well. The question bow do you engage these people groups right at your doorstep?

Here are 5 ways we can go to the nations without leaving our community. I hope that you can add more ways or additional information about these 5:

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