Towards the end of the book, Lucado shares a time in his life that led him to step back and reassess what he was doing. He writes, "Renewal began when I paused on purpose." I suppose that is what I am doing now. Not literally- I'm still working after all. I am trying to figure out what is next. The idea of my life staying the same for the next 5 years terrifies me, not because it's a bad life but because I feel stuck. I don't think I'm operating out of my strengths any more. I go to work with the best of intentions, praying for God's strength, but more often than not, my soul is weary. As Lucado would say, there is a disconnect between my design and my daily duties. I have some ideas about what I might want to do next but I'm just not sure.
Perhaps you will indulge me as I complete the first exercise? (Or perhaps you'll want to do it for yourself!) Lucado defines our sweet spot as "where what you do (your unique giftedness) intersects with why you do it (making a big deal out of God) and where you do it (every day of your life.)" The first step is to start in childhood and work your way up, considering times where you did something well and enjoyed doing it. Success and satisfaction. The guide notes that anything that gives a sense of joy and achievement is important, even if it seems silly. Concentrate on what you think, not what friends or family may think.
A few of mine:
- Read all the books for Battle of the Books and was a key player to help our team win meets and the Championship both years- a first for my school
- Played with Matthew's little sisters when he was having a bad day (brain tumor)
- Helped Mom break into Grandpa and Grandma's house so we could put the food away after great-grandma's funeral (ask if you want the full story)
- Developed a recipe for a Tribune contest for kids. It missed the deadline but the reporter liked it so much, she called to interview me!
- Became a mother's helper at 10 and started babysitting at 11- lots of regular families
- Took a private art class in 8th grade that I loved
- Won an honorable mention in my high school art fair
- Set up an independent study with Mr. Harris where I taught 3 lessons to his sophomore English class. He used one of my ideas in subsequent classes!
- Any paper I wrote for Mr. Harris and Dr. Langlas- positive feedback
- Set up creative displays throughout The Christian Bookstore and it became my specialty, especially in the music department
- My poem was published in my high school's annual poetry and prose magazine
- Started Chili and Doughnut Night, Pasta and Praise, Dinner Club, tea parties, wine and cheese parties...any opportunity to cook and extend hospitality
- Helped a patient develop his own Bucket List
- Able to listen and ask the right questions to help people figure out their next steps or process whatever they're going through- too many times to count
- Started blogging in 2006- Confessions is now part of a hospice and palliative care blogging network that has substantially increased my audience and led to the creation of this blog
- Painted a canvas for my living room that gets many compliments
- Hiked the Grand Canyon to raise support for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- Created annual Ode to Friendship mix CDs that get rave reviews from friends
- Nannied for a family for 4 months while their nanny was on maternity leave. The parents were so impressed by their kids' better behavior, they had me write up a list of rules and guidelines for the original nanny to follow.
- Worked with special needs children in Thailand- able to connect with a nonverbal child with autism and several others despite the language barrier