About 5% of the time, I decide that staying at home is not right for me. This is usually during one of those days where Brianna just refuses to be set down but screams bloody murder if someone other than me tries to hold her. Fortunately, those days are few and far between. The other 95% of the time includes days like today, where I just get to hold her and dance around the kitchen to Jack Johnson, cleaning out the refrigerator in between dips which make her laugh.
A while ago, I started reading a Max Lucado book called "Cure for the Common Life". I needed to read this book - I mean, whose life is more common than mine? One thing this book talks about it finding your S.T.O.R.Y. The gist is, God never called you to be anyone but you - not your parents, not your hero, not your older siblings. But he did call you to be the best you you can be. Finding your S.T.O.R.Y. is about finding out who you are at your best.
1. S - What are your strengths? - What do you have a knack for? Repairing? Creating? Organizing? Your strengths are things that seem so simple to you but are actually hard for other people to accomplish. Leila can walk into a room and envision new decor and a new design. And while she's talking it out, she'll say, "But it's not that hard!" But it's not that easy for everyone else. My friend Allison does the same with making jewelry. She designs it and then creates it - "and it's so easy!" But not for everyone. Find the certain things that come easy to you - those are your strengths.
2. T - What is your topic? - What kinds of things do you enjoy working with? People? Animals? Math? God gives us fascinations with certain things. What are you passionate about - what makes your pulse race? Dad is purely passionate about people. I would say that children are his passion - after all, he did teach for 33 years - but throw him into a nursing home, church, or other setting, and he's just as passionate.
3. O - What are your optimal conditions? - What factors trigger your motivation? Problems? Surprises? Paramedics may be motivated by a crisis setting and people in need. You may want so much structure that you are most comfortable in an assembly-line setting! Find the conditions you work best in and are happiest in.
4. R - What about relationships? - Think back to your moments of satisfaction and success. At those times, how were you relating to people? Some people want a team, while others function alone. Some prefer to be leaders while some are best at assisting. Know your ideal relationship setting. If you like to lead people and energize people, but you're working behind a computer all day long, your days will pass slowly and you may feel more down and less useful. Some of my favorite times of satisfaction have been working with the kids at Vacation Bible School at church, leading music. I am not a leader in my life usually, but somehow when it comes to that situation, I can take charge and feel totally in control. Also, I'm sure I work better with kids rather than adults - with kids you can just be crazy and silly and totally flexible, whereas adults just think too much - and get embarrassed way too easily about just letting go!
5. Y - Yes! - In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, "God made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure." When do you feel God's pleasure? When do you look up to heaven and say to yourself, "I was made to do this." At what point do your strengths, topic, optimal conditions and relationships converge to make you say, "Yes"!! When that happens, you're living out your S.T.O.R.Y.
Accept God's permission to be whom he made you to be. A frog can flap its legs and never fly. Maybe your heroes and mentors are birds and you just keep flapping your frog legs. You think you should fly and you feel guilty that you can't. It's okay to jump instead of flying. In fact, that's just what you were made for!
When it comes to being you, you were made for the part.