Summer is on the way (you may have noticed!). For some, this season provides an opportunity to breath; a break from the daily grind of school and school activities.
For our church, that means our Community Groups will be taking a break until fall. In my experience, people involved in intentional growth groups have one of two reactions to breaks:
- Thank God… a break! Or…
- A break… to thank God!
Some are burned out and need a break. Some feel they may have plateaued in their faith and are frustrated. And some may be wondering, “What’s next in my life?” or, “Is this all there is?”
What if I said there’s a way to spend your summer that would address all these questions?
Before the exercise… here are some ground rules. For this to make a difference, you have to:
- Actually DO the exercise
- Revisit the questions regularly, and
- Record your observations
Otherwise, you’re just going to go through the motions and stay burned out… frustrated… or confused. So what’s the drill? Here we go:
1. Make 4 columns on paper (or computer).
Write the following categories as headers on these columns:
2. Fill out these columns in the following way:
a. Capabilities: What are you good at doing? These can be natural talents or learned skills. If you really want to know what you’re good at, don’t guess: ask others! And be prepared to relinquish what you thought you were good at, and absorb what others see as your true strengths!
b. Resources: What can you bring to the task that is outside yourself? It may be access to funds, access to other organizations that have certain skills and resources of their own, or it may be the logistics to make things happen.
c. Needs: What needs do you see in the community where you have influence and access? This is important: if you come up with a list of needs that you can’t do anything about, prepare to be frustrated! Finding and filling needs are at the core of finding purpose and meaning in life… I’m convinced!
d. Passion: What fires you up? What is it that you can’t NOT do? Again, asking others might help you define areas where they notice a difference in your energy levels. Don’t ignore this step: this is by far the biggest prevention to burn out that I know! (For more on passion, click HERE).
3. Follow these 3 R’s of spiritual growth:
REFLECT: Take intentional time to reflect. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and help from the Holy Spirit. Search the Scriptures and listen for God’s voice and guidance. Discuss with others who are also searching.
RECORD: Take the time to capture what you’re learning. While this isn’t rocket science, it also doesn’t come easily. In my experience, you will gain bits and pieces of insight over time, not all at once. It’s like getting a couple of puzzle pieces at a time: if you don’t keep the puzzle pieces, you’ll never put the big picture together. If you don’t write down your flashes of inspiration, you risk never seeing the big picture!
REPEAT: Practice makes perfect! If you continue to reflect and record, your chances of finding out where all four categories come together increase dramatically. With repetition, I’ll bet you’ll find a place where your capabilities and resources will meet a need… in a way that energizes you!
How have you experienced spiritual growth? What did you do during the time of your greatest growth and clarity?