Before I start on topic, I have a question--Anybody want to meet me in Greensboro, NC? My friend Luann Prater who hosts the Encouragement Cafe radio show is hosting Encouragement Extreme. You can click on the link for all the details, but it's coming up on January 29-30. I can't wait to go! My friend Carol Davis who is also speaking at the conference keeps hinting at lots of extreme surprises, but she won't tell me anything! It's piquing my interest for what's to come!!! If you decide to go, let me know so that I can meet you in person.
Now to niches...My biggest problem in finding my niche is being all over the place. It's not that I think that I'm good at everything, the real root of all the scatteredness (is that a word?) is that I have a problem with the word "no".
I was really challenged with an email that my friend Marybeth sent out. She explained that God had given her three areas of focus this year. If she received a request to do something outside of those three things, she would know that it was an instant "no". Is it really that easy? I think it's supposed to be.
I Corinthians 12:17-20 says, "If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body."
How God must laugh when I try to be an ear, an eye, an arm, a leg, a pinky, a big toe....
Focus. That's what I'm working toward.
So yesterday I dug out a vision casting exercise that I got several years ago from my friend Rita Hartman. I need to work back through some helpful questions that she gave me to help me find focus.
- List your strengths and weaknesses. Be specific. Include both professional and personality traits. Remember, God created you with certain abilities, talents, and skills--all designed for a specific purpose that He predestined you for even before you were born.
- List all of the things that are very important to you; the things you love the most; the things you love to do. What are your passions? What brings you the most joy when you are doing it? Once your list is written, go back and prioritize in the order in which they are most important to you.
- List your dreams; all of them. Again, be specific. Dream BIG. List personal dreams, professional dreams and even relational dreams.
Rita follows with goal setting exercises which are great. This is such a big start, though.
I'm not saying that God only uses us in places that we like or feel comfortable in, but I am saying that those places are a great place to start in finding our niche.
Years ago, my pastor asked me if I'd join a group to go on a missions trip to India. I told him that I'd have to pray about it since my instant impulse was "yes". I needed to check my motives and make sure it was God.
He responded with something I'll never forget, "Amy, have you ever thought that God wired you to say 'yes' to travel and adventure so that He could use you that way? Most people are uninterested or afraid. Maybe God created you to desire to go so that you WILL go."
Hmmm...much food for thought. I want to challenge you to use these three questions to do some deep soul digging. Sit down in some quite and write down your answers. I'm going to revisit my answers and see what's changed in the last few years. I'd love to know what God shows you!