This is part 6 of the series, Go and See. These posts are designed to give you tools to "go and see" the ways God has designed you for impact right where you are, right now. If you are new here, head back to part 1, Stones of Remembrance, for the purpose and context of the series, along with the steps for creating a timeline. Then move to part 2, Thematic Labeling of Experience. Next, jump into part 3, A Clear-Conscience. And don't skip, part 4, Writing A Personal Essay. or part 5, Understanding Your Unique Design.
Recap: Purpose & Context of Go and See
Go and See, Part 6 Introduction
This week you are going to take all your learning from the last five weeks and synthesize it into three different categories that you can use to define your purpose, mission, and values. You will reflect on the experiences of your life, the people who have influenced you, your natural talents, spiritual gifts, personality traits, the ways God has worked in your life and the Holy Spirit’s power to provide understanding and clarity, to look for write out very specific and unique answers to the following questions:
The goal in this process is for you interpret of how your unique design determines your purpose, your dreams and goals (vision), and the values you must hold to in order to keep living out all three.
We established in previous sessions that God designed every part of who you are, where you have been, where you are and where you are going. In addition, he uses all things to bring us to the goodness of redemption and grace of changed perspective (Romans 8:28). This is so that we can live according to the purposes he destined us to, even before we were born (Psalm 139). Because when we live out of a true understanding of who we are, we find an eternal assurance that propels us to look toward heaven, rather than to our circumstances, to discern our calling for such a time as this. Yet, it is necessary to remember that the path to living out your God-given dreams may sometimes seem to be inhibited by your circumstances. There will likely be periods of time when it looks like your gifts or purpose don’t fit the setting. Yet, no matter what, we can endure and persist even when circumstances seem to oppose your vision and dreams. In fact, it is very likely that in these most trying times that our values will be tested, refined, and become the roots on which are grown the behaviors we will adhere to when living out our purpose and vision in the present and future.
I pray that this session will help you articulate your purpose, vision and values in writing. So that you can return again and again to an artifact that reminds you of who you were created to be and the specific assignments that you are gifted to complete by remaining steady in living a values-driven life. I pray that you will come to a new or greater picture of how to live in step with your God-given design, not matter what. Most of all I pray that you would see yourself as God sees you, and that from that point of view, you would operate with power, delight and wholeness. You were made to run your race right now. In Christ, you have everything you need to live on purpose, for His purposes, to fulfill your heart’s desires, for the Glory of God and the love of the people he has placed in your spaces.
Reflection & Application
Before we dig in, it is important that we define the terms: purpose, vision, and values. (The definitions provided below have been adapted from the training I received through the course, Servant Leadership RoundTable, from Triune Leadership.) The definitions of these words will be what you use to create statements that both reflect who you were designed to be, as well as provide a guidepost for you to return to again and again--especially when it comes time to say “yes” to this or “no” to that. In addition, during seasons when it is hard to see what God is doing in your life, these statements can help you look for how you can remain faithful (living out your values) and keep living out your purpose even when you can’t quite grasp the vision coming to fruition.
A Purpose Statement: This statement answer the question, Why do I exist? (What do I do? For whom do I do it? What is the intended outcome or value? Why?) John 6:38 says, “For I have come down to heaven not to do my will but to do the will of he who sent me.” We are to look upward to grasp our purpose for our days here on this earth. It is written out in heaven, our job is to unpack it to live it out well right where we are now.
A Vision Statement: This statement answers the question, What do I need to create? (What can I give to those around me for such a time as this? What pressing desire has God set on my heart?) A vision is a picture of a future you intend to create by using the gifts and unique design you’ve be given. It is a dream with a direction. It requires you to create an image or picture of your preferred future. You can determine how far away that future is: 5 years...15 years… 35 years… the end of your life.
Values Statement: This statement answers the question, How am I going to behave? (What kind of character-traits do I want to grow?) Values are behaviors you will choose to live out no matter what because you believe they are in line with the purpose and vision given to you by your creator. These need defining and describing in order to be effective. Rooting each in Scripture breathes life into them and tethers them to truth.
In this session, the book of Hebrews and the story of Joseph's’ life are going to help us go and see: Staying steady in purpose and committed to goals and vision requires living by values and the Holy Spirit, remaining faithful to using the gifts and vision entrusted to you right where you are. Steadiness is built on faith, truth and trust. Faith in a God that we cannot see, but who we can know. Truth that comes from God’s word and the Spirit, and revelation. Trust that our God has a good plan for each of us, even when our location or vocation don’t quite match what we imagine it should be.
Let’s get started: Read through Hebrews 11-13 and highlight the verses that stick out to you. The goal is to go and see how Hebrews helps us to better understand purpose, vision and values. So, what instructions do you find in these chapters on knowing and living out your purpose, vision and values?
Reflect on and answer the following questions.
Hebrews has helped us to see that faith is the first step toward living out the purposes God has for us. By faith we move in the direction of his callings. By faith we step into the plans he has for us. Hebrews 12 reveals that fixing our eyes on Jesus is how we run our race. Jesus fixed his eyes on the joy of saving us from our sins at the cross. The vision of the outcome helped him to endure the cross. Lastly, Hebrews 13 defines for us the values (behaviors) that will help us to move steadily forward in our purposes. But let’s dig even deeper in to the story of a man who shows us what it looks like to remain steady in purpose, vision, and values, even when in unexpected and undesirable circumstances.
Take few minutes to read Genesis 37:1-11. Highlight the verses that stick out to you.
Then note the following:
Joseph’s Story Reveals Purpose, Vision & Values: Joseph, who is considered a prototype or prefigure of Christ, says in looking back on his 30 years of persisting in his calling while being a slave, says this: “God intended it all for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
We see in Joseph persistence, consistency and discipline in operating out of his giftings in all his circumstances. It is plausible to conclude: Joseph was persistent in honoring God with his life because he knew this was his purpose. He was consistent in devoting all that he did to God because he believed in the dreams and visions that were given to him. And he was disciplined in making decisions based on his values (not his circumstances or emotions or to please others), which likely altered his attitude and perspective on his circumstances.
How was he able to stay so true to who God had made him to be despite the fact that he was in horrible circumstances due to jealousy and false accusations (and maybe a little bit because of his own haughtiness)?
He had a vision (dream), given to him from God and he chose to live toward it even when it looked like the dream had died with the animal’s blood that was shed and drenched on his coat of many colors. And he was sold into slavery.
We too can ask God to give us a picture, vision, or dream of what he has planned for us. We too should maybe plan on it taking a few years or decades for it to come to fruition. And to persist even when it seems maybe we aren’t where we planned to be.
We can use all the tools from this study, along with asking for revelation and discernment from the Holy Spirit, to write out a purpose statement, a mission statement and a set of values that can guide us no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Tool 6: Purpose, Vision & Values Statements
Tool Defined: Creating and documenting a purpose, vision and values statement for yourself or your family can be powerful in claiming persistence, consistency and discipline over the calling and giftings God has given you. It isn’t the tool that makes you able and powerful, but the Holy Spirit’s presence. However, these tools can help tether you to remembrance and guide you in decision making in times of high emotions, confusion or transition. Also, these tools can be like a mirror you can return to in order to rightly see who God has made you to be when you get a little bit lost.
A reminder of the definitions of each:
Instructions for Writing Purpose, Visions & Values Statements: Take time to ask the Holy Spirit to be present with you as you reflect on the gifts (and calling) you took inventory of in part 5. Then use those to generate answers to the following questions.This process is meant to guide you in creating a purpose statement, a vision statement and a set of defined values that reflect who God has made you to be, what he has gifted you with and how both are going to be used to impact the people of this place and in this generation.
Purpose Statement: This states the reason for your (or your family unit) existence and provides a guide for goal-setting. After examining the result of the tools you used to take inventory of your giftings and calling, answer the following questions incorporating the words, phrases and ideas from your inventory reflections.
To or for ____________________________________________________.
So they can __________________________________________________.
Vision Statement: Based the result of the tools you used to take inventory of your giftings and calling, answer the following questions incorporating the words, phrases and ideas from your inventory reflections. The goal is to describe a vision of your preferred future. (You can determine how far away that future is).
Values: Definitions & Behaviors: These form the beginning of living a life of purpose on purpose. To be useful values need to be identified with a definition and in terms of specific behaviors. Based on the results of the tools you used to take inventory of your giftings and calling, consider what values will be necessary in order for you to live toward your purpose and vision, and to grow in your areas of giftings.
Your gifts point you toward your purpose, vision and values. Have you discovered and unwrapped your gifts yet? It not, what is holding you back. Stop and pray for strength to fight the good fight of faith to uncover all the ways you have been designed to live out your purposes. Let the fact that God delights in you discovering all the ways he made you to meet the needs around, loving Him deeply and finding joy in his destiny for you propel you forward in your journey.
Throughout the process of articulating in writing your purpose, vision and values, remember that you are on a journey to discover what was established before the beginning of time, your work is to excavate them, understand them, increase them and enjoy them. As you use words to hone in on clarity, also keep in mind that your circumstances don’t determine your giftings, purpose, vision or the ability to live out your values. Proximity to God does. Who you are, where you are is more significant than where you are and the circumstances around you.
To circle back to Part 1, your purpose statement, vision statement, and list of values can be like stones of remembrance (Joshua 4), allowing you to remain steadily pointed in the direction God has your heart pointed toward. It is worth your time and energy to keep a record of these things.
In the end, the ultimate purpose in walking through this session is for you to grasp the ways that Mark 6:30-44 is to be applied to your life: What do you have? How will you use it to “feed” the multitude in front of you?
Links to all the, Go and See Study, sessions.