This is a guest post written by Dave Arnold, a writer and speaker who works with refugees and immigrants in the Detroit-area. He is passionate about hospitality and believe deeply in helping people find purpose in the alley.
In 1929, Henry Ford created the Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, guided by Ford’s philosophy of “learning by doing.”
The Village – as we locals like to call it – became an instant success. Ford managed to squeeze 300 years of history into 240 acres of land. The Village contains the oldest steam engine train in the U.S., Model T cars, an old school house from the 1800s and many other pieces of American history.
It’s truly a place where you get to “do” – where you can experience the sounds, smells, and even the tastes of history. Our family never gets tired of the Village; there’s always something new to learn and experience.
In a similar way, we often learn our purpose by doing and taking action.
If we want to be intentional about growing into the person we are supposed to be, the person God wants us to be, then we need to take action.
People don’t grow siting on the couch, thinking lofty thoughts of what life would be like if they did such and such.
So how can we learn our purpose by doing? Here are 4 tips:
1. Start. Yep, that’s right, you have to start. And sometimes this is the hardest step.
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to write down my goals, pray over them, and talk about them. But to take action on them, to get out there and start doing… that’s a lot harder.
So what can you do?
Start small. Do something every day. If you want to start a business, work thirty minutes a day on it. If you want to write a book, get something on paper, even if it’s just the outline. The key is to start.
2. Connect. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to live out our purpose without the help of other people. And by other people I mean those who are with you on your journey; people who will cheer you on, support you, and believe in you.
This is huge. There are too many negative people out there who (whether they realize it or not) pull you down and hinder your potential.
When I was a youth pastor years ago, I would tell my students, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
The people we associate and spend time with influence us – either for the better or worse. Surround yourself with a few people who will help you grow.
3. Simplify. Perhaps there are many things you are passionate about. Ideas and visions constantly swirl in your head.
You can be easily distracted from the main thing you are called to do. It’s the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time.
When it comes to our purpose, sometimes our elephant (our passions and visions) is bigger than our bite (the reality of our circumstances).
And sometimes good things aren’t necessarily best things. The key is to recognize those best things and pour yourself there.
4. Adjust. Life is full of detours. We often find ourselves on a path and soon realize it’s not the best path to be on.
The Bible says in Hebrews that we are to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Isn’t that amazing to think? There is a race marked out for you – a race that only you can run! The key is to know what that race is and how to run it. To do so, I believe, requires adjustment.
We need to learn from our mistakes, and learn from those who have gone before us. We need to gather all the tools we can and then get out there and run.
Question: What tip do you resonate with the most? What other tips would you add?