Sometimes I get lost. And in the worst sense. We can end up doing a multitude of different jobs and fill a myriad of roles – and despite all of our doing, in our standing still and just being – we can forget who we are. Even worse, there are actually times in our lives when it’s crucially important for us to remember and know. Yikes. That can be hard.
But some time ago I stumbled across a little TED talk entitled: How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes by Adam Leipzig. Gosh! What a tantalizing thought. How could five minutes capture so much in so little? Could we possibly go so deep so fast? Is it possible that something so seemingly complex, could actually have simplicity at its core? I better not give it away. But if you have 5 minutes this talk is fun to watch. Utterly delightful and thought provoking. It might even give you a few conversational tricks.
Of course, me being me – I often get stuck on the first question. Sometimes it can feel like a light quizzical playful pondering. But at other times it can be a deeply painful and intensively confusing experience. Not so long ago I experienced the latter and it felt like I was coming undone.
When God steps in
It was at such a time that God stepped in.
A picture: I saw a ground with seeds that had been planted deep within its soil. And from the outside, nobody could see them – nobody could tell what was there or how many. Every one of them was hidden. And as I looked it seemed as if those seeds were the abilities and strengths God had planted into us right from the beginning. Talents hidden to all, but woven deep into our very fabric. Then suddenly everything was set into motion. I saw time begin to pass by, and I saw the seasons come and go like a scene from a movie. And intriguingly, as the different seasons came and went, I could see the individual seeds hidden and buried under the ground, begin to grow. Some grew – but were still hidden underground, while others grew so fast they actually broke through the ground and transformed into different, but beautiful things that all could see. I saw times when one seed would grow more than the others and it would look like the biggest and the strongest of all. And I saw other times, when another less noticeable seed would suddenly be activated and rather unexpectedly supersede all others.
When the thought “I am this because I can do that” is not enough
I began to realize afresh that if my identity was based on the things I did and the strengths I thought I had, I would forever need to be re-defined. The thought “I am this… because I can do that…” is never enough to tell us our whole story. And the things we think we are strongest in, might not forever be our greatest strength. Who knows, perhaps your greatest ability is still be hidden and dormant. Lying in wait – for the right time and circumstance to come and activate it. Yep – we really are not the sum of our talents or the things we do. We are something a little less tangible… but something much greater.
To just be told
Sometimes I think that it would be much better if others just told us who we are. Which is funny, because God does. If we dare to listen. But sometimes people do too and when that happens it can be really great – and really devastating. But I wonder, if we didn’t explore and seek – if we didn’t shed tears or dare to discover for ourselves – perhaps we would not dare to believe the greatest others see in us. And at worse, never challenge the worst that is said.
Discovering who we are
Fortunately, there are lots of resources out there that can help us to discover, or re-discover, who we are. Without a doubt, every one of us is unique. Unique in our personality. Unique in our past experiences. Unique in our skills and talents. Unique in our dreams and hopes for the future. It’s fun how some resources explore our past, values and abilities rather like a story-line expedition into your life. If you like story-telling, you might have great fun checking out the Chazown experience which leads your through the process step by step to help. If you prefer a more quantitative approach that focuses on your most dominant abilities, you might like the Strength Finders test. But if you are anything like me, you might just need something… more.
It’s so incredible to finally be understood
Out of all the tests and questions and approaches I have explored, there are just two that have really impacted my life. To do them justice, I’d like to mention just one of them in this blog and leave the other for next time.
The first might seem rather dated. Many might claim this approach has been superseded. But I’ve found a rendition that blew my mind in its perception and accuracy. It’s the 16 Personalities Test that is based upon the Myers-Briggs approach. It’s great fun to do and if you find your tendencies fall closer to the extremes, it can be eerily accurate. If you have a spare 15 minutes do give it a go! I’d be so excited to hear your results!
And for anybody who might be intrigued to know how I’ve been wired, I’m a conclusive INFJ.
There is a pertinent quote that banners across the 16personalities site which says: “It’s so incredible to finally be understood”. Yeah. It really is. And it’s so incredible to feel found.
Artwork: “The Seeds” by Fumiko Toda