Discover more from Summer Camp for your Soul
Move Toward Your Soul's Lifework
Begin With These Two Often Overlooked Steps
Welcome back to summer camp for your soul - a place to be encouraged to keep turning towards being truly seen, known, and loved. You’ll also find encouragement to sing YOUR song (His purpose knit together in your inner most being).
What does it look like to move toward your soul’s lifework?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at this gal I captured on our fence post. Imagine with me a few scenarios…perhaps one of them resonates with you.
She’s hanging on to this fence post, yearning to be something other than a bee. OR…
She recently realized being a bee is quite intriguing. For most of her life, she ignored her bee-ness and what a gift it is. But now wants to embrace being a bee, and not sure what to do next. OR…
She just sent her baby bee off to kindergarten, college, to start her own family or somewhere in between. Her identity was mostly centered around being a momma bee, causing her to have lost touch with other aspects of bee-ness.
Notice the path away from this fence post is blurred and uncertain. Isn’t that how life often feels? Questions like “What am I doing here?” and “What’s next?” are normal.
Believing you “should” have it all figured out or pretending you do, may cause you to just follow the wind, the culture, the unwritten rules or keeping up with others. You mindlessly fly to the next post but still don’t own your bee-ness. Or perhaps you stay fixated on the post; suspended, stuck, and settled. You reassure yourself “This is cool and comfortable (gulp), at least its familiar.”
If you were to allow yourself to feel, what might surface? Perhaps a sense of emptiness and a burden of “knowing” there is something more? Or you may have a protective shield, an emotional barrier, that keeps all feelings out - you feel nothing.
Sitting on the fence has a way of dulling the soul. Suspended in indecision uses a ton of energy. The opposite is also true - pursuing every shiny object that comes your way leaves you with little energy to do what is yours to do.
What can you do now to turn towards your soul’s lifework? Here are a couple steps to help you.
Have you ever went hiking using a map without “YOU ARE HERE” indicated?
Lacking the awareness of your current location and your surroundings, the likelihood of becoming lost increases considerably. The same is true for discovering your soul’s life work. So, before we begin, let’s pinpoint the “YOU ARE HERE” X on your map.
Step One: Acknowledge
Acknowledge your current situation with kindness, compassion, and without judgement. Notice where you are - whether it aligns with one of the scenarios above or one that is more unique to your own journey. Here are some ways to acknowledge and identify your “YOU ARE HERE” dot.
Give yourself permission to grieve your losses. As a friend of mine quotes Tim Reside, “Don’t bypass lament.”
Here are some possible areas needing space for lament or to process:
o A feeling that you’ve lost or wasted time.
o A chapter ending with family or career.
o Hurt of any kind.
o Sadness or disappointment.
o You fill in the blank - what haven’t you grieved?
Give yourself permission to celebrate. Many times, we just move on without honoring the good stuff.
o Celebrate you’ve made it this far!
o Where have you made courageous risks (big or small)?
o What are a few of the lessons or “ahas” you’ve learned?
o What have been some favorite memories?
o Celebrate motherhood - nurturing your child to the next phase is a monumental achievement. Understanding it wasn’t all perfect, but by God’s grace you showed up and gave your best.
o Fill in the blank…..
Express gratitude. Ask God to help you see with His eyes; the promises He kept, how He cared for you and sustained you, His faithfulness.
Acknowledge the road ahead might be unclear and that’s ok. Trust that clarity will gradually emerge.
Spend time with God discussing all of this - losses, celebrations, gratitude, uncertainty and remind Him of this verse: “He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6
Something I’ve been pondering as of late; God is the author of my story. Period.
Have you considered that you didn’t begin the story of you? You’re not the author; you are a main character created by the author and He has a story to tell through your life. We have found your starting point, “YOU ARE HERE”.
Step Two: Acceptance
This we know - God created YOU and knit you into your mother’s womb. YOU are made in the image of God. He is the author of your story. Let’s pause and marinate in the definition of acceptance…
Acceptance - the act of taking or receiving something offered.
The opposite of acceptance:
Reject - to discard as useless or unsatisfactory. To refuse to have, take, recognize.
Refuse - to express determination not to do something, decline.
A couple blog posts back I referenced this passage:
Paul states in Galatians 6:4-5 (msg) “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life”.
Make a careful exploration of WHO YOU ARE…
Steps 1 and 2 are where to begin. Acknowledge and Accept how He’s wired you, that He is the author of your story, and take time to understand the season are you in.
If you were to finish this sentence, what would you say? I am ____ and ____and so on.
Here’s what I came up with:
I am created by God. He wired me to appreciate beauty, to see beauty, to connect dots between the physical world and the spiritual world. As a result, I do a lot more observing than participating. I am quiet, so I can use my other senses to capture what He wants me to notice and to witness. He’s wired me to pay attention to the image He placed in you. He’s wired me in a way to want to draw that out of you. I believe in His goodness inside of you.
Have I always seen myself this way? Absolutely not! What was I like before? I resembled the person I just described but I didn’t accept the offer. Rather, I turned away from that version of myself, yearning to be various other things that appeared more fun. And yet, I never felt at home.
The author of our story says that He began a work in us. In essence, I was a character in a story rejecting the identify and traits that the author was crafting.
Prior to my acceptance of God’s offer, I sat on the fence post, vacillating between inaction or mimicking, ummmm, a kangaroo - instead of a owning my bee-ness. Needless to say, bees make ridiculous kangaroos.
Once I began to align myself with God’s story of my life, I began to discover the rhythm for the song he knit inside. Before that, it was simply disjointed noises, mostly out of harmony.
Anything resonating with you?
Whether you realize it or not, you have a choice to make. Will you accept who He has created you to be (His perfect one-of-a-kind offer) or will you reject/refuse it?
What does acceptance look like for scenarios 2 and 3 above?
Scenario #2 - If you find yourself later in life, venturing out to discover your soul’s lifework, you are not alone. Being a beginner when older has its challenges, but accepting you are a beginner is so liberating. You have permission to be a beginner! There’s no need to be an expert immediately. Just begin and be content as a beginner. We are all beginners at something.
Refusing to accept your status as a beginner leads to a sense of defeat right out of the gate. You may fall for lies such as “You’re too old to start xyz.” “Look at others and how advanced they are; there’s no point, you’ll never catch up.” “You don’t know anything about xyz.” “You can’t afford to stop your current path and start something new!” “What you want to do has already been done.” And so on.
But God, rejoices when you step out and follow his lead no matter your age. From his word, Zech 4:10 NLT - “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” I picture a huge smile on his face as you step out in obedience and just begin. It is NOT too late!
Scenario #3 - Recognizing the current stage you find yourself holds immense importance. Let’s revisit the definition of acceptance - the act of taking or receiving something offered. The stage you are transitioning from was an opportunity offered by God. Acknowledge and accept that this in between stage is an important part of the journey. Trust that more will be offered as your journey continues.
Refusing to embrace this stage you’ve entered will inevitably trap you in the past. To avoid those trappings, be intentional about working through steps one and two. Acknowledgment and Acceptance - remember to grieve, celebrate, give thanks, and talk to God.
As you transition between melodies, you might find that the process takes longer than anticipated. It can feel like winter in February, where everything appears to lie dormant, nothing is emerging. But take heart, there is more happening under the surface than you can see. God is preparing you for what is next. This deep transformational work is necessary for roots to grow deep that will support the next buds that will bloom. Resist the temptation to grab for any ole thing to “validate” yourself and instead embrace a patient faith as you await what God has ordained for the next chapter in your story.
Frequently, we rush into action, neglecting these pivotal stages. I’m not a musician but it seems essential to be on the same page as the conductor, as well, synced to his timing and tempo.
God has woven unique capabilities and gifts into your being, so that you can co-create your unique melody alongside Him (not by yourself). As you discover this dance, you’ll find the joy of your soul’s lifework and eventually fly off to the next fence post buzzing with joy. You’ll BEE about the father’s business and pointing to Him with an unforced rhythm of grace.
Til next time.
P.S. If anything resonated with you and you’re interested in a conversation, keep in mind the way God has uniquely designed me. I wholeheartedly believe He has intricately woven a unique melody into your being that He is waiting for you to embrace. It would be my joy to walk alongside you. Feel free to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My prayer is that you find the courage to step away from indecision. All it takes is a simple “I’m ready” and we’ll go together from there!
Here’s what a client had to say:
"Lisa has a gift of offering up safe space to explore your life and what God is doing within it. Her kindness and thoughtfulness make it easy to feel comfortable sharing your heart and stay open to what God wants to do. When you talk to her, you'll immediately recognize how seriously she takes the role of coach and stepping in as a faithful witness of someone's life. If you're looking for a place to feel seen, heard, and encouraged to fall deeper into the plans and dreams God has for you, look no further! Lisa will be a wonderful guide.
When asked, “What did you find most valuable?” I think the outside perspective and having someone else be able to connect different dots/pick up on themes was really helpful! Your reflections helped me identify things going on in my mind/heart I wasn't totally aware of before.
Lastly, here are some additional posts from fellow Hope*Writers using the prompt word “Begin”.
Learning to Begin Again by Amy Cobb
The Beginning of Stories from the Supper Table Series by Jessica Haberman
How To Begin a New Career by Ashley Olivine
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If you have a friend that you think would appreciate these words, it would bless me if you would share it with them.