Mission Proposal, Mission Purpose
Living a mission-possible life requires executing the good works that God has already prepared for you to do. Let’s make this really practical. What does that mean in everyday life? A good start for living mission possible is to come up with a mission statement.
Before you begin, know that the purpose of having a mission statement is not just to have a mission statement; it’s about discerning what God has placed in your heart. A mission statement will serve a purpose when it’s put into action.
Grab a journal or open an app and start jotting down your thoughts in response to the following questions: What do you want your life to stand for? What are you uniquely put on this earth to achieve? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? What gifts, talents, skills, resources, and opportunities has God given you to use to serve Him and others? What’s important to you? What problems do you see that you can contribute to solving?
Start writing your unique answers to these questions. Take your time. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or sounding eloquent or smart. When you’re done, you can continue to narrow your focus until you come up with something aligned with your life and who God created you to be. It might be helpful to revisit the statement from time to time as you read this book. Think of it as a work in progress, one that you’ll shape and grow as you learn more about what God’s mission for your life might look like.
Here are some helpful tips as you begin to craft this statement: Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Stay positive and self-affirming. Keep it short, simple, and concise—preferably a sentence or two at most. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete sentence. Make it sound like you. Don’t craft a statement that you think would make your mentor or life coach happy. Be you.
Tim loves the mission statement of Steve Biondo, the president of our foundation: “Wake up. Serve. Repeat.” It’s short, sweet, and effective. Here are a few more examples from corporations that might be helpful as you excavate your thoughts:
- JetBlue: To inspire humanity—both in the air and on the ground.
- LinkedIn: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
- Whole Foods: Our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people—customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general—and the planet.
Articulating your mission in this way will help you live a more focused and prioritized life. It will also remind you of what matters most.
God Possible, Purpose Possible
Are you overwhelmed today? Maybe you’re confused as to where to begin your mission. Maybe you feel as though you can barely handle life, let alone a mission-driven one.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by what seems impossible, imagine being overwhelmed by the Spirit of God. Shift your focus, even just a little bit. When Jesus rose from the dead and was taken to heaven, He promised His disciples that although He would not be with them in body any longer, He would send the Holy Spirit to strengthen and comfort them. The only way to experience the active power of God in our lives is to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18). Let’s dive a little deeper here. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?
According to Bible commentary by author Max Anders, Some interpreters equate this command with instances of being filled with the Spirit in the Book of Acts in which miraculous things happened: people spoke in tongues; prophecies and visions were given; people were healed. “Be filled” in this verse (plarao) is not the same word as the one used in the Book of Acts (pimplemi)…. In this ethical context, it means directed, influenced, and ultimately governed by the Holy Spirit….
This filling, then, is best understood, as a command for the believer to yield himself to the illuminating, convicting, and empowering work of the Holy Spirit. As he works in our hearts through his Word, our lives are brought into conformity with the will of God.
All Christ followers have God’s Spirit living in them, but not all Christ followers live filled or controlled by the Spirit’s power. The Spirit never leaves us, but when we are disobedient, our sinful behavior can limit the active work of God in our lives. On the other hand, when we obey God’s commands/will, we can expect to see the Spirit’s fruit in our lives. This is an ongoing work as we humble ourselves before God.
Purpose in the Present
If you’re mowing the lawn, taking a walk, or playing in the backyard and you see a butterfly gliding through the air, what do you do? If you’re like most people, you gasp in awe. You pause whatever it is you’re doing and watch this winged creature float with its coat of beautiful colors. You probably whip out your phone to snap a pic of its wonder. Butterflies are graceful and majestic. They have the power to stop people in their tracks with their gorgeousness.
But butterflies have a mortal enemy: rain. An average monarch butterfly, at five hundred milligrams, weighs about seven times as much as a large raindrop, a mass of roughly seventy milligrams. One drop of water on a butterfly is like a person being pummeled by the mass of two bowling bowls in the form of water balloons. You can imagine the damage a raindrop can do to the paper-thin wings of a butterfly. Most of these winged creatures will sit out a rainstorm, for obvious reasons. But they have an internal fortitude, an armor within their wings, to keep them from being destroyed. When a raindrop hits the surface of a butterfly, it ripples and spreads across the surface. A nanoscale wax layer on the butterfly’s wings repels the water while micro-bumps act like needles and pop each smaller drop of water. This powerful combination reduces the amount of time and force the droplet has with the surface, which consequently lowers the effect it has on the butterfly.
Butterflies have power to do more than merely captivate our attention with their beauty. These tiny creatures contain optimized designs, only visible using a high-speed camera that can capture thousands of frames per second, that can be used to help solve challenges in the human world. Mimicking designs in nature for human purposes is known as biomimicry. Previous water-repellent products such as Gore-Tex, raincoats, and waterproof paint were created based on the design of the lotus leaf. Findings from the latest study on butterflies’ wings could lead to more innovation.
The flitter of color out of nowhere that captured your attention? There is more to it than you even know. Be curious about and investigate the idea that appears before you, believing that God can use something small to do something great.
You might not realize the potential you have to live mission forward. You may not recognize the possibility that God can use you—yes, you!—to make a positive difference in the life of one or many. Don’t dismiss an idea or a prompting that wells in your soul. Pay attention to it, and do something with it.
Purpose in the Resistance
When we live saturated with purpose, we ought not to be blindsided by the enemies that slip into our minds and block our paths—enemies like comfort and convenience and fearing the unknown. It shouldn’t surprise us when obstacles try to stake their claim on whatever missions we’re trying to accomplish.
Human beings were created with a fight-or-flight response. This is an innate physiological reaction that sets in motion when we’re threatened or under attack. In simple terms, we’re wired to handle stress. I’m not saying we should live in such a way that induces chronic stress. Chronic stress will absolutely take a toll on an individual. We’re talking high blood pressure, sleep issues, heart disease, mental ailments, cancer. However, biologically speaking, our body’s stress response was designed to help us maintain our well-being and meet the demands of survival. Researchers at Berkeley have found that some stress can actually be good for you. Daniela Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology, has discovered that short-lived stress actually “primes the brain for improved performance.” This is referred to as stress-related growth, or physiological thriving.
What challenges are you facing today as you strive to live mission possible? Has the pandemic forced you to stop, rethink, and restart a plan for your life, your dream, or your family? Maybe you’re tired of constantly having to sacrifice your time or money, and the payoff doesn’t seem to exceed, let alone equal, the work. Take a breath. Don’t give up. If you quit, you will never know what tomorrow held. You will never know where that breakthrough was going to be. You don’t know the doors that are just about to open for you. You never know what you’re going to miss out on.
When we embrace the resistance and consider interruptions in our progress as opportunities, we gain greater strength and endurance. We build up stamina to continue to run the race. This is similar to what happens when we work out. When we exercise our muscles, they get microtears. When we keep exercising consistently, the microtears accumulate to form muscle mass. In a sense, our bodies have to be broken down to come back stronger. The same can be true of our lives. Maybe it’s time to start looking at setbacks not as dead ends but as detours to take us to greater destinations.
Purpose in the Waiting
A song by Tom Petty proclaims, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Just ask anyone waiting to get chosen for the dream job, to fall in love, to see the positive sign on a pregnancy test, for answers to prayer, or for the test results, and I’m sure he or she will agree. The Bible is full of stories of heroes on brutal journeys through the waiting. While David is waiting to be crowned king of Israel, he is on the run from a king who wants him dead. Paul is in prison while waiting to preach the gospel in another part of the world. Noah is waiting for rain to come while fielding doubt and dirty looks.
We don’t know what you are waiting for, but there is always purpose in the waiting. You may think your life will start when you find your spouse, when you get into that school, when you get picked up by that team, or when you get the job you’ve wanted since you were a kid. Purpose doesn’t show up when that thing finally comes to pass because it might and it might not. Yet because God is always in the present, it’s always possible to matter, to have meaning, and to make it count—right now.
Don’t wait for purpose to find you someday. Say yes to what God says is possible for and through you in the present.
Your Life Counts
The world defines success in many different ways. Maybe it’s accumulating a certain number of followers on social media, gaining public recognition for an accomplishment, or crossing off the checklist you created when you graduated from college.
It might say that success is praise and promotion for you. In other words, success is about “me.” It’s inward seeking. It’s ours to hold on to. And, ultimately, that kind of success is not fulfilling. In God’s economy, He gives us the opportunity to turn success into significance. We can use what we’ve been given for others. Success in itself isn’t a bad thing. Significance, however, is about others, loving and serving people. One of the greatest questions you can ask yourself is, Does my life change other people’s lives for the better?
When you’re focused on others—when your priorities are wrapped around the Great Commission, bringing the love of Jesus to hurting people—your life counts for more than a title people will forget or an achievement someone will probably surpass in time.
Every single one of us has a chance to make a difference. We have the opportunity, the ability, and the capacity to do something to build the kingdom of God. It’s not because we’re great or qualified or successful; it’s mission possible because we’ve teamed up with the God of this universe. When we take aim into the future and live lives of significance, anything is possible.