I once heard a preacher say the following line: “A man’s secret is in his story.” The life of any sermon is not so much in the accuracy or eloquence, but in the life that sits behind the speaking. It is the secret heart, the man behind the suit and boots, that makes the difference.
The same is true for you and I. Whether you write, sing, act or architect – the vibrancy of your work will be infused with the life that produced it.
I like another preachers quote when asked how long it took him to prepare a stellar sermon. The young man begged the older gentle saint to share his secrets – was it two hours? Three? A week of prayer and study? The older man simply looked and truthfully confessed, the sermon took him 67 years to prepare, because the words were the produce of the life he had lived.
You have a story to tell. One that is unique. You have a voice. Like no other.
Hidden in your story is the secret to your success.
You may choose to emulate others, and there’s nothing wrong with learning techniques and keys that help to unlock your potential and effectiveness. But ultimately it is not technique but testimony that triumphs. A genuine story of success or discovery is so much more powerful than a cold list of bullet points.
Listen to your own story carefully.
Look for clues that point the way to your fulfilment.
Here are some signposts to look for:
What is it that you love to do, apart from monetary reward? A calling requires resilience under trial. There will be times when it is challenged and if your motivation does not go beyond the surface rewards it is unlikely you will stay the full course.
What do others ask you about? A clear indicator of the value you carry is often seen in the things we often take for granted, but that others come to us to seek advice about.
What traits consistently show up as you plot your journey back through life? Even in the varied journeys and demands that life places on us, there are often traits or activities that crop up again and again. Do you find yourself always dancing? Maybe you are a creative problem solver, or music is the thing that makes your spirit come alive.
What natural giftings are second nature to you, but amazing or unusual to others? Again, the mirror that sometimes reveals these oh-so-familIar gifts (to you) is often others who perceive them as unusual, unique or incredible. What do you do or know that somehow sets you apart from the crowd? These can sometimes be small things, but they can make a big difference when you learn to pinpoint, cultivate and appreciate them.
What do you read and listen to that feeds an invisible craving on the inside? The Scriptures speak of God giving us ‘the desires of our heart’. This holy planting of the Lord craves satisfaction. My daughter is a gymnast, and something within her will push through any pain to express and feed what’s inside her. My son is an actor and a writer – it is impossible to stop him conceiving his next script or web series blockbuster idea. It is like an internal engine fuelled by a Holy calling. A creative generator living inside their spirit. For me, I cannot help but write. I see things and hear things and my first thought is, that’s a great subject for a book. My list of possible book titles I would like to write is in the hundreds I would imagine.
Your life will always leave clues. Do some sleuthing and see what you uncover.
Why not leave a comment here sharing some of your own signposts. They may well help others to recognise theirs…