Lately I’ve been thinking about the topic of life mission. Maybe because I’m a few years from turning 40 or because our family has stabilized after adoptions or because a mentor keeps bringing this issue up. Or maybe because of all three.
Some people refer to it as your calling or holy discontent or life mission or the reason you were put here. I like what Frederick Buechner says: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
I’m on a quest to understand more about my life mission. One of the impacts of this awareness—and finding life mission is really more of an awareness of what's already going on rather than crafting something together yourself—is a revamping of our non-profit ministry organization. My wife and I started an organization 11 years ago called Current3 Ministries. It has taken on different shapes over the years.
But sometimes you have to go narrow in order to go deep. Understanding one’s life mission helps you to whittle away the extraneous stuff that is getting in the way of your calling. No matter how good it is, it may be blocking the sacred place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
So I’m evaluating all the things I do, non-profit organization included. In time you’ll hear more about our new ministry, new Board of Directors, new mission. I can’t wait to tell you about it all. Some of you will want to get involved.
But for now, let me leave you with a list of five books.
These books have been utterly disruptive to my life. They’ve kept me up at night. They’ve found their way into my thoughts. They’ve re-ordered my thinking. I pass them onto you at your peril.
This book rocked my world with the explanation that Christ is not only the center of everything, but is supreme over everything. This changed my thinking from pursuing God's plan for my life to pursuing my place in God’s plan for his Son. I realized how little I involved Jesus in my life.
In heart-wrenching details, this book describes the lives of street children in impoverished communities. The faces and lives of these children have invaded my comfortable life. So has this from the book: “According to UNICEF, more than 1 billion children around the world are deprived of one or more of these essentials: adequate shelter, food, safe water, sanitation, health care or education.”
Dr. Paul Kalanithi was a successful neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He spent the last period of his life writing his memoir. He died at age 38—same age as I am. This book made me think and feel about doing the things that really matter when you still have the time to do them.
I’m still reading this one, but it has made me think about what it means to obey God’s will with all you’ve got. I’ve been challenged in my own understanding of denying myself and picking up my cross daily. Stearns left a high paying job and luxurious lifestyle to lead World Vision, which helps people through poverty and injustice.
This book suggests we order our lives around our life mission into what he calls a “portfolio life.” Corbett suggests five areas—vocation, giving back, recreation, relationships, and faith/personal development—that together form your life portfolio. Then allot time and resources into them in varying degrees. Thinking of my life as a portfolio life has been super helpful.
Where does your deep gladness and the world's deep need meet?