making impact

Last night a few friends and I gathered around the fire pit in our back yard. Amidst roasting marshmallows and experimenting with pyrotechnics, one friend told us that he'd booked his third commercial. "Well, I want to change the world," he said. "And if that happens to involve an acting career, or a feature film in the next year, that'd be great."

I think this is a dominant sentiment in our generation–I want to change the world, I want to make an impact….but how? What part of the world am I supposed to change? How does my gifting interplay with God's calling to impact my future? What about all the issues and flaws that I see in myself, that I'm trying to work on? How do I figure out what I'm supposed to do, if I still trying to figure out who I am?

A friend once told me that figuring out what you're supposed to do works a lot like a GPS. Two satellites in space talk with one another and to your GPS gadget to pinpoint your exact location on the planet. The intersection of the three signals from the GPS and the satellites result in a specific outcome. Similarly, discerning your calling in a world of possibilities can be quite complex, but we can examine the intersection of three factors to help guide us. First, we need to know the heart of God, the things God cares about. Next we need to know the needs of the world. Sadly, this doesn't narrow our search too much, because the heart of God and the needs of the world are expansive, almost infinite. The final factor depends on us–what are our specific skills, gifts, and passions? What are we made for? Where God's heart, the need of the world, and our specific skills, passions, and gifts intersect is where we will begin to find our calling.

So how do you get started? Ask yourself what you want. When was the last time you really felt alive? What contributed to that experience? What makes you excited, happy, or energized? Happiness is certainly not the ultimate goal, but it can be an indicator of the desires that motivate and drive us, desires that God himself may have designed us with.

Ann Scharnhorst, has coordinated The River, blogs and generally conveys the powerful love of God in our messiness.

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