The life-cycle of a butterfly still amazes me and frustrates me all at the same time. I even wrote a whole piece about the lessons I learned from these beautiful creatures. I’m still in awe.
The thing that continues to amaze me and frustrate me is that after such a long and laborious journey to emerge from the cocoon, some adult butterflies only live about 2 weeks! During that short, beautiful life, they are on a mission with a very specific purpose — to reproduce as much as they can while they still have breath…and wings to fly. Totally wild, isn’t it!
My quest for a Life Coach finally came to pass. My feeble attempts to manipulate and manage that on my own failed miserably. But God loves me–I’m sure of it — because He heard — knew my cry for help — and met me with an incredible gift …a real, live life coach– Charity Bowie. Life is good.
She’s prodded me and pushed me to identify my priorities and from those priorities to establish tangible goals to accomplish those things that matter most.
One of the first things she asked me to do was to come up with a purpose statement. Cue: confusion. Is a purpose statement the same as a mission statement? Is this the “thing” that is etched in stone forever–as in, possibly engraved on my tombstone as my epitaph?
Purpose Statement -vs- Mission Statement
Here’s where I landed on this subject. My mission statement is a statement of how I am committed to living my life overall. This statement is in effect throughout all seasons of life as an over-arching theme in every situation.
On the other hand, one of the most freeing things she shared with me was that my purpose statement is more about who I am and what I’m made to be about for this particular season of life. It’s subject to change — given the season and situations of life that might dictate adjustments.
For instance, when our kids were coming along, my purpose had a lot to do with nurturing them physically, emotionally and spiritually with a side of making sure they had a bath every now and then, I’m still nurturing them as adults but I gave up on that bath thing!
The mission statement was easier. Borrowing from Jesus’ words to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,'” gave me a great template from which to work from.
My Mission Statement is:
To Love God, Love People, Act Justly, Love Mercy, & Walk Humbly with my God.
The tricky part was coming up with my purpose statement — a more defined and detailed description of my mission statement — for this particular season. Many things in life have been a constant thread woven through my life like a palette of particular colors of yarn showing up in every tapestry on my wall of life.
How do you take all the puzzle pieces that make up the whole of you and find which ones fit in this season?
Finding the Common Threads
If your life were to reveal a palette of colors — let’s say, sage green, restrained gold and taupe — what would those colors represent?
For me, colors of thread representing: nurturing, relationships, encouraging, advocate and be a champion for the marginalized, networking, connecting, worship, writing, and teaching kept surfacing like vivid primary colors. As I wrote out key words that represented the “me” for “this season,” these words defined me best.
From these key words, a purpose statement began to emerge. The first attempts were still not quite right and it honestly took a few weeks to really hammer it out before the finished product was finally revealed. Talking this through with my coach as well as my husband — who knows be better than just about anybody else on the planet — was crucial in the process. Verbally hashing it out helps to hear it out loud and see if it fits — like throwing a spaghetti noodle against the wall to see if it sticks. That’s when you know it has cooked long enough and it’s officially “done.”
For this time and for this season, (drum roll !!!) here are the words my heart resonated with most…
My purpose is to love God, champion the marginalized,
encourage and network people in relationships, and help
them move closer to God through worship
Whew! What a process! But back to the butterfly …
The butterfly has 4 distinct stages of life yet each stage has a very specific purpose. By God’s grace, what if our lives are made up of at least 4 distinct stages and each one is designed with a very unique and special purpose? Like the butterfly, we’re always “who we are” but each cycle and season takes a new shape …a new purpose …another beautiful color and display of God’s glory.
Here’s your challenge…
Sit down and pray about the overall Mission Statement for your life. Don’t get too wordy. This is the “who you are at your core” and represents the beat of your heart’s desire that permeates every season of life. Make it simple. It needs to be easy to memorize.
Now — here’s the harder part …
Think about the moments in your life where you felt the most alive …the times you might have said, “this is what I’m made for.” Write down all the words and phrases that represent those activities or moments. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you prioritize those words into a statement that reflects your purpose for this season of life. Remember, as with any packaging, some things have shifted in transition. Evaluate. Talk it out with others who know you best and love you more.
Also take into consideration the common thread that may be made out of a different fabric this season. Same color — different form. Pay attention to how God may be offering variety in the weaving. Think outside the box …outside the normal walls of where this “used” to be active. It may be a time for a new model of an older version of you.
There are so many reasons why this is so important and I can’t wait to talk more about that but since you’ve got plenty to work on, I’ll close for now and we’ll get together again soon. And as always, I’d love for you to share as you process your purpose for this season.
Disclaimer: While I’m very excited to inspire and encourage you, I’m definitely not a life coach so if you’re interested in more information on a REAL LIFE COACH — Please do your homework and find one near by. I highly recommend Charity Bowie for those of you who live in this area (North Alabama / Tennessee ).