Your Next Step

This was just what I needed to hear. 

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

These words penetrated my heart as I read Chris Hodges’ new book called, “What’s Next? The Journey to Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose & Make A Difference.” 

We all want to make a difference and live out our purpose. 

This brings us to my favorite chapter of the book titled “Growth.” God wants all of us to grow- deeper in our faith and stronger in our relationships.  I love what Chris says, “The most important question to determine growth is not ‘What am I doing?’ but rather ‘Who Am I becoming?’

Chris looks at the verse, Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  Just like Jesus, Chris shares that we are supposed to also grow in these same three areas.

1. Grow in Wisdom

Just like Jesus grew in wisdom, Chris encourages us to learn wisdom from others by asking a mentor, pastor, or someone ahead of us on our journey some important questions. 

  • “What is the greatest leadership lesson you’ve learned?
  • What are you learning now? 
  • How has failure shaped your life?
  • What have you read that I should read?
  • What have you done that I should do?”  

2. Grow in Stature

Just like Jesus grew taller and stronger, we need to take care of our bodies physically, especially when it comes to plenty of sleep and rest.  Busy is the new norm, so Chris encourages us “to take control of our schedule” by asking ourselves some important questions:

  • “Is what we’re so frantic about worth our time, our energy and our resources?
  • Will it matter a year from now?  Five years from now?”

3. Grow in Favor with God and Man

We can once again follow Jesus’ example.  He was not only intentional about his alone time with God, but He also purposely invested his time with others.   Chris says, “Connecting takes time and attention.”  This is so true and does not happen without intentionality on our part.

Chris says once a month, he takes a personal day to evaluate his growth in 12 key areas of his life.  Like a tune-up for his car, he says, “preventive maintenance is so much easier to do than full-scale repairs.”  I just loved this idea! Below is the list of questions directly from his book; he writes one way he can improve in that area each month.

  1. “Faith Life: How is my relationship with God?
  2. Marriage Life: How is my relationship with my spouse?
  3. Family Life: How are my relationships with my kids and immediate family?
  4. Office Life: How much time do I spent there, and is it effective?
  5. Computer Life: How can I productively spend less time on it?
  6. Ministry Life: How can I touch the lives of others? Where do I give?
  7. Financial Life: How are my personal finances?
  8. Social Life: When am I spending time engaged with friends?
  9. Attitudinal Life: Overall, what’s my attitude lately?
  10. Creative Life: Am I dreaming? Writing?
  11. Travel Life: How do I balance time away from home and church?
  12. Physical Life: Am I taking care of my body and physical self?”

Friends, as we live out our purpose, God continues to refine and grow us more like Jesus.  I just love the practical tips Chris shares in his book. I hope they encourage you as you take your next step. “What’s Next” for you? Please share in the comments below.

Love, Jodi

The Bigger Picture

Sometimes I wish I could see the whole picture.  I could see the entire path that God wants me to walk.  Wouldn’t that be amazing? 

But instead God just gives us a tiny piece. A snapshot of what He is doing.  “When you have a few pieces, but no picture, it’s easy to give up.”

Friends, I want to encourage you today: Don’t Give Up. 

I just finished a book with this exact title by Kyle Idleman.  I love the sub-title; “Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and The Courage to Keep Going.”  I highly recommend this book; it is full of truth and encouragement. 

Listen to these two questions he asks us to wrestle with:

  • “Am I following God in a way that requires faith?”
  • “Do I do anything at all in my life that requires courage and confidence”

He continues by saying “If your answer is yes, then I have a follow-up question for you: Can you tell me a story?”  I love this part.  We don’t share our faith with a long theological answer; we share our faith with our story.  Our story of how God showed up and provided for us when we could only see part of the picture.   Kyle says, “A story of faith is almost always a “don’t give up” story of perseverance.”

Have you ever thought about your story of faith as a “don’t give up” story?

I love how Kyle defines faith.  He says, “Faith is confidence that keeps believing all the pieces are going to somehow fit together, even when we don’t have the big picture to work from.  It’s believing that God has a purpose, even when there seems to be no reason.”

Do you have faith that keeps believing even when the pieces don’t fit together how you wanted or expected?

It is easier to have faith when life follows the path we expected.  It is much harder to have faith when the pieces don’t come together like we hoped and planned.    

It is at that time that we have a choice: Are we going to have faith and trust that God has a good plan or are we going to give up when all the pieces are falling apart?

At that crossroad, my prayer is that you will remember that God has a bigger picture for your life than you can see.  I encourage you to replace your uncertainty with trust, a trust that God has an infinite perspective when we only have a finite view.  Knowing all of this is becoming part of your story of faith. 

Friends, I cannot wait to hear your “don’t give up” story, your story of perseverance.  Praying for you as walk in faith especially when you cannot see the bigger picture.

Love, Jodi