Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Everyone Has A Mission—Everyone

Another question, another answer:

How do I discover my mission in life?

This question comes encoded in different formats. Try these on:

I just want to know what I’m supposed to be doing.
I know I was sent here to do something but I’m not sure what.
What am I meant to be doing here?

I recently experienced a remarkable questionnaire called the PathPrimer. It can be gotten from It can’t be done online. They have to snail mail it to you, and it takes a decent chunk of time. The brainchild of a man named Dudley Lynch, the PathPrimer is ingenious. It will take you through a process of discovery, and mission in life is all about discovery.

I can’t tell you your mission in life. It’s an inside job for everyone. What I can tell you is some things about mission in life.

First, and foremost, it—whatever it is—is easy.

Yes, easy! Think about this for a minute, and it will make sense. You are unique, quite literally, like each snowflake. There is no other combination of talents, skills, abilities, interests exactly like yours on the planet. Doesn’t it make sense that your mission will come from that unique combination? Shouldn’t your talents, skills, abilities and interests be the pool from which you draw your mission?

This is not to say, however, that some missions don’t require training. They do! Often. If you know when you’re six that you want to be a doctor, medical school is most definitely going to be in order. What I mean when I say that your mission will be easy is that it will be easy for you. If you’re a burgeoning medic, you’ll go to med school, and whatever it takes to get through it will be worth it for you.

Better put perhaps, the hurdles you need to jump will put you at your ease. You’ll sustain a feeling of “it’s worth it” as you jump.

PathPrimer talks about mission being an action that any given being knows that he or she must take. Not a lofty, disconnected from reality, ideal. No, an action. Definite, concrete, results-producing action. At the end of the test, I came up with this: “I am to speak, write and teach Truth as it is revealed to me.” (Hence, this blog!)

Note the verbs. Speak. Write. Teach. All, all, actions.

So far, the formula is: a mission must be easy, come from the pool of my talents, skills, abilities and interests, and it must be an action.

I’d like to add one more thing: your mission must bring you joy. Personal joy. Not happiness, but joy. I differentiate between the two. Happiness comes from outer things—happenstance. Joy is a fountain that rises up from within.

Remember what I said about the PathPrimer at the beginning of this essay? It’s a process of discovery.

Discovery is a wonderful word. Etymologically, it comes from roots meaning not covered. Jesus of Nazareth spoke of this; I’m quoting the Gospel of Mark. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

Finding your mission is a long-term, (read: lifetime) process of self-discovery, or, if you like, self-uncovering. It comes from within you to the outside world. If it comes any other way, it bears solemn self-reflection.

One of my favorite quotes about mission comes from theologian and wordsmith Frederick Buechner, who writes, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

Deep gladness.

Those two words are evocative to me. This is two parts of the formula: ease and joy.

Deep hunger.

Here are the other two pieces: your pool of talents, skills, abilities and interests, and action.

Wait. Watch. Listen within. Be still. Discover who you are in the world. Look at what draws your constant attention. That’s the hunger. It’s reflecting a hunger of yours to give, love and serve. When you do (give, love and serve), you are likely to live in deep gladness.

Then your action, your mission, will be what Kahlil Gibran called “love made visible.” And that’s everybody’s mission.

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