Interlude: Where Are We Heading?Book / Produced by Individual TOW Project member
Discovering your SoulPurpose is an expedition into unchartered territory. Through the following pages you will explore a wide range of issues. But always the focus will be on how you will discover and pursue your SoulPurpose. That is the goal.
So are you ready to embark on this journey of discovery? It’s not the jungles of South America or the crevasses and peaks of the Himalayas that we’re asking you to explore. This odyssey is much more intriguing. It will take you deep into the most fascinating person in your life – YOU!
There’ll be opportunity to explore dimensions of your make-up, plumb new insights as to who you are, and (we hope) find fresh and life-changing handles on how to embrace your growing sense of SoulPurpose. Be ready for a riveting journey.
On any daring adventure it’s kind of useful to have a map. So here’s a sketchy one to help you find your way around these new and exotic landscapes. We’re sure that as you journey you’ll be able to fill in more details than we’ve been able to show.
Section A – Stage 1 (What on earth was I made for?) introduces the concept of SoulPurpose. (Hey, you’re already halfway through this section of the journey!) These two chapters are critical preparation for your trek. A chance to clear a bit of the undergrowth out of the way and to take a look at where you’re heading.
Here’s an interesting question. Will God give you explicit instructions, laying out precisely what you must do at each point as you follow the route? (Truth is, if you think he’s going to show you just exactly where to put each step … well, you might find yourself making pretty slow progress.) But don’t get nervous. Chapter two may excite you with the discovery of just how much responsibility God is willing to hand over to you, the choices he puts in your hands.
Section B – Stage 2 (Uniquely ‘ME’: a workbook) forms the core of our wanderings. This is quite different terrain to what you’ll experience on the rest of trip. It’s a pretty detailed guide book.
Remember, the subject matter in these parts is YOU. So a word of advice – if you want to get the maximum value from this section, you’ll need to do some hard work. Can’t just be a bystander or hanger-on here. These investigations aren’t much good if the principal character isn’t prepared to do some digging! We’ll help of course, but it isn’t enough just to read. The exercises and reflections are where the real discoveries will be made. That’s where you’ll discover yourself.
We’ll begin by getting you to unpack and tell your unique story (chapter three). Then we’ll look at your personality (chapter four), knowledge, talents and skills (chapter five), spiritual gifts (chapter six) and finally your values, desires and passions (chapter seven). Put simply, Uniquely ME is about what makes you tick; how God has “hardwired” you.
That might mean that you’ll dwell a little longer in this stretch of the journey than in some of the others. And you might have cause to return to these parts from time to time, to fill in some missing sections of your map.
Section C – Stage 3 (Holding it all together) A key to the journey of discovering our SoulPurpose is gaining some sense of how each part of who we are fits together in a co-ordinated and intelligible way. This section might be a little strenuous – it’ll require you to climb a challenging peak or two. But don’t worry, it will be worth it. The view from the top is not only inspiring, but also helpful. It should teach you some useful skills – like juggling all those jobs and demands you have to cope with (chapter eight); and reducing the frantic busyness of your life (chapter nine).
So slow down a little on these slopes. It would be a shame to go for a tumble here. Take time to rest and look around along the way.
Section D – Stage 4 (Growing Points) We’re all at different stages in our life. How do they affect our SoulPurpose (chapter ten)? And what about the changes and transitions we all have to go through – adolescence and midlife and the golden years? They will have a big impact on your growth and development (chapters eleven and twelve).
How long you stick around these parts will depend on their relevance to your life right now. If you’ve recently been through a crisis or major change, or are finding things very different to what you’re used to, then this place may be a good point to camp for a while. Or if you’re journeying easily and are not bothered by current changes in your life, it may be a part of the map you’d prefer just to mark for now. You can come back to it later.
Section E – Stage 5 (Living in the light of the world’s needs) will bring you to the end of your journey. (At least for now. When it comes to your life, there will always new lands to explore.)
But by this stage you may feel a little overwhelmed. When you’re surrounded by the awesome grandeur of the creation that is You, you just might be tempted to feel a touch self-important. As if this epic journey is mainly for your own enjoyment and gratification.
Chapters thirteen and fourteen remind us why we’re on the road. We’re learning to understand ourselves so that we can live for the ultimate Guide, Jesus. We’re training to work with him. As we’ll discover, our SoulPurpose is inextricably linked with who he is, and with his invitation to roll up our sleeves and join him.
Right through the book we (the writers) will be telling you about our own travels through these parts. We’ve spent some long days and nights camped out at various locations along the way, and have learnt much about the terrain and how to travel well. But bear in mind that we don’t consider ourselves experts. Each of us frequently returns to parts of the trek to learn more and reflect. This is an odyssey that can be done more than once in your life, because there’s always so much more to discover. We are, after all, incredibly complex creatures.
So we’re inviting you to journey with us. Make sure you do it at your own pace and in a way that suits you. Best if you can make up a party of fellow travellers – perhaps four or five friends who know you well and who can help you along some of the trickier stretches. That’s why at the end of each chapter there are questions to chew on with others. (A good cup of coffee around the campfire will probably help.)
Oh, and a final word – sometimes you may feel the need for help from a professional guide. While the quality of guides varies (you must understand this is a growth industry) all of us need expert help from time to time, so don’t be afraid to ask. Again, there are some suggestions scattered through our notes as to where and to whom you can turn.
So … are you ready? Let’s get started, then!