Move from shadow to substance. Don't settle for meeting just a shadow of your potential in life. Reject shallow-minded thinking that focuses just on presenting a certain image to others. Instead, ask God to show you who you are and give you the courage to be true that knowledge as you make decisions. Be genuine and candid with others, without abandoning gentleness and kindness. Stop trying to be perfect and admit it's impossible. Don't be afraid to let other people see your pain and flaws; that's the only way they'll be able to see God's transforming power at work in your life. Build authentic friendships with trustworthy people who will encourage you and hold you accountable as you grow closer to God. Do the same for them.

Move from performance to expression. Don't waste your time and energy pursuing work that will only lead to temporary, performance-based rewards. Look beyond paychecks and status to rewards that have eternal significance. Rather than running after lesser things, decide to pursue God's purposes for your life by using the talents He has given you and expressing yourself in original ways to contribute to the world. Choose your work not on the basis of what riches or fame you might get from it, but on the basis of how well it will let you express the unique talents you have. Instead of focusing on your own ambitions or own trying to please other people, work to please God alone. Ask God to give you the peace you need to invest your time and energy in the right places. Practice prayer and Scripture meditation regularly.

Move from segregation to community. Know that you haven't been designed to seek alone. As you journey closer to God, travel in the company of other people whose own spiritual growth will complement and enrich your own. Ask others about what God is doing in their lives, and genuinely listen to them. Seek to learn from other people's experiences and perspectives. Accept the differences between yourself and others without being threatened by them. Share the story of how God is working in your life. Give others your respect and goodwill, remembering that God has made all people in His image.


Adapted from The Seeker's Way: Cultivating the Longings of a Spiritual Life by Dave Fleming, copyright 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint, San Francisco, Ca., www.josseybass.com.      


Dave Fleming is a spiritual mentor and leadership coach, with a doctor of management in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix. After 20 years in pastoral ministry, Dave now helps organizations maximize their potential in order to better serve the world around them. A contributor to and columnist for Leonard Sweet's Website,
www.preachingplus.com
, Dave is the author of Leadership from Unlikely Voices: People of Yesterday Speak to Leaders of Today and has written for leading magazines and journals, including REV and Strategy and Leadership.