Together, we moved through additional discovery questions. For the most part, I asked the questions and took notes while Gina worked to articulate the answers. This inquiry prompted much discussion and discovery: “What skills, gifts, and talents has God given you that you would delight in using to serve, help, or minister to a group of people that you care for greatly?” We talked in detail about her answers, and then she listed three delightful methods to effectively serve this people group she cared about. For me, having her list things in triplets revealed important repetitions of methods, people, burdens, spiritual gifts, and such.

To clarify her comments, follow-up questions like these brought additional insights.

  • Can you help me understand what you mean and why this is so significant to you? 
  • This sounds important. How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?  
  • Can you give me an example of a time when you experienced this? 

As we continued the search for Gina’s life purpose, the notepad was filled with potential clues. Had she identified guiding Scriptures? What did they mean? What wise and influential mentors had God brought into her life and what characteristics did she desire to model? Were there heroes in the Bible whom she wanted to be like? Had she made significant commitments or responded to a call of God?

On to the next page: Did she have regrets about things that she hadn’t done? Why? What was the one thing in her past that came closest to fulfilling the deepest desire of her heart? How about future dreams, aspirations, and activities? We analyzed her responses and expanded her discoveries. The yellow pages took on a golden hue as I began to understand my daughter at a deeper level than ever before.

Define Your Pursuit

Gina’s answers and comments served as “portals of discovery” into the most exciting and relevant areas of her life. Further discussions in these areas revealed significant themes, repetitions, and patterns. Together, we identified types of activities she enjoyed, who she enjoyed doing them with (and where and how), types of meaningful relationships, her learning orientation, motivations, spiritual gifts, talents, future interests, passions, and so much more.

Along the way, there were indications that we were on the verge of our greatest discoveries. Misty eyes, big laughs, obvious excitement, and moments that suddenly turned serious beckoned us to investigate further. As we did, we learned what and whom she cared about the very most. We took special notes in these areas of passion and discovered that the most purposeful doors we unlocked were these passageways to heart-level understanding. It was an exciting experience for both of us . . . for as Gina pursued and found greater understanding of her purpose, I pursued and found greater understanding of Gina.

Breakthrough!

The breakthrough in this entire process came when Gina realized the importance of our discoveries and suddenly picked up her pencil, took control of the notepad, and began to write like crazy. Additional pages quickly filled with details concerning the audience she cared about and their greatest needs, her most delightful methods to reach and serve them, her life-changing message of faith, hope, and love, and on it went. I smiled and teared up just a little . . . crisis over . . . adventure ahead!

Being vs. Doing

Overall, Gina’s discoveries fell into two related categories: being and doing. First was the concept of being: God’s work within her to shape and mold her into His treasured vessel. Second was the concept of doing: God’s work for her and through her to bring Himself glory, meet others’ needs, and bring her joy and fulfillment in the process. To define her pursuit, Gina recorded the “being” elements and then wrapped the concepts of “doing” around them. For her, the combination resulted in a compelling, power-packed, vision-filled “Life Purpose Statement” that she couldn’t wait to live out: