Editor’s note: The following is a report on the practical application of Dan Miller and Jared Angaza's new book, Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
When working to fulfill God’s purposes in their lives, older people tend to focus most on the importance of wisdom, while younger people tend to view passion as the key. But, from God’s perspective, both wisdom and passion are necessary to successfully live a life that’s faithful to His purposes for you.
It’s possible to attain wisdom in your youth and maintain passion into old age. No matter what generation you belong to, you can blend wisdom and passion to fulfill your God-given potential. Here’s how:
Discover the unique ways that God wants you to help the world. Ask God to make you aware of the distinctive talents with which He has blessed you, and to show you how specific ways He wants you to use those talents to make the world a better place and draw others to Him in the process. Consider what you do best and what you most enjoying doing, and then reflect on how those activities can help meet the world’s needs. Pay attention to the dreams that have been languishing in your mind, and pray about each one, asking God to give you the wisdom to know if those passionate hopes reflect His will for you. Choose to believe God’s promise that anything is possible with Him. Set goals for the future that will help you make God-given dreams come true, and view your current work opportunities as stepping stones on the way to success. Start pursuing your dreams right now – with whatever resources you currently have – trusting God to continue to provide what you need as you keep stepping forward in faith. Fill your mind regularly with positive thoughts that reflect biblical truth; God will use those thoughts to fuel your soul with confidence so you can overcome discouragement and keep moving forward.
Become a free agent. Embrace the freedom that God offers you to take advantage of the best work opportunities you find rather than remaining stuck in a work situation that’s stable but doesn’t fully make use of your talents. When you derive your sense of security from your relationship with God rather than from a particular job you have, you’re free to choose work that expresses your values and releases your strongest talents. Keep in mind that ideas are the most valuable commodities in the marketplace right now. Consider which ideas you have to contribute, and how you can best act on them to improve people’s lives. Remember, too, that today’s economy demands flexibility, and people often change jobs. So don’t expect to work at just one company for a long period of time, and describe yourself to others in terms of the kind of work you do (not for which company you work). Constantly clarify your most marketable skills and seek out the best opportunities to use them, as God leads you, during different seasons of your life. Seek work that is both meaningful and profitable. Never take a job just for money or settle for work that doesn’t tap into your talents well; trust God to lead you to the opportunities that are truly right for you.
Never stop learning. No matter how old you are, God is constantly bringing enriching learning opportunities into your life. Decide to take advantage of every one that you can, even if you’re currently unemployed or retired. Incorporate activities that help you learn something new into your life regularly, such as reading books, taking classes, and traveling to places you haven’t yet visited. When you’re learning, look beyond mere theory to practical ways that you can apply your new knowledge to your life. Ask lots of questions. No matter how old you are or much expertise you may have gained in a particular field, always keep a beginner’s mind that’s open to discovering new ideas.
Unlock your creativity. Every day, make time to discover more about God’s creativity reflected in His creation, and let the wonder you feel inspire you. Use the creativity that God has given you rather than letting yourself fall into a stale routine that numbs you to the possibilities around you. Make time to pray and think by yourself in a quiet place regularly, so you can focus on listening to what God ideas God may want to communicate to you. If you feel stuck when searching for creative inspiration, take a walk or do some other form of exercise to stimulate fresh thinking. Trust that your creative projects will gradually take shape well as you work hard on them. Expect to develop something great from the raw materials that God gives you.
Write a mission statement and goals. You’ll be best able to fulfill God’s purposes for your life if you plan how to invest your time and energy. And you can do that best by figuring out which activities line up the most with your values and priorities. So write down a mission statement for your life (after praying for inspiration), and also write down specific goals that will help you gradually accomplish God’s purposes for you. Ask God to give you the courage to invest your time in ways that are true to how He is leading you personally, and to make decisions based on God’s path for you rather than on other people’s expectations of you. Be disciplined each day to remind yourself of your mission and goals and make sure you’re doing your best to accomplish what God wants you to accomplish.
Spend time around other faithful and successful people. Surrounding yourself with people who are successfully fulfilling God’s purposes for their lives will inspire you as you work to fulfill God’s purposes in your own life. Watch them, talk with them, and learn all you can from them.
Keep leaving your comfort zone. Don’t base your decisions on what’s most comfortable for you, since that will cause you to miss many adventures and opportunities that God has for you. Pray often for the courage to take the risks God calls you to take so you don’t miss out on the best life for you – the one that fulfills God’s great purposes for you.
Adapted from Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate, copyright 2012 by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Dan Miller, President of 48 Days LLC, specializes in creative thinking for increased personal and business success. He believes that meaningful work blends our natural skills and abilities, our unique personality traits and our dreams and passions. Dan is active in helping individuals redirect careers, evaluate new income sources, and achieve balanced living. He believes that a clear sense of direction can help us become all that God designed us to be. Dan is the author of the widely acclaimed 48 Days to The Work You Love and No More Mondays. He writes regularly for many popular magazines and web portals, including CBN.com, Crosswalk.com, In Touch, AARP and Success magazines and the Zig Ziglar newsletter. He has been a guest on CBS’ ‘The Early Show,’ MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Mathews,’ 700 Club’s Living the Life and Fox Business News with Dave Ramsey Show, to hit some highlights. He hosts a weekly podcast that is consistently ranked #1 under Careers on iTunes. Dan is also a frequent speaker and guest on popular radio programs like Moody Broadcasting, Crown Financial, Janet Parshall’s America, American Family Radio, and Prime Time Chicago. Committed to personal priorities, Dan and wife Joanne have been happily married for over 42 years. They have three grown children, all entrepreneurs, and they enjoy spending time with their eleven grandchildren. Visit his website at: http://www.48days.com/wisdommeetspassion.
Jared Angaza has been working in social entrepreneurialism and philanthropy for more than a decade so far in Africa. His mission is to promote collaboration, reduce aid redundancy, protect indigenous cultures and foster ethical business practices in developing nations. Visit his website at: http://jaredangaza.com/.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: September 13, 2012