DISCOVERING PURPOSE – What is Your Purpose in Life?

footsteps 02Purpose.  We use this word in so many different ways.  We desire to know a purpose for our lives.

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is my purpose in life?”  If you are like millions of others you probably have asked that question at some point in your life.

So many of us are curious about our purpose mainly because of one of our three greatest needs in life, the need to have worth.  In other words, we want to not only be reassured that we have value in our lives, but we also desire to know how that value should be lived out.  We want to know that we mattered and made a difference in our years here on earth.  No matter how focused we are in wanted to know our purpose we all desire to know that we matter and have worth.

Often we will search out self-help books, find 4-step programs or attend lectures to find out the formula to our potential, passion and purpose.  I am certainly not downing any of those venues.  However, I am suggesting an alternative and a different way of thinking about the word purpose in reference to your life.

Most times we define purpose as a goal or something that we will obtain or possess at some point in our lives.  We believe that once we know what our purpose is then we can start doing that thing.  Many spend a lifetime trying to find their purpose or guess that special “thing” that God is desiring them to do while on earth. (That special thing is called, “A Calling” which is different than purpose. We will talk about that in a different post)

I would like to challenge that.  Instead of thinking of your purpose as a thing to find, try thinking of purpose as something you are.   Purposes can be lived out daily.  Unlike calling, it is not the “thing” or specific path but something that is lived out through you for the sake of others than brings meaning and value to your life.  Instead of saying, I’m trying to find out what my purpose is, better to say, “My purpose is being lived out through me.”  Make sense?

Let me explain further.

I am an encourager. For years I have studied and read everything I could get my hands on regarding the area of encouragement.  I’ve studied the life of Barnabas from the bible.  I know the Hebrew meaning and studied the word in different languages.  I have done surveys, written papers, done research, talked with psychologists and others.  I have the gift of encouragement. I can talk for hours about the difference between encouragement versus words like motivation, compliment, influence, self-help, positive thinking, pity, etc.  I know pretty much everything about encouragement. Being an encourager is who I am.  Even when I am going through struggles and hardships, my first thought is how my experiences and learning in that moment can be used to encourage others.  That is all well and fine but to me that only means that I am considered an expert in the area of encouragement and that encouragement is a God-given gift, it really says nothing about my purpose.

How does my gift of encouragement align with purpose?  My purpose through encouragement happens through my passions (using the definition “an action that is given for someone else”) which is writing, speaking, motivating, teaching. I live out my purpose, by picking up phone, starting a conversation, sending an email, blogging, etc. to offer encouragement to add value in someone’s life.   Often the person will reply with, “Those were exactly the words I needed to hear today because of the situation I am in” and begin to share about their life (which I love).  To me that also confirms that my encouragement is a gift from God because I rarely know anything that is happening in people’s lives. Amazing opportunities have not happened for me because I’m so wonderful or the best writer or speaker.  I’m simply walking out my purpose (of course doing the things I need to do practically) through encouragement.

Purpose takes place when we live out who we are for the benefit of others. That is the ultimate desire we have in finding meaning for our lives and fulfilling a longing that our lives mattered in the bigger picture.   The key for each person is to find out “HOW” their purpose is to be served.  What is that part of you that everything else springs out of?  It certainly is not just one aspect, it can be many.

Remember, we are talking about purpose, not calling!

I said all that to get to say this, in seeking out your purpose ask yourself the following questions:

1) What thing is attached to who you are? (Hint: It will always be others centered always.  Things like dancing, teaching, preaching, etc would be passions, the way in which you live out your purpose. Think in terms of who you are.  This will be a very hard question to answer for some.  Ask others around you. )

2) What thing for others have you been doing, regardless of the ways, for as long as you can remember?

3) What thing do you continue to hear people attach to you (“You’re a motivator, “You’re a visionary”, “You’re a peace maker”, “You’re an impactor, “You’re an administrator”, “You’re an athlete”, etc.)

4) What thing do you do, that when you do a) you feel God’s pleasure, b)lives are changes, c) people are motivated and positively impacted, and/or d)you do without even trying?

Start by asking yourself those questions.  That will take you a long way in discovering your purpose and direction.

As you ponder the question think in the following term:

What gift do I believe I have been given to use in my everyday life to impact the life of another person?  The key will be #4

Be encouraged, it’s a journey not a destination.

Charlotte

 

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

DISCOVERING HOW WE ARE WIRED- Do You Know What Your Next Step In Life Is?

RainbowToday you will lack direction and passion and walk in discouragement. You will believe that too much time has passed for you to realize and walk in your purpose.  You will believe that the struggles of your life have removed the zeal and focus and it is better and easier to stay where it is safe, comfortable and reachable. You watch others realize their purpose and dreams and gain a sense of failure and loss because somewhere inside, you too long to be walking in your dreams for life.  However, your life is so hard, too many knockdowns and closed doors have been placed in your way and you don’t think you have the energy or even hope left to pursue something greater. You continue to believe that it is too late in years, too late due to the issues in your life, too late in missed opportunities, too late in time, too late for everything.

I so get that.  At some point in our struggles of life we say, “Just screw it!” and convince ourselves that our purpose and dreams don’t matter.  Maybe, what you really need is help and encouragement to find your way. 

The first question to ask ourselves is who am I? (THEMES) What makes up the combination of positives and negatives throughout my life and what are the themes that have continually been a part of my life?  What is my story that has been created to serve the purpose in my life? 

The second question to ask how am I wired?  (PASSIONS) What are the actions that I do that aid others (influencing, speaking, teaching, serving, leading, creating, etc.)?  Also, what do I do that gives me pleasure, offers a challenge, yet is beneficial to others?  If your answer is only about you, more understanding and time will be needed.

The last question to ask is where am I going? (BURDENS) This is a difficult question because it will require looking at areas we would rather not see.  Ask, what have I learned about myself and others because of the pain, trials and negative situations that I have been through?  Have those situations made me bitter or better in how I see myself and others?  Finally, because of my story and the things that I have learned, failed, and grown in, I realize that if I had all the resources I needed, my heart’s desire to DO or BE in life is ________.

My question to you is, “When will you begin your journey?”

Be encouraged, it’s a journey not a destination.

Charlotte

 Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY- Childhood Ways

We often believe that if only I can think positive, perform better, be like someone else, have a different past, be stronger, try harder, didn’t make so many mistakes, weren’t afraid, had someone in my life, etc., then I would be alright. The challenge is not in obtaining those things as much as asking, “Why will those things make me feel as if I am alright?”  …just a thought…

The most precious and sacred time of our lives is our early childhood. It is a time we did not worry, were open with our feelings, did not perform for our worth, or act infallible.  We enjoyed the moment.

I pray that each day, we would return to that childhood for a moment and put aside the adult ways we have learned so well.

 

Take care,

Charlotte

Dream Madly, Pursue Wildly, Trust Completely

www.charlottehunt.com

Email: charlotted@charlottehunt.com

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

For Today’s Encouragement: It’s Time to Stop Believing that…My Past Will Deter My Future

11138585_846502522092876_8363936479366056814_nHey there,

Some say the greatest trick Satan ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist. I will take that a step further and state, “The greatest plan Satan ever pulled was cutting off people’s potential without them realizing it. Let’s face it; he is outstanding at his job.

For my book, “Dream Madly, Pursue Wildy, Trust Completely” I conducted a survey of 68 questions to over 2034 people to evaluate how well he was doing at his job. In other words, I wanted to see if people (through a representation of racial, gender, religious, sexual preference, nationality, social and class status) dreamed for the future, were moving toward their potential, were hopeful in their lives, and were pursuing and trusting in the idea that their life mattered and made a difference.

In that survey, 50% of people believed they “would be okay if the abuse, trauma, hurt, etc. never happened” in their lives.  52% of people believed that others “can’t handle the real me.” 58% percent said they felt “less than or that there is something wrong with me.” Finally, 74% of people said that it was “easy for me to find fault with myself and/or others.”

Why? Why are we so hard on ourselves and believe so little in ourselves.  What has taken place to turn the little girl or boy who once dreamed madly, pursue wildly and trusted completely into the adult man or woman who now uncomfortably settles for lost dreams, often remains in safety and trusts no one? Why has even the breathing pattern that once was normal and healthy as a baby changed to one that is abnormal and allows less air into our bodies as adults?  What has happened to that little girl and boy?  What has happened to those dreams and bright eyes?  What happened in your past?

Each one of us, from the white house to the out house, have a past.  Regardless of how much we desire to hide the mistakes, failures, hurts, habits and hangups in our lives, are all human and walk among the wounded.  The problem has never been that we were wounded or even that we failed or were harmed.  The problem is that we, myself included, bought into the huge lie that there was a problem with being wounded or failing.

When did we begin to buy into the lie that because I lost at something, I was a loser or because I failed at something I was a failure?  All lies that we picked up somewhere between the insecurity of a father’s rage or the immaturity of a school mate’s shout.

Somewhere in our lives we began to exchange what we felt for who we were and in that moment, our dreams became too hard too capture.  Our hope slowly turned into things we could easily obtain.  Our trust was relegated to a world we believed we could control.

Man, sometimes doesn’t it just seem so hard to live life?  I feel that.  I know what it is like to say, “Enough, I can’t take another step.”  I know the feeling of being so overwhelmed with shame and guilt from the past and not only believe that there is nothing you can add to the world but believe the world would be better with out you.  Yeah, I get that.

It is only because I get that and have known that feeling that I can write this blog today and say…There is another way, I promise you.  Those feelings and beliefs are total lies and will always and forever cut off your potential.  You have the power and the choice to stop them.

Some of you know my story.  If you don’t, feel free to watch the link to The 700 club at the bottom of this blog or go to my website.  I, like you, have been given a story.  Each day we continue to walk it out. Regardless of what you have been through things have happened for a purpose.

Your story is not meant for you to remain in pain or sorrow.  It is to be used for greatness, for others, to tell, and for a purpose. There are those of you who were told you would never amount to anything.  But watch out, in time, you will be speaking to and helping millions.  Others feel that you are just a housewife or just a student or just a whatever.  But watch out, in time, you will be pouring into someone’s life and change them forever for greatness beyond anything ever imagined.  You nor I know why our stories are written the way they are….they just are.

So today, as you begin to dream, start working out, planning, organizing, just allowing yourself to dream and imagine great things, remember your past is not a hinderance to your purpose but the foundation for it.  Your past is simply a combination of themes, passions, burdens and events that offer hints to the purpose and greatness yet to come.  The best is yet to come.  What are you beginning to dream madly for yourself?  You Can Do This!

Take care,

Charlotte

Dream Madly, Pursue Wildly, Trust Completely tm

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

Have You Ever Wondered, “What if?”

Wheat field, road and tree

So often we see movies and witness stories of other people’s lives and are left in awe of their accomplishments, risks and sacrifices. Then we step back and review our lives and often are left disappointed with the dreams we keep hidden and wonder what could have happened if we had taken the road less traveled in moving toward them.

Have you ever wondered, “What if?” or thought about how different your life would have been had you stepped out on those dreams and visions you were given?  Have you believed that risk-taking and those stories you read and view on the big screen were only meant for others and not for your seemingly common, calm or difficult life?  Have you ever thought about what would happen if in a bold move of dreaming, pursuing and trusting, your life was richly being poured out, used for the greatness and impact that you have been created for, and to live out a life that matters?  I have.

We have been created to dream. Dreams began as far back as we can remember as a little boy with the toy airplane who one day dreamed of being an air craft pilot soaring through wind and traveling places that only the imagination could conceive.  The tip of a dream was touched by a little girl who comforted her sick pet hamster with the words, “One day when I’m a pet doctor, I’m going to make all the animals feel better!”

Do you remember when you had your first dream? What worlds were you going to conquer or new heights were you going to soar?  Were you going to live in an exotic land and have carefree days or did you dream of a wonderful family, home and life? Just for one moment, close your eyes and try to remember that very first dream you held close that you knew with all your heart would one day happen.  Can you remember? Does it bring a slight smile to your face?

Now remember the freedom and innocence of that dream. Nothing was too big or too silly. It did not matter that the dream changed with each new sight, experience or adventure of the day.  It was your dream and it was your stake and claim to the future. All you knew or cared about was that one day when you grew up you were going to be…

No matter how wonderful our childhoods were or how painful, in some part, a secret place was held to dream and to wonder about a world, a place, and a time outside of our present circumstance. In a very loving way, we have been equipped with an automatic “escape to hope” button in the form of our dreams. When we were sad and needed a place to propel us into the future, we could flip our dream button to imagine the events of a faraway place.  When we were in the midst of struggle and felt like giving up in the middle of our journey, we could also flip that button as a reminder of what we were toiling and pressing forward to attain.

We have been created to dream, to yearn for more than the ordinary day to day provides. We feel that yearning each time we hear a story of someone accomplishing their own dreams or achieving great heights. That’s why we love to read and watch biographies of people’s lives and the harrowing escapes, sacrifices, and challenges they went through. Their stories stir up the dreams in us. We  realize we have been created to dream every time we feel that unsatisfied knot of discontentment in our stomachs that cry out, “There has got to be more to my life!”, which is a confirmation that we have been wired to dream for a time that has not occurred as of that moment.

 Take care,

Charlotte

Dream Madly, Pursue Wildly, Trust Completely tm

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY – Your Dream-Vision-Goal…Is it really worth the Trouble?

I love  to encourage people.  Encouragement is simply something I do, it is a part of who I am. Perhaps, my passion to encourage comes from remembering the years past when I desperately needed encouragement in my troubled life and found myself left wanting.  Maybe my passion comes from the simple yet perfect gift of God in being an exhorter of people.  Perhaps, my deep desire to encourage and stir thoughts and ideas into people’s lives comes from witnessing the change that happens when people know they are not walking a path alone and that someone is willing to grab their hand for a moment along the way. All that to say, encouragement is a driving force in my life and part of my calling in moving in the lives of others.

In this post, it is important for me to state up front who I am and why I do what I do because it will be easy to misunderstand my intent as you read further.  The content may seem a bit hard or in your face.  It is not meant to.  The content may feel like I’m pushing you too hard or seem insensitive.  It is certainly not meant to do that.  I wanted you to know up front, that my sole purpose and intent in writing today’s post is to simply…encourage you.

Years ago, I wrote my third book, “Dream Madly, Pursue Wildly, and Trust Completely”.  It deals with our society from the viewpoint that the dreams, visions and passions of our lives we once lived for have wasted away to a way of life that has become comfortable, safe, common, obtainable, and lack glimmers of hope.   Daily I talk, meet  or hear from people from all walks of lives and varying degrees of success telling me of their dreams, desires and goals in one breath then their reasoning for placing those same dreams, desires, and goals on the shelf in another.

I spoke with someone this past week who believed her purpose in life was to work with hurting young girls and help them to see themselves through a different mirror than the painful ones from their past.  Wow!  That’s great stuff right there.  I next asked her about organizations and some contacts that I could provide her with in moving toward that dream.  Her reply was, “I’ve been hurt before in getting involved with certain types of organizations.  I don’t think I’m ready to try again yet.”  Further she stated that she didn’t have a degree to counsel or feel she was qualified to do what she wanted to do.  Eventually, the conversation melted away to a less important subject.

Believe me, I get that.  Having a dream is not the same as pursuing a dream. However, I’m not talking about getting a plastic cup stating you won an award for winning a treasure hunt or naming the correct amount of jelly beans in a jar.  I talking about a dream, goal, a vision. In the case of the young woman I was talking with, her purpose.

Where am I going with this.  All too often, we give up on ourselves, our dreams, our goals, our hopes and our future simply because  of us.  We give excuses like, “I’m not ready”, “It’s too hard”, “I’ve been hurt before”, “I’m not good enough”, “I will have to do too much”, etc. and believe that validates a reason to give up.  The problem is not that the dream is unobtainable.  The problem is that we often lack the courage, willingness to suffer discomfort and perseverance it takes to move toward grasping that dream.

Again, I get that.  I know what it’s like to be homeless, hungry, directionless, alone, not a penny to your name, scared, confused, angry, wondering if God forgot about you or the vision He placed in you to walk in, thinking your crazy and need to come down off the clouds and do what everybody else is doing to get by, and even hating the dream, goal or vision itself for beating so deeply inside your soul.  Yeah, I get that and struggle with it at times as well.  After crying myself to sleep that night, I woke up emotionally bruised but knew I had to move forward regardless.  Because my dreams, your dreams aren’t about accomplishing something.  Dreams and visions are about our future and what we have been created to be, placed on this earth to be and to do.  Anything less is a substitute for living a complete and purposeful life.

I said all that to get to say this…Whatever had been placed on your heart to do..Do It!  If you have been given a vision to pursue, you must follow through because you have been chosen in order for that vision to take place as designed.  If you have a dream, please do not let me, dream stealers, employers, financial situations, depression, friends, Christians, busyness, life or anything get in the way of grasping it as though it were your last breath.  I am convinced that the more difficult the journey, the greater the vision and the result.  If your dream is easy and cost you nothing, give it up because it is not a dream, simply a task you completed.  You can do this because your dream, your vision, your passion, your purpose is so worth the trouble.

Take care,

Charlotte

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY: Defining The Word “Damaged”

2caa7d6aDamage is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “loss or harm”

So often we jump to the conclusion that a book called Damaged Goods would solely be about and for people who either had a tragic past or exist in the rejection bin of the social outcasts, addicts, weak, and those who “can’t get their lives together”. Although DG does speak to the tragedies of a past told to a mysterious stranger, the focus of the book is not tragedy or the past. It is about Jeremiah 29:11 and the plans and situations the Lord allows in our lives in order to help us dream and hope again, to abandon ourselves to Him and His ways and to be and have all that He has created for and through us, in the midst of our journeys.

The fact is, we are experienced loss or harm at some point in our lives.  We have all experienced damage to various degrees simply because we are infallible humans capable of hurting others and being hurt. In psychology, damage simply means “a believed or real obstacle that stands between where we are and where we want to be (i.e, our dreams, visions, purpose, future, etc.).

From the person living on the streets or in prison to the supermodel, celebrity, or candidate in the White House, we experience being damaged.  Depending on the programming of the past, we can even feel like damaged goods limited in what we can offer or how we can be used for others and God. Those obstacles of damage can be: our past, believed feelings, secrets, performance issues, unemployment, safety, hurts, habits, lack of direction, hangups, others, ourselves, family, fear, etc.

The ONLY problem with having damage in our lives is the false belief that we must hide it in order to maintain the illusion that our lives are perfect, obstacle-free, successful, religious, happy, and together. Our identity (ultimate source of love, worth and acceptance), as Christians, is not in our performance, past, hurts, successes, damage or control.  Our identity is solely based on who we are in Christ alone.

Take care,

Charlotte

Dream Madly, Pursue Wildly, Trust Completely tm

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY- Are You Working too Hard to Try to Please Others

joySometimes, we get so discouraged and angry with work and especially our mates and friends because they are not  rising to the expectations we desire.  Often, we go to work, looking to find a sense of worth, acceptance or love from a boss or co-worker who values our work or contribution to the company.  When that does not happen, or at least the way we desire, we get frustrated, discouraged, want to quit, and allow our emotions to dictate our actions.

The same happens in our relationships.  We look to our mate or another person for our source of ultimate love, worth or acceptance.  When they reject us, leave us, don’t behave in the matter that we receive as love, or does not rise to our expectations, we feel lost, angry, worthless, or believe something is wrong with us.

Perhaps, the issue is not that people hurt us or will fail us but the issue of where we are focusing our attention.

As long as our focus is to please others in order to receive our love, worth and acceptance, we will be moved about by others.  Our lives will be consumed with worrying about what others are doing or not doing and how they need to change in order for use to feel loved, accepted or have worth.  However, when we hold onto the fact that our identity (ultimate source of love, worth and acceptance for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior) is solidly in Christ we can go to work and move in our relationships enjoying and blessing the people only while realizing the only One we need to please is God.

I encourage you to hold onto that as you move through your week.  Your boss, co-workers, mate etc. are not the source of your identity nor the one in control.  Take your burdens, sorrows, hurt, etc. to the Lord cause He can handle stuff way better than us.

You can do this!

charlotte@charlottehunt.com

Take care

Charlotte

Dream Madly, Pursue Wildly, Trust Completely

Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte D. Hunt All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without written permission from the author except for brief quotations in printed reviews.