Have you ever had reason to sit down with a few people and talk out your life story?

It is a really interesting experience and I highly recommend it.  Yesterday Trish and I had to take a Church Planters Assessment offered by the local branch of the Southern Baptist Association.  (Our church is a Southern Baptist Church, but before you freak out – it isn’t the typical Southern Baptist kind, but I get to go to all their seminars and training stuff and I love to learn, so it isn’t too bad.)  Essentially the assessment asks you leadership type questions and asks you to tell them a story of a time when you experienced this or that.  They ask for specific examples of stuff you did that can help them determine how good or bad you would be at planting churches.  It was kinda fun because you get to talk about yourself the whole time… like a first date, “so tell me about yourself,” and Trish and I had to walk through different experiences with them.  They said there are no wrong answers, so we are both pretty comfortable with the experience.

 

The cool thing about exercises like this is it allows you to see a trajectory of your life emerge.  Like a pathway that comes out of common experiences…  themes begin to come out of the experiences you naturally find yourself in on your journey.  It helps bring your future out in light of your past.  Things that you enjoy doing or find success at in the past become building blocks for your future.  It is a great process because it builds self-confidence – you have already had success at something!  It also shows that some of the difficulties were there for a reason.  Maybe the reason is to clarify your personality, maybe to teach you how to handle certain experiences, maybe so you can help someone else through a similar thing in their life.  Regardless we often only look at our lives a step at a time; looking back at all the steps that have gotten us this far, and seeing where they might lead if we keep to the same path is a great experience!  I highly recommend it!

 

Okay, so if you are not a church planter, how do you do this?  I have done it and seen it done a couple different ways… one is post it notes.  You put all the good experiences on yellow post it notes, and all the bad on blue post it notes… then you organize them in groups, like these things taught me this, try to have three groups, then title your groups in chapters like a book, the early years, the formative years, the Everest experience, whatever seems like a good title, it is yours you decide.  When all the notes are organized in titles you begin to see the trajectory emerge, have someone else look at it and they can help you see patterns too.  You can do the same kind of thing in a journal, but having someone look at it from a different perspective is necessary to make sure you are being objective.  It is always a good thing to do to see how far you have come; even if you are still young there have been many steps in your journey already!

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