But from what I have observed, it's not common for people to find it.
So I'm writing this post for those who are in the process of charting a life course (or revising a life course that hasn't quite worked out) who would like some new ideas to consider.
I was telling Eric the other day that if I could choose to do anything in the whole world, I would do exactly what I'm doing. I know that's a privilege.
The interesting thing, however, is that I didn't always feel that way in the past--even when I was doing pretty much the same things I'm doing now.
What has changed is that I went through a process of answering three powerful questions that totally clarified my course.
Now I wake up excited and go to bed content. I have confidence in the work I do, I feel happy, and I don't get as impatient with myself because I can see the big picture (except on the days I don't get enough sleep and have hormone issues . . . then I have meltdowns).
I haven't known exactly how to write about this process because it's really special and sacred to me, but this morning some ideas came into my mind, and I feel like this is the right time to share.
I'm simply going to explain the process I went through, and though part of it is specific to my religion, I'm confident that--whatever your belief is in a higher power or whatever resources nourish you spiritually--this can be replicated. (But you'll have to let me know!)
Step #1: I wrote three questions at the front of my book of scripture.
- Who am I?
- What are my responsibilities (to God)?
- How can I best fulfill these responsibilities?
Step #2: I assigned each question a color (to make it easy to distinguish my markings).
- Who am I? (BLUE)
- What are my responsibilities (to God)? (GREEN)
- How can I best fulfill these responsibilities? (RED)
Step #4: I put sticky notes at the back of my book--in three different sections--so I could record the answers and have all of them in one place.
The sticky notes started piling up quickly. I finally got smart and bought those full page-sized ones.
Step #5: I read this book just about every day--really thinking about these questions, praying that the Lord would help me to learn what He wanted me to do, and recording the thoughts that came to my mind.
Because I went through this process slowly and read other scriptures during my study time, as well, it took me about two years to finish. But that's okay. It's not a race.
Since then, I've been looking through these notes periodically, but because it's hard to read sticky notes that are piled on top of each other at the back of a book, I decided it was time to compile them.
Last Sunday, I took out all my post-it notes and lined them up on the counter so I could see everything I learned in one place.
This is from the question, "Who am I?" (Alia helped me blur this photo because these notes are really personal.)
And this is what I got from question number three (for some reason, the Question #2 photo has disappeared):
My children were watching me line up all these notes, and they were asking questions. I told them that these notes contained some of the most precious ideas I had ever received from God.
Yesterday morning, I had the idea to take my "Who am I?" stack and read it into a digital voice recorder. I sat on Grace's bed for about 30 minutes, reading the notes line by line and making a personal podcast.
As I was recording myself reading these, however, I realized that perhaps my children or grandchildren might listen to it someday, so I included some special messages to them and challenged them to go through this same process to discover who they are. It was a really sweet and powerful experience. Can't describe it in words.
I'm planning to record two more podcasts with my other stacks of notes and then type all the notes into one document, so I can read through them whenever I need to be reminded of who I am, what I'm supposed to be doing, and how the Lord is going to help me to do it.
I can't even tell you how helpful this has been so far.
I was at a Retreat for Power of Moms a few months after I started this process, and I was really nervous. The morning of the event, I woke up with this question replaying itself in my head. "Who do you think you are?"
It was starting to get me down. I started doubting myself and wondering why on earth I was even trying to help mothers.
After awhile, I couldn't stand it anymore, so I said to that voice, "I'll tell you who I am."
And I opened my scriptures and started reading all the things I'd written under "Who am I? These were insights and thoughts that had come from God--specifically tailored to me.
After reading through my notes, that voice and that question (Who do you think you are?) simply went away. And I felt an increased ability to do what I needed to do.
If I could make one recommendation to everyone in the world, it would be to chart your course by asking God these questions. Then listen. Write it down. And do it. Not to be dramatic, but our very lives are literally at stake.
The power and peace that has come from this process is indescribable. I feel happy and light. I know I can accomplish the heavy tasks that are set before me. I know I'm supported by a power that is so much greater than my own.
Each of us has an immeasurable value, and when we go to the Source to discover that value, it will literally transform us.
I want all of us to feel that. I want all of us to know that. And I want all of us to become what we are really meant to be.