Have you ever asked yourself, “In my life, what brings me deep gladness?” What really brings you deep joy and satisfaction? In his book, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC, Frederick Buechner writes about purpose, vocation and calling: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Answering these two questions, “What is my deep gladness? What is the world’s deep hunger?” are critical life questions. They go hand in hand like the picture below and here’s why…
In this life, you get to live once. There are no “do-overs.” In your head, you know this. But when was the last time you connected your head and your heart?
‘What is your deep gladness?’ and ‘What is the world’s deep hunger?’ are heart questions. Spending some time thinking about this may be good for your heart. Get serious and it just may change your life.
I’ve discovered three key areas that bring me deep gladness and how they’re connected to the world around me. They intersect with how God has wired me, influencing just about every aspect of my personal and professional life. Understanding how God has wired me and what brings me deep gladness to meet the world’s deep hunger helps me navigate the myriad of choices I have when it comes to priorities, goals, and career focus. When I get sidetracked, these key areas pull me back to center. What are they?
1. Relationships: For anyone who knows me, I’ve always been a people-person. My relationships with my wife, children, and friends bring me deep gladness and I make it a goal to nurture these relationships on a regular basis. I’m an extrovert by nature, but I do have a high need for being alone for reading, thinking, praying. This plays out in my time alone with God, usually early in the morning before the craziness of the day begins. I can get a bit overwhelmed trying to keeping up with many friendships, but what a great problem to have!
2. Ministry Teams & Leadership: Though I’ve never felt compelled to be “the leader” of a church, business, or non-profit, from a young age I’ve always gravitated towards teams and communities of people focused on a higher purpose. I always seem to find myself on some sort of team or a leader of teams. A higher value for me (and this is where deep gladness emerges) has been in the community of relationships that come in being a part of a team or staff. I’ve done spiritual gift inventories and ministry teams are where my gifts of faith, shepherding (care for people), and leadership play out.
3. Creative Projects: Though I’ve been a writer for over twenty years, it wasn’t until I was forty that I began to really embrace the idea that I was creative. At first, it seemed a bit arrogant to say, “I am creative.” Once I realized that I loved playing with ideas and seeing them come into reality, that God wired me to activate the imagination He had given me, THEN I had an “Ah-ha” moment of realizing that this creativity was a gift from God. In understanding I had creative gifts also came the realization that I had the responsibility to enjoy, nurture and share them with others. Along the way of being involved in all sorts of creative projects like writing, filmmaking, painting, working with other artists, and developing the ministry of The Grove Center for the Arts & Media (the non-profit I serve), it was like, “Wow! I enjoy this! All this creative stuff and the people connected with it bring me deep gladness.” AND we get to meet the world’s deep hunger for the beauty, truth and goodness of God.
That’s me. What about you? How has God wired you? What brings you deep gladness? Here’s a few questions to help you explore this very important question:
1. First (the very obvious), what brings you deep gladness? Really, if you had to swipe everything off the table, what would remain?
2. How does this deep gladness play itself out in your personal and professional life? (Sometimes these connect…sometimes not.)
3. How does your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet? What do you really enjoy doing? Who do you enjoy doing it with?
The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12)
Be happy and do good. Deep gladness meeting the world’s deep hunger.
Finding satisfaction in your deep gladness and meeting the world’s deep hunger…to live this way of the gift of God.
You get the gift. You share the gift. That’s a winning combination that goes hand in hand.
Questions: I’ll keep this simple…what is your deep gladness? What is the world’s deep hunger? How do these go hand in hand in your life?