Monday, February 03, 2014

Importance of a Personal Mission Statement

“Years ago I wrote a mission statement for my life, and the mission statement is simply “I want to be God’s best audio-visual aid of how His power shows up best in weakness. ….God seems to delight in taking the ill-equipped, untrained, unskilled, and unprofessional and placing them to do a job so that the whole world would know that God is God.”---joni_eareckson_tada_oscar_nod_is_incredible">Joni Eareckson Tada in an interview with World magazine.

I was powerfully struck in two ways by Joni’s mission statement. The idea that individuals should have a mission statement rattled my brain a bit. Joni is living out her statement. It is evident in her life and her ministry (a false dichotomy really). She was a leading voice for the Americans with Disabilities Act and leads a ministry that for 35 years has provided a hundred, thousand wheelchairs to people worldwide and touched disabled and hurting humans everywhere---including myself.

In reflecting I see specific benefits to a mission statement. Primarily it sets a parameter for purpose. Let’s say your mission statement was to be an expert on movies. You are not going to spend your weekends reading---unless you are reading film reviews. You are going to watch one or more movies. You might subscribe to IMDB. Your time and your energy is shaped and motivated via your mission statement. It directs you in what you do and helps inform what you need not do.

Mission statement allows you freedom to flesh out options. Joni is invested in a myriad of ways to fulfilling her mission. Her ministry provides wheelchairs to many, she has a radio show, she writes books and she teaches on God’s purpose in suffering. These are not mutually exclusive areas but all fit in with her personal statement to be used as an audio-visual aid.

One can hone in on one’s own statement by thinking about those things that set you afire. What topic makes you hot under the collar? What stirs your heart? Focus there and you will be on the path to your own statement.

Fine and good but what’s my personal mission statement? Christian legalism gets me fired up. Hearing and reading about people who are oppressed by others or other governments breaks my heart. I write a blog with an emphasis on “coming alive.” It’s a work in progress but my own mission statement is, “To encourage and exemplify freedom and grace in Christ and in the fullness of life.”

I hope that you are provoked to ponder your own life and create your own mission statement. In it you’ll find freedom to run down the path your heart desires and peace in saying “no” to those trails that beckon but lead to bad investments and bad ends.

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