This post will be different from those I write usually. I will not give you a leadership teaching, business tips, or personal growth recommendations. This post will be what some of you might call a ‘religious’ post, although I usually tend to shy away from anything deemed religious. So, if you are offended by that, you may just want move on to something else. If not, then by all means keep reading…
You see, I’m an entrepreneur, author, leadership trainer, and coach in the personal development industry – that’s my occupation. But I’m first a foremost a believer in and a child of the most High God. That’s my true identity at the deepest part of myself’.
In recent years, in my profession, I’ve pretty much seen it all as far as B.S. (Belief Systems) is concerned. Yes, B.S. stands for belief systems. What did you think I meant? Ahem, but I digress…
I’ve seen what motivates people, what drives them, and especially what they believe. Here is the short list of the types of people I’ve identified in personal development related businesses (Speakers, Multi-Level Marketing, Sales, Coaching, Entrepreneurship, etc.):
- The money driven: Those who are into personal development related businesses mainly because they want more ca$h. Think Materialism.
- The hype driven: Those who are into personal development businesses mainly because they like the hype, events, and feeling excited. Think Adrenalin Junkies.
- The fluffers: Those who are into personal development businesses mainly because it makes them feel good. They like ‘the Universe’ (whatever the heck that means), fluffy thoughts, unicorns, purple hearts, and feel-good mumbo-jumbo. Think New Age.
- The people driven: Those who are into personal development related businesses because they love people and want to help them by adding value to them. Think Humanism.
Pretty much everybody falls into one or more of those categories, with the inevitable combinations that may come from it. Some are money and hype driven. Some are fluffers who love to help people, etc. Most of these people are ignited and highly motivated. They believe in their business and the thought-system they work with. Which is more, most of them sincerely believe they have found their purpose, their higher calling, their bliss.
There is just one tiny problem though… ego. No, I don’t mean a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. I’m talking about the ego that spells E.G.O., which means, Edging God Out.
T.D. Jakes put it this way, and I couldn’t have said it better:
“Success is irrelevant to purpose. You can be successfully wrong.”
– T.D. Jakes
You see, for all the good that I’ve witnessed in personal development related businesses, I have also seen how these ventures have become, in the lives of many, an idol.
Some people’s lives are so empty before they find personal development ventures, that they put all their eggs in this basket once they find it. They sincerely believe that the hole in their heart and life has been filled through it. They cling to it as if their life depends on it. They go all in and are proud of it. And if you try to hint, ever so subtly, that they made an idol for themselves, you will have it coming! Ironically, you will be thought of as (or called) a (take your pick): unbeliever, negative person, someone who ‘doesn’t get it’, small minded, etc. Yes, those who make their personal development related biz into an idol may treat level-minded people the same way as those who are in a cult do when they are confronted about it. Scary!
If the living God is not a part of your life, then your purpose is just based on feelings. It has no firm foundation but self, and although you may think you have found your purpose, it’s only half the story.
There, I said it. No matter how dry, uncharitable, or closed-minded I may sound, I said it.
If you believe you have found your calling, but you are edging God out, you are only living half of your story; because there is no calling without a caller.
To illustrate, let me take the example of the man we have come to know as the apostle Paul. Before he was Paul, he was Saul. Saul believed he had found his purpose and calling. He was prominent in his field among the religious elite of the day. He was highly respected in the community. He had followed all the right courses and trainings at the feet of Gamaliel (think religious Tony Robbins-type superstar teacher of the day). He was, for all intents and purposes, and in the eyes of the people back in the day – the equivalent of a guy who, by today’s standards, was ‘Crushing It’.
So Paul, who was highly motivated and sincerely believed he was following his true calling, was ‘crushing it’ by pursuing and killing Christians. Yes, that was pretty extreme, but stay with me here.
Paul, like so many others today, was following his calling, without the approval of the Caller. It is only when Paul met the Caller that he began fulfilling his true calling.
The Experiencing God devotional, by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby put it this way:
“Before the apostle Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Jesus already knew Paul and had a specific assignment for him. But Jesus only revealed this assignment after Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:15). So misguided was Paul that in his sincere efforts to serve God, he had actually been waging war against Christians! Although God knew what He wanted for Paul, He waited to reveal it to him until he gained his attention and became his Lord.
Our Lord does not come to us to discover what we would like to accomplish for Him. He encounters us in order to reveal His activity and invite us to become involved in His work. An encounter with God requires us to adjust ourselves to the activity of God that has been revealed. God never communicates with us merely to give us a warm devotional thought for that day. He never speaks to us simply to increase our (Biblical) knowledge. Our Lord has far more significant things to reveal to us than that! When God shows us what He is doing, He invites us to join Him in the work He is doing.”
Do you see where I’m going with this?
I don’t want to be misunderstood here. There is nothing wrong with loving your biz, your products, your company, or even personal development. As a coach, I actually encourage people to pursue personal development intensively and to have a personal growth plan. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, there is great fulfillment in doing something you are passionate about for a living. I get it, I really do.
My concern, my deepest concern is simply this: People who believe they have found their purpose without God. As a life-coach and believer, this is what grieves me the most. Why? Because if there is one thing that I have understood on this earth-based adventure that we call life, it is that purpose that edges God out is only half the story. Just as Paul knew the Scriptures by heart before His conversion, they only made complete sense to Him after his encounter with the Living Lord.
For all I know, maybe the venture your are hustling in now is part of your purpose – maybe it is linked towhat you were born to do. Nevertheless, I can guarantee this: If God is not part of your life at a deep and personal level, this purpose of yours is only half your story – I don’t care how much success you may have had.
Now, if you want the full picture; If you want to live in the fullness of your purpose. If you want to stop edging God out and you want to make Him the center of your life. If you want a solid foundation that will remain no matter what happens in your business and life, I urge you to change your mind and trust Him to become the Lord of your life. Seek Him and ask Him to reveal the vision HE has for your life. What you’re currently doing can become even bigger with Him giving you a clear vision of how you can reach your fullest potential for His Kingdom.
That’s the only way you will enter into the fullness of your calling. Because there is, indeed, no calling without a caller. So, if you hear His call today, do not turn a deaf ear.
May you be Blessed in your life and business/ministry and even more so as you enter into the fullness of your calling.