Don’t go changing…

This is the time of year when everyone commits to making a plethora of changes. So it may sound odd to you when I say: don’t change…at least, not yet.

Very often, people are frustrated with where they are in life and assume that the only way to make it better is to change. And while change may be just the way to go, before you head down that path, you should stop and take some inventory. How will you know what you should be doing if you don’t know what you’re equipped and called to do?

I want to share some assessment tools with you that have been very helpful to me in discovering who I am and what I’m called to do. Keep in mind that these tools are not the end-all-be-all, but they will at least get you on the road to becoming all you can be and living your life to the fullest.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated by the authors of these books or creators of these assessments. I was introduced to the resources through referrals by friends or my own research and have found them extremely valuable. I have introduced the resources to others, and they have often been pleasantly surprised as they discovered more about who they are and how they tick.

Spiritual Gifts Assessment: Definitions and understandings of spiritual gifts vary somewhat between Christian denominations. However, the general understanding is that spiritual gifts are given to believers at the moment of conversion for the purpose of growing the Kingdom of God. (My dominant spiritual gifts include showing mercy and pastor/shephard.)

This link takes you to a free online spiritual gifts assessment that I’ve used. There are just over 100 questions, so give yourself at least 15 minutes to complete it. Answer the questions based on who you are, not who you hope to become. Lastly, don’t spend too much time thinking about your responses.

The Assignment: Powerful Secrets for Discovering Your Destiny (Mike Murdock): This book was given to me years ago and is based on the concept that we are each created as the answer to a specific problem in the world. Murdock provides keys to discovering your “assignment” for life. One of his suggestions for beginning this journey is to consider your answer to this question: if everyone received the same wages, how would you spend your 40 hrs./week?

Unfortunately, copies of the original edition (1997) of this book are hard to come by. The author reissued it as a 4-part series, but I prefer the original edition. This link will take you to an listing, but you may also be able to find it on other websites or in your local public or university library.

StrengthsQuest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond (Clifton, Anderson & Schreiner): The concept behind StrengthsQuest is to stop focusing on your weaknesses and start focusing on and investing in your strengths. The thing that I liked about this assessment was how it revealed unknown strengths to me. There are traits that I possess that I never considered strengths, but the book/website provides you with information on how to develop your identified strengths in academic and career settings. (Some of my top strengths are Learner and Input.) This link will take you to the StrengthsQuest website where you can find more information.

Maximizing Your Effectiveness: How to Discover and Develop Your Diving Design (Aubrey Malphurs): This is perhaps my favorite resource of all because it helps you take what you’ve learned from other assessments and begin to make sense of how it applies to your life/personal ministry. The book includes a number of assessments, and the author references assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (I’m an INFJ). This link will take you to the listing, but you may also be able to find it on other websites or in your local public or university library.

Journaling as a Spiritual Practice: Encountering God Through Attentive Writing (Helen Cepero): This is the most recent resource I’ve encountered, I just discovered it a few weeks ago. I’ve been journaling for most of my life, and reviewing old entries has been one of the best things for my personal and spiritual development. If you don’t keep a journal, I’d suggest you try it out this year!

I want to highlight chapter nine of this book. Here, the author presents the concept of a Personal Compass. This reflection activity is good for looking to the past as well as the future. (The author also teaches an online course on journaling as a spiritual practice that I will be starting later this month.) This link will take you to an listing, but you may also be able to find it on other websites or in your local public or university library.

Whew! That was definitely my longest post of the year…(those “…of the year” jokes still have another few weeks of shelf life, y’know?) I hope that these resources can be of some assistance to you. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve used any of these or if you try one and like it. I’d also love to hear about some resources you’ve tried that aren’t listed here.

Good luck on your journey toward a better you!