Many books and blog posts have been written about this topic, so I want to show my hand here at the outset….seriously, you can’t be anything you want to be. Keep an open mind and heart, and you might discover some new information.
One of my favorite quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer is “Every Christian must be fully Christian by bringing God into his whole life, not merely into some spiritual realm.” This thinking on his part persuaded him (after much wrestling with God!) to stand against Hitler and Third Reich’s political machine, even though he was a theologian, not a politician or an activist. Was he the best choice for this job? It was because of who he was, not what his job was that made him usable in God’s hand.
I said in my last blog post that finding out what God had prepared for you as his workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) was part of the discovery process in your search to find a meaningful college and career path. I want you to expand your thinking using Bonhoeffer’s quote. Not only are we talking about a “calling” or vocation, we are actually talking about your ENTIRE life. Discovering the person God has called you to BE is much more important than simply discovering what job you should DO.
You know a few things about yourself, but as a young adult you need more information. Natural abilities are a great place to start your discovery process, because they DO matter. You know they do! You have seen American Idol’s early auditions. You know where I am going with this don’t you? Part of the appeal of the early rounds is those somewhat deluded souls who have no idea they cannot sing. They stand there in some outfit they thought would catch the eye of the judges and sing in the most painful ways. My southern friends would say, “Bless their heart, they just don’t know any better.” However, we do know better don’t we? They will not make it past the first round. BUT here is the kicker. They say things like, “I know music is my destiny, and I will not let you take that future from me.” Well, they may be right; but it is doubtful.
The reality in America today is that many young people have been sold the idea from an early age that no matter how they are created they will succeed at what they want to do. I am here to help you with that! If God has created you to BE and DO something, he is going to equip you, his creation, to get that work done. What you need is more information about how you are created.
How can you figure out what you do best? Try an abilities assessment. Not an interest survey or personality test, although I will cover those in another post. Ability tests are not going to be cheap or free, but, if you have no idea about your abilities, or you just want to confirm you have what it takes, save up some money for this purpose and see what you can find out.
There are many assessments out there, but the one I use, The Highlands Ability Battery, is based on Johnson O’Connor’s research beginning in the middle of the twentieth century. Johnson O’Connor was asked by the General Electric Company to devise a series of activities to help discover the natural abilities of the company’s workers. The assessments that are a result of his work are in the workplace in many forms, and any of them will help you. You can find the assessment I use at www.highlandslifeandcareercenter.com. Some questions the assessment should help you answer are:
- What kind of problem-solver are you?
- Are you full of ideas and creative?
- Can you visualize and or mentally manipulate 3D objects in space?
- Why are you good or not-so-good with numbers, or science?
- Are you naturally good at paperwork?
- Are you musical? What are your weaknesses in this area, if any?
- Are you visual? Auditory?
- What kind of learner are you?
Answering these questions will move you closer to knowing who you are. Next time, I will cover the question many of you will be asking after you take an ability assessment: What if my abilities aren’t quite the best for the career I want? We will revisit the American Idol example and give you some ideas about what God may be doing in your life. Happy Discovery!