This week we continue going through Ruth Soukup’s book “Living Well Spending Less”.
We All Have A Sweet Spot
This week we start on Secret #3 – We All Have A Sweet Spot.
As a starting point here is a quote from Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with youra]”>[a] faith;7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,b]”>[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
We are all different. We will achieve better in some areas of life than others or when compared to others. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact it’s actually perfectly natural based on the gifts we have all received.
I’ll precursor this chapter now and personally say that it is not engaging as chapters 1 & 2. However, it needs to be thought of as one part of a whole and collectively goes with the earlier chapters and forthcoming chapters we’ll go through later.
Finding Your Sweet Spot
Where is your passion? What do you love doing most of all? If you could do only one thing right now, what would it be?
Our sweet spot is that place where our greatest passions and our talents or abilities intersect. Living in our sweet spot means not only taking the time to discover our passions and to realise what it is we were made to do but also being willing to take the next step. We have to do it.
Most of us have the tendency to put our dreams on hold in favour of the practical. the hard truth is that following your passion and living out your dream is incredibly scary. There is a huge potential for failure. It makes us vulnerable to criticism.
It means taking a step into the unknown, where anything can happen and where we often do not have control. It is so much easier to find shelter in the known than risk the heartbreak of failure.
You probably have an inkling on what you are best made for and what ignites your passion. If you can incorporate your true passion in your life you can find your sweet spot and your life will be more full as you are in the right place where you need to be.
Bloom Where You Are
There are times however when we have no idea what our sweet spot is or how to find it. As life progresses we may find that our dreams, aspirations and callings change too. Sometimes seeing what someone else is doing makes us see what we truly want or need to do.
Other times we may have to accept that we currently are not living in our sweet spot but are still called to make the most of our circumstances right now.
There is a big difference between wanting what we don’t have and wanting to do something else because we know deep down it is where we are meant to be. How do we remedy the tension between choosing contentment against striving for more?
You have to try to bloom where you are.
At any given time we all have room to grow and bloom, no matter where we are planted. No matter the season of life, we have opportunities to learn more, develop more, give more. Our sweet spot doesn’t have to be some grand life plan. Sometimes we don’t even know what our sweet spot is but simply need to follow our current calling or passion.
Finding our sweet spot means listening to that tiny voice inside of us that says, Make the most of where you are right now. Learn. Grow. Develop who and what you are. And often the sweet spot will emerge, right in the middle of living life.
Identifying Our Gifts
We all have been given our own special gifts and talents even if we do not recognise them.
There is a spectrum of gifts. Below is just a few:
- doing or serving;
- stepping up when needed;
- forging a path for others;
- administering change;
- following through.
We are all blessed with any number of special gifts and abilities.
While some gifts may be flashier than others , seem more preferable or more important they are all essential.
Gifts come from God,
“4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.
Individually we all have gifts. However, we are all part of the body of Christ and we are meant to work together, 1 Corinthians 12:14-18 (NIV),
“14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
Finding your sweet spot often involves finding and then learning to embrace the God-given talents and aptitudes you already have rather than the ones you wish you had.
It means taking the time to discover what you are truly good at and enjoy then figuring out how to merge that talent and those abilities with the ideas and dreams and pursuits you are most passionate about.
Sometimes finding your sweet spot even means taking a wrong turn and failing.
Choosing The Wrong Path
Sometimes you may be tempted to go down a path not of your choosing or you think its what you want to do and yet seemingly this path is leaving you stone cold. You may reach a point where you feel miserable or just okay. Is ok enough?
Believe it or not, your dream may in reality be quite different from what you imagined. Do you keep going? Is giving up really giving up? Sometimes it is okay to fail.
Sometimes we become fearful of making mistake, of doing something wrong, of having someone else laugh at us. However failure (in it’s most general sense) is almost never fatal. Life goes on and sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other until a new path becomes clear. While one door may have closed, a whole world of new possibilities opens up in its place. Quitting or changing can in fact be a bold move to try new things you would never have before. You can find your sweet spot not despite your failure but because of it.
Jumping In With Both Feet
Some people like to take a cautious approach while other like getting stuck right in straight away.
When following our dreams and finding your sweet spot many of us prefer to slow and steady approach. Taking a leap of faith can be all at once the most terrifying and the most rewarding thing you may ever do.
For example, you may have a dream to open a business. You take the plunge and then soon find out that being a business owner is hard hard work. There are setbacks and disappointments. You don’t know if you will make it and you may even feel like giving up. Hopefully you will find your sweet spot, succeed, keep going and pursue the path you were made for.
You may not know your sweet spot yet and you may be worried that you are not quite good enough, smart enough, organised or talented enough. It can be awfully scary to jump into the unknown and pursue a dream you don’t know will ever come true. Speaking from Ruth Soukup’s own experience, it is the most exhilarating jump you will ever take.
You have your own sweet spot. You will have to become fearless in all that you do, dare to take the plunge even when it risks failure. Remember these words from Phillipians 4:13:
“13 I can do all things through Christa]”>[a] who strengthens me.” (New King James Version).
Don’t let the possibility of fear deter you from trying. You will make mistakes. You will screw up along the way. There are times that you may even have to accept defeat. Keep going. Use the lessons as opportunities to discover what doesn’t work and always persevere.
Challenge: Identify Your Sweet Spot
Spend some time thinking about your dreams and passions. What is it that you love to do most of all? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning or rushing back from work?
If you could do only one thing right now, what would it be? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t quite gathered the nerve to try?
Next spend some time listening to the holy discontentment in your life. Is there something in your life that isn’t quite right? Do you have a feeling you are on the wrong path? What would it take to make a change? Think about the direction that you need to take or where God is leading you:
“8 I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.” Psalms 32:8 (The Living Bible).
Finally, consider your own gifts and talents. What are your areas of expertise? What are you good at? What do you most enjoy? What is your sweet spot? Remember you have been given many gifts and talents for your work individually and collectively as part of the body of Christ.
Ignite that spark within you and give yourself permission to try, to leap in with both feet, even if it means risking failure.
Commit to spend time each day to pray for guidance on where you should be focusing your talents and gifts in work and at Church.
As I said earlier, this chapter isn’t as personally engaging as the previous two chapters. However, make your own assessments on what Christ is telling you and what and how you can implement any of the Ruth’s suggestions.
If you are enjoying going through the book “Living Well Spending Less”, please support the author Ruth Soukup and purchase her book.