“What am I going to do with my life,” my daughter sighs with frustration.
Coming home from college with a van load of gear and a heart full of great experiences, she still struggles to feel like this first year of college was a total success. There is a restless rattle in her soul, that nagging question of purpose that somehow needs to fit into a college major.
Even though I cannot give all the answers to these questions, here are a few things to consider:
1. Pray: ask God to reveal abilities.
Spend time in prayer, asking God to reveal areas of strength and ability that come naturally. Ask for His wisdom and trust Him with your future.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding… Proverbs 2:6
Begin listing strengths. Then move on to the areas that ignite joy and light up your heart with enthusiasm. These happy spots are energy builders and are a key part of God’s unique design.
Strength Finders is a great resource for discovering strengths and abilities.
2. Ask: talk to people who know you.
Although we don’t define ourselves based on how others see us, it can be helpful to get input when discovering our gifts and talents. Ask friends and family to share thoughts on your abilities and strengths. We are often more critical of ourselves, easily dismissing strengths because we don’t feel we’ve reached that nebulous level of expert.
3. Find: pursue passions and try new things.
Go after the things in your heart. Living a well-rounded life is key to finding purpose and discovering abilities. What is in your heart that you haven’t explored? Interests and passions don’t always line up directly with careers and jobs, but when they do, we blossom.
Another way to discover what you’re good at is to try new things. Break out of your activity norm and see what happens. Learn a new skill, try a hobby, take a class, or join a friend. You never know whether or not you are good at something until you try it. If it involves a specific skill, make sure to give yourself time and permission to learn and grow.
4. Work: be faithful with the little things.
Trust God with your talents, being willing to complete the small tasks with a good attitude. Fulfill responsibilities to the best of your ability, rather than ignoring the mundane jobs that have little excitement.
[Tweet “God often tests our faithfulness in small things before entrusting us with greater responsibilities.”]
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much… Luke 16:10
5. Serve: discover strengths through serving.
When we give our time and effort in service, we can discover gifts and abilities. Try a variety of service avenues–help a neighbor or volunteer with a ministry. Working alongside others brings conversations and opportunities we might not otherwise have. Serving is a valuable way to discover strengths. When we give, we often receive in unexpected ways.
Self-discovery can be one of the gifts God places in our hands through service.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
Whether you’re choosing a college major, serving in a church, or making a career transition, discovering talents and strengths is key to thriving in life. Discovering and using our strengths uncovers our beautiful design.
Have you ever tried any of these 5 things to help you discover who you are?