ALIGNING WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT IS KEY TO AUTHENTICITY. Knowing who are you and how you function can be the difference between contentment and frustration, between peace and impersonation. When we discover our true voice, calling, and purpose, we begin to live and serve at a whole new level. This is when work becomes vocation. This is when we feel fully aligned; authentically grounded in our own story and in the Bigger Picture.
THIS COURSE complements my book, 5 Navigators, aligning with your God-given spiritual gift.
It features 9 short videos and 5 sets of handouts. It is an original, thoughtful deep dive into the Story of Home and the Power (and Peace!) of Aligning with your spiritual gift. Some of us are natural Pastors, others love to Teach and some Evangelize to change the world. Still others bring a Prophetic or Apostolic lens to every conversation, each situation.
Here you will DISCERN your gift and DISCOVER the difference it makes for you and those around you.
Take the course at your leisure. Pour a cup of tea; feel free to invite a friend. You are welcome to print the Hand-outs and/or respond to Invitations at the end of each Session, to make the material, ideas and insights YOUR OWN.
Session ONE -Home, Vocation and Relationships. These are the THREE CORE QUESTIONS that frame the stories we tell; the questions that speak to the place we come from, the work that comes to us most naturally, and the people who journey with us. Below is a brief description of how each question leads us deeper into the story, towards becoming more fully Authentic Storytellers:
HOME is where we find spiritual freedom, inasmuch as this is where we feel free to speak, to find our voice, to venture out from where we are now into all that God has for us; to find our way forward, to inhabit and embody truth and so become our authentic self.
VOCATION is where we find spiritual expression, give our best efforts, ideas, input and insights to the world. Our vocation is the venue through which we offer back what God has put in, has distilled and made distinctive within and through us. Vocation is where our inner life intersects with the outer world; the means through which the best of us finds expression and so takes on value, becomes authentically meaningful.
AND RELATIONSHIPS are where we find spiritual fulfillment, as we fulfill the law of love in our quest to get along and connect with others. There are few things more satisfying, enriching and fulfilling than knowing we are loved and finding space and time to love in turn. There is a sense of completion in this cycle; a homecoming, a felt expression and a knowing that no one can take from us. This is how we become who we are, in relationship, outside a vacuum, no longer seeking to fill a void; how we become authentic persons others can fully appreciate and receive from.
This is why and how Home, Vocation and Relationships are the Three Core Questions at the heart of becoming Authentic Storytellers.
Session TWO – PERSPECTIVE, 5 SPIRITUAL LENSES explores the distinct ways we see the world and engage in authentic communication with others. These 5 Lenses align with the gifts God has given us, as found in Ephesians 4:11, and so are part of our spiritual DNA. Getting ahold of our spiritual gifting and the lens through which we see the world is an important part of Authentic Storytelling, because it affects the WHY of our story, informs our purpose. It affects WHO we relate easily to and who we might struggle to hear. It affects how we respond to WHERE we’re at when it comes to conflict and burnout. Being at peace, inside, understanding our spiritual core, helps us relate better to others (and to ourselves) in every way. This is how the Five Spiritual Lenses inform and impact the Three Core Questions of our stories and how we relate and come across to others.
Session THREE – PURPOSE. This is what drives each one of us when it comes to the work we seek to do in the world, in a way that aligns with our spiritual lens. This is what we mean by Vocation. When we are doing work that is true to us, we feel satisfied. This allows us to open up, and encourage others to seek and find the same, a happy cycle. Whether we’ve arrived or not is not the point. It’s more about knowing where we’re at and finding peace with what it might take to move forward in a way that brings us joy and our own felt reward. This is an important piece of Authentic Storytelling, because if we’re not attuned to our vocational call and desire, then we’re unlikely to receive the best of what others have to offer, or offer them our best in return. It’s about moving forward together and connecting on a deeper level without erecting any false or defensive barriers. It’s about trust, based on trusting God with our story, our journey.
Session FOUR – MY STORY. This is one story told in a moment of time. It may look/sound different the next time. A snapshot of objects embedded in my life that speak of home, vocation and relationship, to me. I thought it might be helpful to offer an example of how these 3 Core Questions frame a life-story. Your objects & interpretations will be your own, as stories are nothing if not personal. Of course, a story is a snapshot in time. The story might be different tomorrow, a little more nuanced. As we grow in our understanding, continue to mature, our stories deepen, grow better with age (I think). We are layered. Like wine. Each story, each telling will bring its own distinct note to the whole. At the same time, each story should be able to stand on its own. Merit its own telling.
Session FIVE – THE COMMUNICATION TOOLS WE REALLY OWN. This is about the tools, or formats or genres we use to best speak from our core. The forms that make sense to us. These are the same forms by which we are able to receive what others are saying. One size does not fit all. When it comes to relating to others, appreciating how they might be hearing us (and what they might be missing or reinterpreting through their own lens) is an important part of being heard and received. Where one person jumps up and down over a good story with lots of interruptions, that style of storytelling might drive the next person batty. They might need a visual display or better yet, a tightly woven novel. There are genres that work very well with some and fall flat with others. We all have preferred tools; and it’s no different when it comes to Communication Tools. Knowing what language we speak and what tools we’ve mastered, and what tools we’re not really at home with and so come across a bit clunky when we try and use them, goes a long way in being heard and received as a good storyteller.
Session SIX – CONFLICT. The proverbial pea under the mattress; the one we can’t quite see but we know is there, causing problems. We all see (and weigh) such problems differently. Often our approach is influenced by deeper spiritual vision and purpose. The more we can understand the validity of each approach, and the role it plays in the bigger story, the easier it is to navigate conflict in our story, and with others. Understanding how we handle conflict (and how others handle it) is probably one of the most important things to get ahold of when it comes to owning our story, and putting others at ease with telling their story. Some of us will gloss over the hard bits in a natural, authentic way. Others will go for the gusto and share all the details. Both are valid, depending on our core perspective and larger purpose. It’s important, therefore, not to ask an empathetic person to be grittier than they’re comfortable with, just because you might be a more forthright, tell-it-like-it-is storyteller. There is a range. And we all occupy our own space on that spectrum. The key is to know where we land and stay true to that; and rest in the fruits of what it means to be an Authentic Storyteller, at home in your own skin and able to model the same freedom to others.
Session SEVEN – SEASONS OF LIFE, AND ADJUSTING ACCORDINGLY. Authentic Communication means being true to who we are, but also being aware of where we’re at. This helps us make room for the work of God in each season of life. To attune & align. Depending on the season, your stories may sound very different from each other. How we share our story in a season of prosperity and productivity, when we feel God’s wind in our sails, is very different than how we share what we’re walking through in a season of caregiving for an elderly parent, or a sick child, or in season of grief or loss. Adjusting the tone, the tempo, the expectations and even who we share with and what we share is all a part of Authentic Storytelling.
Being aware of and responding to the season of life we’re in is a very helpful way to recognize when we’re being less than authentic as well. There’s little point in “pushing through” to deliver who we’re used to doing in a high-energy season, when, really, we’re in a slow or low season of life. Where we are comes through loud and clear to our listener no matter what words we use. People are intuitive. They’re smart. And they’re able to observe from the outside, looking in. This means, the onus is on us to take time out, and back away from the stage or the page, when necessary do what we need to stay in touch with our inner life. And so, seek to match our storytelling to our season of life. This is an important part of being (or becoming) an Authentic Storyteller, and so well worth the journey to the centre of our story with God.
Session EIGHT – BURNOUT, A SEASON TO PAUSE, retreat, renew. Find ways to replenish our core and speak from the place we once knew. Burnout happens when our Giving/Receiving Ratio is off. This requires wisdom, and knowing ourselves. I don’t know anyone who didn’t see it coming, when they’re looking back on a time of burnout. And no one who didn’t pay a high price, either relationally, physically, financially or vocationally for the burnout that must have seemed, in retrospect, inevitable. Burnout happens when we either fail to pay attention to the signs, or simply don’t feel able to stop and press the reset button. But sometimes it’s even more complicated than that. Sometimes it’s a long time coming and circumstances really do seem beyond our control. Whatever the cause, burnout is a place to go deeper into our story, to make peace with our needs. And to recognize the balance we need, personally, between giving out and receiving. It’s not always 50/50, but there is always a ratio. More specifically, a ratio that works for us!
Knowing what this is goes a long way to knowing how much we can share with others, how often and to what intensity level we can tell our stories. Because when we share, we are giving out. Some of us have a very high capacity to give. We need to give about 80% of the time, and only receive about 20%. For others, it’s the exact opposite. And some of us really do best with 50/50, it depends.
This session is about getting ahold of that truth, and owning it, without apology.
Session NINE – REVISING OUR STORY, MAKING PEACE. This is the last Session in this Series, but does not need to be the end of your story, or mine. It takes time to come to peace with our own stories, our own way of seeing the world. And coming to peace with God, who journeys with us and is the reason we dig in, work past the obstacles or any potential bitterness that may linger, hold us back. He is worth it. The Bible says taste and see that the Lord is good. And this is true. He has such good things in store for those who love him and seek him with their whole heart. I believe part of this wholehearted approach to life and the things of God who is with us in ways we can hardly describe, is to take a good look at our own story; to learn to tell it from our core. To be ourselves. To become Authentic Storytellers, people open and willing to share life; to be heard and so, invite others into the journey with us. There is glory up ahead and reasons to press on. And part of moving forward in a way that finds us carrying only what we need, and not hanging onto the stuff that holds us back, is being real with other people, honest with ourselves and with our listeners, our friends, our family, our colleagues, our audiences, our readers. With the people we seek to communicate with in ways that deepen the things that matter most: the stuff of our lives with God, our stories. This is the POWER OF AUTHENTIC STORYTELLING.
THANKS FOR JOINING ME. Let me know your thoughts at email@example.com