I feel enlightened by http://thecallingjourney.com. The friend who sent me the link said it helped him put his years of ministry in perspective. I agree. It did that for me too.
The website says:
The Calling Journey can help you understand how the road you’re travelling will get you to your calling in life. Using stories from contemporary and biblical leaders, The Calling Journey lets you create a timeline that explains the stages and transitions all leaders tend to go through as they move toward their destiny.
I learned about this kind of exercise from my mentor Dr. Robert Clinton and have actually led a number of seminars to help people create life timelines. Nevertheless, I decided to take this fresh approach and map my calling journey according to this process last evening. My expectations were not high as it seemed a bit artificial to cram my life into a template. However, I was surprised and encouraged by the two page report that was generated at the conclusion of the exercise. When I read it to Nancy she exclaimed, “How did they know all that about us?”
My timeline puts me in the “Valley of Identity.” This transitional stage usually occurs 15-30 years into a person’s calling and averages four years in length. It is often triggered by ejection from a long-time role and includes a loss of influence and favor. The focus shifts from doing to being. Apparently, I entered this stage about six years ago, about 35 years into my calling when my “Founder and President” role abruptly ended.
The report lists more characteristics of this stage, suggestions about attitudes and behaviors I should adopt, temptations to be aware of, and foreshadows what probably lies ahead for me as God continues to take me to the fulfillment of his calling on my life.
I was most surprised by the instruction to “take on the mantle of my call.” My report states:
When you come out you are now the person you were born to be. A key task in the valley is learning to believe you are that person and to present yourself in that way. That’s called, “taking on the mantle of your call.” Just as Paul called himself “Apostle to the Gentiles” and Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life,” you will need to be able to name who you have become.
At first this seems somewhat presumptuous, but it is actually an act of faith. I need to give this more prayerful consideration. May the Lord grant me wisdom!
If you create your timeline, I would love to hear about your experience. What did your learn?