Hello Rooted Ladies,
Well, we are now starting to get into the thick of understanding why we are “restless” and how to determine if our dreams and visions are our own selfish thoughts or for God’s will and purpose. For me, this book is already ten times more useful than many books about finding your purpose because Allen actually gives us questions to ask ourselves to probe deeper. And her own struggles with knowing whether her vocational ministry was out of her own arrogance or even fear rather than God’s will really helps to illuminate the tension between the two. Most of us wonder if our goals are really God’s plans for our lives or our own selfish desires.
I love where Allen writes that “We need to quit apologizing for using our gifts and start apologizing for not using them.” For me, this statement rang true because I see so many people (myself included) shy away from activities and projects that use our strengths out of fear. I’m now seeing how we can squander our lives away, not being fulfilled because we aren’t living out God’s plan for our lives.
Part I: The Call
Chapter 6 – Pleasing God
1. What do you think when you read the bible verse where Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me . . . they will do even greater things than these?” John 14:12. Does it sound blasphemous to do even greater things? Do we believe this is possible. Or do we feel prideful, arrogant, or vain?
2. Allen asked her mentor, “How do you know if a vision is from God?” Her mentor responded with “At some point you look at the motives of your heart, and if they are for God, then just do it.” Does this advice ring true?
3. Allen talks about “checking our motives” for our ideas, dreams, and visions to see if they align with God. Have you ever tried checking your motives? What was your experience?
4. In order to check in on your motives, Allen was advised to ask herself if God was pleased with her in that moment? Have you ever asked if God was pleased with you? What was your experience?
5. Allen gives Tim Keller’s definition of “meaningful work” as “taking the raw materials we are given and assembling them in a way that causes other people to flourish.” What raw materials can you take in your life and make it flourish?
I love how Allen gives examples of everyday uses of raw materials. Mothers shaping children into people who will help others flourish. This statement warms my heart. Or a housekeeper taking chaos and creating order so other will flourish in the environment. This depiction of “meaningful work” is magical.
Chapter 7 – A Parable
Allen gives us the great parable of the running the race. She says that everyone is in the race but it’s important to know where you are in the race.
1. Are you “Numb?” If so, does this bible verse speak to you? “There is a time for everything . . . A time to search and a time to give up. . . a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Eccl. 3:1, 6-7). What is your experience with feeling numb?
2. Are you “Thirsty?” Are you longing for more? Are you begging for a clearer purpose than you currently feel? If you are “thirsty,” does this bible verse speak to you “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Eph. 4:1.
3. Are you “Running Free?” Have you moved through a season of feeling numb or satisfied and you’ve been restless and found more? Do you need the strength or renewal to persevere? If so, does this bible verse speak to you? “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith . . . so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb. 12:1-3.
4. Or are you “At the Starting Line?” Do you feel like you don’t really know God or have a personal relationship with him? Do you need to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?
I love how Allen breaks down the different places we could be. I am wondering if it is possible to be in more than one place at a time?
Part II: The Threads
Chapter 8 – The Process
1. What did you think of the formula for finding our raw materials?
God’s Story + my threads + the need + the Holy Spirit = my purpose OR
The story of God through Scripture + an understanding of myself and my resources + taking inventory of the need around me + the mystery of following the Holy Spirit’s leading = obediently living our purposes.
All I can say is WOW. Allen has broken it down. And now all we have to do is dig even deeper to understand ourselves, our resources, and the needs around us.
2. Have you gathered the resources Allen says are required for sorting out our “raw materials” — (1) Prayer? (2) People Who Know You? (3) Reflection? Have you been surprised when using either of the three resources?
3. Have you completed the “Looking Back” questions:
- When you anticipate dreaming, what are you afraid of?
- Do you feel discontent right now? How does that discontentment tie into a desire for purpose?
- Have your motives ever stopped you from doing something you wanted to do for God? What were those dreams?
- What do you most hope to get out of this process?
Allen has given us so much to think and pray about. How are you doing with all these questions and this process? Can you hear God’s whisper? We’d love to know your reflections on the questions for Chapter 6-8.
Wishing you hope and purpose,
Hope (a.k.a. Brooke)