Thursday, March 18, 2010

Footprints on our hearts

I recently read a new book on leadership entitled Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft published by Crossway Books. Kraft writes about sitting with one of his daughters in the office of her high school counselor. They were discussing an issue concerning his daughter. On the wall behind the counselor was a collage that stole his attention. There were dozens of pictures of the counselor's students at football games, school outings, proms, etc. Right in the middle of it all was a quote -

Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Others stay awhile, and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.

Kraft lost track of the conversation and lost track of time. He was mesmerized by the quote. He prayed under his breath, "Lord, make me a person who leaves footprints in people's lives. I don't want to be a person who comes and goes with no lasting impact. May I be a person who intentionally and lastingly influences others."

At short time before this experience Kraft had been asked by his supervisor in Stockholm, Sweden, "So, if you could do anything, what would you want to do?" Kraft could not give him an answer. He was thirty-eight years old and had served on the staff of The Navigators for ten years. He was experiencing a lack of motivation, uncertainty, and no clear joy or direction in his ministry assignment in Sweden.

This led to Kraft getting away for a few days to pray, fast, and think things through. He hid away for three days to wrestle in prayer. He took a Bible, a legal pad, a couple of books, and most importantly, a strong sense of determine not to come back until he had some sense of direction.

He developed a list of things he should be doing that truly expressed who God had made him to be. Eventually he and his family left Sweden and returned to the United States. Over time a strong sense of purpose began to emerge. The crowning moment occurred when he read the quote mentioned above on his old high school campus.

Kraft is now seventy years old. A short time after visiting the office of his daughter's counselor he wrote down his life purpose statement -

To leave footprints in the hearts of God-hungry leaders who multiply.

Kraft discovered his life purpose - "I was designed to be in the leadership development business. I mentor, coach, and invest in the next generation of leaders. That is my purpose, my unique contribution to the body of Christ and the kingdom of God. I want to leave footprints in the lives of people - not just any person, but leaders and influencers who are hungry for God."

Hm mm. What is my life purpose statement? What is yours?

Kraft suggests a few steps to help us along the road to identifying our purpose -
  1. Record Bible passages God has applied to your life.
  2. Reflect on how God has used you in the past.
  3. Determine what you are passionate about.
  4. List your known gifts and strengths.
  5. Delineate what you have excelled at in your work experience.
  6. Define what action words best describe what you like to do.
  7. Write down what you enjoy doing in your free time.
  8. Reread all your answers.
  9. Take notes of common themes.
  10. Write down key words or ideas that repeat.
  11. Summarize those key words in a short, energizing statement about yourself.
May God graciously lead us down the road of living our lives with powerful purpose!

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