Becoming Receptive

This past week, my daughter Trevi graduated from 5th grade. Have you noticed how many graduations kids have nowadays? We celebrate graduating pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary, Jr. High, High School, and College! At Trevi’s graduation the kids each won enough awards they could use these certificates as wallpaper and cover one of the walls in their room! One of the teachers pointed out that it is in middle school when you really start to become who you are going to be as an adult.

It’s in middle school and high school that we seem to struggle most with discovering who we are. We try so hard to fit in that we lose ourself trying to become like others. We take on the identity of our group, our clique. Growing up in the 80s, we had our popular jocks and cheerleaders, the band geeks, the choir and drama nerds, the new wavers who listened to the Cure, or the Ropers who wore Cowboy boots. All of us seemed to be so desperate to belong that we would try to become someone we weren’t.

But have we made much progress since junior high?

So often we pretend to be someone we aren’t and people still don’t like us! Think of how much time and energy we have wasted trying to please people who will never be pleased with us!

In our culture we seem to have an identity crisis. We lack clarity and purpose! Have you noticed this?

A couple of statistics for you:

The Gallup organization interviewed almost 2 million employees in over 100 companies in 63 countries. When asked this question: “At work do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” Only 20% said that “yes” at least at some point during the day they used their strengths. 80% said that they were never asked to do what they do best. As a result, 4 out of every 5 of us are more likely to hate our job, to leave our job, and if we stay, we aren’t as productive nor as enjoyable to others as we could be.

Another statistic from a different set of research shows that we don’t know what the priorities are for the company where we work. Before we judge our workplace, we should notice that only 6% of those surveyed even know their own priorities.

We have an intrinsic desire that drives us towards progress. We desire to become someone who matters. We long for purpose and meaning in life.

The dictionary defines “Becoming” as “any process of change.” According to the philosopher Aristotle, “becoming” is any change from the lower level of potentiality to the higher level of actuality

Have you discovered who you were created to be? Do you know your calling in life?

Lets do a quick assessment:

  • Do you ever feel unsure of what to do in life?
  • Are you wandering from job to job?
  • Do you ever have a sense of dissatisfaction with where you are and what you are doing?
  • Do you ever find yourself on a cycle you cannot seem to stop experiencing? For example, you overcome an addiction only to fall back into it? You lose weight only to gain it back?
  • In your life, do you seem to start things strong only for them to end badly?
  • Do you ever wish God would just tell you what to do?
  • Ever wonder what you are supposed to be when you grow up?

How amazing would it be if we could use this summer to make progress in becoming who we were created to be?

Is it even possible that in three short months we could change the trajectory of our entire lives?

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Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.