Your Blueprint for Life gives the strategies readers need to align their passions, gifts, and calling.
As CEO of the Blueprint for Life ministry, Michael Kendrick is devoted to helping others discover God’s purpose for their lives. Your Blueprint for Life guides readers toward a Christ-honoring life—one that brings joy spiritually, financially, relationally, physically, and professionally. With practical guidance for discovering passion, gifts, and callings, Your Blueprint for Life gives readers concrete strategies for achieving the life they were created to lead, such as:
- Intentionally carve out a specific time each day to hear from God
- Prune your relational portfolio
- Step into your children’s world
- Remember you are a steward of God’s resources, not an owner of your resources
For anyone who has ever wondered why they were put on earth, Your Blueprint for Life not only answers the question, but it also gives readers a solid guide to understanding and achieving God’s vision for their lives.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
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Your Blueprint for Life
How to Align Your Passion, Gifts, and Calling with Eternity in Mind
By Michael Kendrick
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Kendrick Capital Management, Inc.
All rights reserved.
YOUR BLUEPRINT FOR LIFE
Have you noticed that everyone longs to be more than they are? The desire to succeed, to make one's mark on the world, and to live a life that counts is like a burning flame God placed in the human heart.
Maybe this desire to be more and do something meaningful with our lives is why we love movies like The Lord of the Rings, Apollo 13, and Braveheart, as well as the Bible stories of Paul, Joseph, and Esther. These messages speak to something deep inside us that tells us we were created to make a difference, not just float through life then die without making a mark.
I'll bet you want to do something significant with your life too. You want to leave a legacy and make a difference for God. You want your life to count.
Ever since I was small, I have experienced this burning just described. At times it has burned red hot; other times it has been less obvious—but I have always felt it, and it has shown up in my desire to be anything but normal.
For me, "normal" has always been defined as a status-quo, boring, insignificant, and unfulfilled life—and that's definitely not what I wanted.
Maybe I wanted to avoid the status quo of ordinary at all costs because I grew up on a farm outside the normal, small southern town of Enterprise, Alabama. Maybe it was because my parents worked nine to five for the government throughout their careers. By the time I reached high school, my determination to make a mark on the world grew when I wasn't even a mention in my high school yearbook.
After high school graduation, I decided I would try to avoid a status-quo life and that I would make my mark on the world by enrolling in the aerospace engineering program at Auburn University. I chose aerospace engineering because I'd always enjoyed math, and I figured rockets were the fastest way to get wherever I was going.
With my degree in hand, I quickly landed a job with Pratt & Whitney aircraft in West Palm Beach, Florida. Imagine the response when I told people my new job was developing the most advanced military aircraft in the world.
My fear of being ordinary made itself obvious on my first day on the job. I wouldn't say the division where I reported was a cubicle farm, but something about it reeked of predictability. In my mind, it represented the kind of normalcy I had vowed to escape.
As I looked across the office, I could practically mark out the years in cubicles. My cube represented year one—entry level. Eleven feet away, my boss's cube represented the twenty-year mark. And seventeen feet beyond that, my boss's boss sat at the thirty-year mark.
The rest of my life was to be a twenty-eight-foot journey from a small cubicle to a medium one to a large one. No matter how hard I worked or how much I accomplished, I would never go any farther in life than twenty-eight feet. It felt almost morbid. And it was more than I could bear.
This fear of normalcy burning deep in my soul led me to quit my job (much to my parents' chagrin) and eventually led me on an exciting career path in business. And then one day—because God had blessed me financially—I was able to stop working thirty years before my expected retirement date. I was thrilled! I could sleep in whenever I wanted, golf anytime, and occasionally sit by the swimming pool. What could be better? There didn't seem to be anything normal about that!
I also thought God had financially prospered me so I could serve Him in full-time ministry. So I spent a substantial amount of time every week volunteering for worthy causes. I served at a large church in Atlanta as a cameraman. I volunteered at a nationwide pro-life organization with a mission to save unborn children, and I feverishly helped a national political organization to elect Christian candidates to office.
I thought these ways of serving God would give me the satisfaction I was seeking and would satisfy the burning. I assumed that having more free time, managing my own schedule, and being financially independent would cause my happiness quotient to soar off the charts.
But it didn't. I was completely miserable.
After twelve long months of dreading each day, I decided to go back into business. I obtained my license as a registered investment advisor and became an investment banker. Thankfully, my anxiety disappeared and was replaced with passion. I was so thrilled about doing business again that I didn't even mind waking up at three or four in the morning so I could talk with overseas European investors. That decision to reengage in business turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
Don't get me wrong. I love Christ, and He is the reason for everything I do, which is why I wondered why I was so miserable in ministry but felt fulfilled and alive in business.
When I discovered why, I finally understood how to experience true satisfaction and fulfillment and satisfy the burning in my heart. I finally understood why God created me! I also learned how to align my passions, gifts, and calling with eternity in mind.
When I learned through Scripture that God will reward us in heaven for how we steward our lives on the earth, my joy skyrocketed. My life took on even more meaning because I began to make the connection between using my gifts and talents for Christ and making an impact on heaven. This new understanding led me to launch multiple organizations, including Blueprint for Life, which is dedicated to helping others live with purpose in light of eternity—and it's why I am writing this book.
Maybe you feel unfulfilled as I did and have a burning desire to be more than you are. Let me encourage you. You can experience fulfillment. You can live with purpose. And you can answer the questions, "Why am I here?" and "Why do I exist?" You can satisfy your burning to make a mark and live for Christ. You just need a blueprint for your life.
What's in a Blueprint?
Maybe you have heard the term blueprint in reference to a photographic print, usually on white paper, that shows the details of an architectural plan. Recently, these traditional blueprints have been replaced by more modern, less-expensive digital images. Regardless of how they are created, a blueprint shows the builder how to build the house.
When my wife and I built our home, our architect presented us with a set of blueprints that showed how our new house would be designed. It showed the bedrooms, how high the walls would be, and where my man cave for watching football games would be located.
In the upcoming pages, I will help you create a blueprint too. Not for your new house, but for your entire life. This powerful life plan will show you what God the Architect had in mind when He designed you. It will also show you how to align your passions, gifts, and calling with eternity in mind and support all three through five important life areas: spiritual, relational, physical, financial, and career—what I call the Big Five. Not only that, but you'll discover how you can experience fulfillment now, not just after you meet Christ face-to-face.
By developing your personal Blueprint for Life, you will also be able to:
Identify your gifts and passions to fulfill your calling
Develop a spiritual plan for maximum intimacy with Christ
Leverage and manage your finances and earthly assets to make a difference now and for eternity
Choose and develop a career path to support—rather than take away from—your calling
Develop an intentional plan to nurture and support your most important relationships
Maximize your physical health to give you the stamina you need to fulfill your calling
Here are a few other main points about your Blueprint for Life.
It will help you live intentionally.
Imagine that it's a sunny Saturday afternoon in June. You have a few free hours so you decide to go rafting a couple of miles from your home. You call your best buddy and invite him to join you. Within the hour he knocks on your front door. You take him to the garage and he helps you pack what you need for your excursion: the raft, two life jackets, bottled water, sunscreen, a couple of towels, and your sack lunches. After everything is loaded in your truck, your friend looks around and asks, "Where are the paddles?"
"Oh, we're not taking any," you respond. "We don't need them. We are just going to let the river take us wherever."
Your friend raises an eyebrow, stares at you, and gives you an "Are-you-crazy?" look. Everyone knows that no one goes rafting without paddles. You need them for guidance. Without them, you'll end up stuck in some trees along the river, or sucked into a current, and you'll definitely miss your destination.
It's tragic that a lot of people float the river of life without any "paddles." They don't have a plan. The river of life takes them wherever it wills; they live without intention. As a result, they often feel like their existence is pointless. If you feel as though you are floating down the river of life without intention, your Blueprint for Life will help you change that so you can live with purpose.
I already mentioned that many people live unsatisfied lives. But have you ever truly considered why? Other than not living out their calling, like I wasn't when I was sitting by the pool, there is something deeper than that.
It's the hole in your soul—and everyone alive has one.
This is the longing that may sometimes make you feel as though you are incomplete and that God made a mistake when He knit you together in your mother's womb, but He didn't. Instead, He strategically placed this void inside you as a gift. This is what I call the "hole in your soul."
Perhaps if God chose to speak to you about this, He would say:
I know there are times you feel frustrated with your life. I subjected My creation to frustration in hope that it would find Me (Rom. 8:19–21). If you were self-sufficient, if you didn't have an ache, a longing for something more, why would you ever seek Me? This hole in your soul is My gift to you. It's My way of drawing you to Myself and inviting you to participate in My plans. After sin entered the garden, I was so deeply grieved that I had to find a way to draw you back to Myself, to make you want Me and My will, so I subjected mankind to frustration, to a feeling of being incomplete. I know it can hurt, but when you allow it to push you to seek Me, and you seek Me with all your heart, then you will find Me (Jer. 29:13)—and you will experience joy.
Some people allow the hole in their soul to push them to false loves, idols of the heart, like sex, drugs, or prestige. But it's only when they allow their dissatisfaction to push them to Me that they can find the highest level of satisfaction possible in this life. Will you allow the hole in your soul to drive you into My arms and into My plan for you?
You can live a purposeful, joy-filled existence, not in spite of the hole in your soul, but because of it. And developing your Blueprint for Life will help fill that hole.
It will help you leverage your passions, gifts, and calling with eternity in mind.
One day your body or "earth suit" will give out and you will slip out of it like a pair of pajamas. The breath of God in you will return to God and you will meet your Maker. Paul said, "So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6).
You will meet the One who created the majestic Rocky Mountains, babies, dogs, and butterflies—and you. And in that moment, the opportunities you had to make a difference for Christ and use your passions, gifts, and calling for Him will be gone, never to be recovered. Your moments will be swallowed up in time.
That may not seem like a big deal because the earth and all its troubles will be a distant memory. After all, if you are a Christian, you will slide into eternity in bliss and nothing that you did on earth will matter in heaven anyway, right? Wrong. If you are in Christ, true, your sins have been forgiven and your punishment has been paid for, but everything good you did on the earth will matter in a big way in heaven. This is why it matters how you steward your life.
In his book A Life God Rewards, Bruce Wilkinson wrote,
Have you ever sat, eyes glued to the television watching the Olympic awards ceremony with tears streaming down your cheeks? I have. There is something about the scene that pulls at a person's heart.
Your favorite athlete climbs the steps of the awards platform, her national anthem fills the stadium, her nation's flag waves in the spotlight. Her years of sweat and self-denial have paid off. She has finished her race. And she has won. Now, as thousands applaud, an Olympic official drapes a medal around her neck.
One day you and I will have our own rewards ceremony in eternity. The halls of heaven will ring with praise and celebration. Witnesses from every nation and every generation will watch with eager anticipation. Even angels will pause.
When your time on earth is over, if you are a Christ follower, it will be your turn to stand on the platform to receive your rewards for what you have done on the earth—including how you have used your passions, gifts, and calling for God. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." When I wake each morning and walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth, I see a little motivational quote next to the sink that reminds me that I don't have long to make an impact for Jesus. It says, "Every Second Counts." I try to remember to ask myself the question: What will I do today that will matter in eternity?
Because everything you do on the earth will matter in heaven, it's important to live intentionally with eternity in mind. Your Blueprint for Life will help you do that very thing.
It will help align your life with God's plans.
Have you noticed that moms tell their kids the things that are important? "Johnny, make sure you brush your teeth!" "Megan, don't run across the street!" "Samuel, be nice to that boy." Just like a good parent, God doesn't tell His kids what's important to Him without good reason. He tells them so they can participate in His plans. He wants them to do His will. He tells us love is His priority so we will be loving. He tells us money management is important so we will become good money managers. He tells us it's important to put Him first so we love Him above all else.
In the upcoming pages, you'll discover what's important to God so that you can participate in His plans by leveraging your passions, gifts, and calling for Him. Then you won't be floating down the river of life without making a difference in ways that truly matter. Instead, you can be a true success.
The good news is that God has equipped you to participate in what He cares about. When you know what God cares about, and you can identify your passions, gifts, and calling through your Blueprint for Life, you will have a better idea of how God wants to use you in His plans for the world.
Three Big Risks
I am so convicted about helping you live a fulfilled life and make an impact for Christ that it's necessary to share a few things that are at risk if you don't pursue your Blueprint for Life.
You will sacrifice joy for happiness.
Maybe it doesn't sound bad to trade joy for happiness, but happiness isn't consistent; it comes and goes. You can experience it only when things are going well—and even then, it doesn't stick around. As soon as the initial excitement wears off, you'll need another shot of something good to bring happiness back. It's not fulfilling in the long run.
Thankfully, the joy that comes from developing your Blueprint for Life and pursuing your calling doesn't work that way. The joy God gives isn't dampened by gloomy weather or a bad economy, and it doesn't fade after the novelty is gone. It transcends life's circumstances. Joy is rooted in a deep sense of knowing who you belong to and that you are walking in His will. When you participate in His plans for your passions, gifts, and calling, you will find there is no greater joy because you will be partnering with the Creator of the universe. What could be more meaningful or bring more joy?
Excerpted from Your Blueprint for Life by Michael Kendrick. Copyright © 2015 Kendrick Capital Management, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Your Blueprint for life 1
Chapter 2 Why Am I Here? 15
Chapter 3 Your Unique Calling 29
Chapter 4 Before You Take Your First Steps 43
Chapter 5 To Infinity and Beyond 59
Chapter 6 Building Belief 75
Chapter 7 The Big Five 91
Chapter 8 Your Spiritual Strategy 105
Chapter 9 Your Relational Strategy 123
Chapter 10 Your Physical Strategy 149
Chapter 11 Your Financial Strategy 173
Chapter 12 Your Career Strategy 195
Chapter 13 A View from the Porch Swing 207
Abouth the Author 229