Spiritual Counseling and Vocational Identity Development
Individuals yearn to develop a deeper understanding of their role in this world (Proverbs 11:14). We live in a rich multicultural world within a diverse population filled with spiritually driven individuals whose values and inborn gifts are an essential part of their character. However, we often look through different lenses where our attention is less on embracing our uniqueness and nurturing respect for each other, and more about just surviving. This directly impacts the quality of our personal and professional relationships, which become strained.
We are taught to manage ourselves, our problems, and to be in control of every aspect of life. Formatively, this attempts to place ourselves at the center of our universe and pushes others outside of our lives. We may inadvertently subjugate our connection with God and find ourselves praying only in a time of need and then take control once again as things improve. In response to this, our Hope-Focused spiritual counseling focuses on guiding individuals through life stressors back to a life that holds meaning and reframes their worldview. Developmentally, when individuals focus on self-directed needs they may navigate pathways and lose their way. However, what they are truly looking for is a pathway of congruence or to restoration.
We believe that we were designed to connect with our loving God and develop an enduring spiritual relationship that has the power to help us stay the course, transfigure how we see ourselves and others through a new lens. Hope is found through living out life through a process of spiritual formation back to wholeness. This requires making a commitment to intentional change, tuning our hearts and minds through an implicit understanding that our role on this earth is to share our gifts with others. This new attitude offers newfound meaning and purpose to those we counsel.
We also believe that every human is blessed with a talented mind, has been designed for a purpose and that we are there to guide them on their journey to actualize their calling (Jeremiah 29:11). We use methods to awaken and evidence "how" we are to live and manifest the hope that ensues. It is a process of self-reflection, leading to self-clarity and transformation, to becoming the person we were intended us to become, to reshape our distorted lens, and to witness how change emerges from the inside out.
Vocational Identity Development We live in a world where “what” we do is often shaped by the expectations of others (Romans 12:2). This world attempts to mold our perspective of life (attitude), it fundamentally impacts "how" we feel about ourselves (emotions), and "how" we operate in life (behavior). However, we are also born with gifts that were designed not to hoarded, but rather shared with others.
Yet, one of the most common questions when meeting someone is:
"So...what do you do?" Whether we like it or not, we tend not to be defined by our passions or values, but instead by our job title. So, when we stop and think about it..."
*Do our career paths really engage our interests, passions and natural abilities or do we leave a part of ourselves back at home or at the office? Are we working towards meaningful and satisfying goals we've created or are we just 'in it for the money?'"
Identity Inquiry From a spiritual perspective, there are two fundamental questions we need to ask ourselves:
1. Is there purpose in “what” we do in life, where we are emotionally rewarded from life experiences that allow us to reflect our uniqueness while connecting with others? Isn't this "why" we were designed/created?
2. "What" gifts or competencies are we born with to support a pathway that has meaning and "how" may they be cultivated into a vocational skill sets so "what" we do truly matters?
So, ask yourself this:
What if you could refine this distorted lens that teaches each of us to model our behavior after others (old self), and adopt a new attitude that reveals that your gifts are blessings designed to serve others in both your personal and professional lives (Ephesians 4:22)?
What if you could begin to see the good in others and tune your heart by sharing your gifts making a contribution where you receive meaningful emotional rewards? This new behavior evokes the foundation of a new identity and your becoming a "new self” (Ephesians 4:24).
Developing your identity is often self-directed leaving an existential vacuum that needs to be filled. Finding your "true self" requires realignment. If you truly want to know who you are you need to look to the One who created you whose hope is that you look to Him for an enduring relationship. In that pursuit, you discover you are loved and accepted beyond comprehension. You are invited to be a part of something greater than yourself in a process that transforms a new way of thinking and living.
When you set aside your ambition and give of your “self,” then you begin to perceive how, “what” you do in life is driven by love. If you are faithful stewards of these gifts, then developing them so that they may be cultivated and shared with others manifests a new attitude, is emotionally rewarded by self-less giving, and that behavior is repeated because it just feels right (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Faith-> Trust-> Hope Faith or belief in your inherent talent also requires trusting where it originates from in order to foster hope (Manning, 2000). This approach to living connects these two dynamics to believe, which actualizes our trusting the purpose of our innate strengths. This newfound hope amplifies, empowers, and illuminates from darkness the understanding that these are blessings from above, designed to be used, not just for yourself, but for others in this world (Isaiah 9:2-7). In this way, you may leave our mark and impact others in "what" you do. There is a higher power that reveals that you are to be used as an instrument to pursue your calling and to fulfill greater things than you could ever imagine. This is what you are being called to do: to become vessels to do His work on earth. If you can "live into" this belief, then trust compels you to walk with this power as it is working within you from the inside out, transforming, and radiating its presence (Imago Dei) in all that you do. In this endeavor, you discover hope and authentic joy. Our Vocational Identity Process
We begin working with individuals using a subjective Narrative assessment to assist them in discerning “who” they are, "why" self-disclosed themes point to their God given identity and "what" character strengths and values are congruent with in their goal pursuits. We also use use a sophisticated objective abilities assessment that isolates and measures multiple intelligences (gifts) that we were born with, which represent our cognitive hard wiring that allows us to flourish. Integrating these two empowers individuals to distill “what” pathways hold meaning and “why”? This process illuminates "how” using their gifts will support them in divergent work roles in order to begin "living-out" "what" they were designed to become. Formatively, their vocational identity is attuned with their spiritual identity, creating a newfound understanding of the meaning of their goal pursuits.
We also work with churches, schools, and businesses to identify and fine tune their inborn abilities so they can thrive in their future work roles. Our Leadership Report focuses on "how" innate abilities naturally support mission driven goals that draw out the best in each individual so they can share their uniqueness in endeavors that truly matter. When God's creation can use their gifts in a way that effects meaningful change in the lives of others they begin to form a vocational identity.