Find Your Niche!

It’s not always easy to find what you are good at and what you enjoy doing, too! Our two oldest grandsons, Brady and Ben, have had the initial experience of declaring a major now that they have completed their application processes to enter college in the fall. Brady has chosen business and Ben is thinking he will do a double major in biology and art. I think it is predictable that they will likely refine their choices. It’s been my observation that many young college students change their majors within the first couple of years of college!

Image credit: picsgag.com

I am watching with prayers and great interest, as the middle-aged guys of our family (the dads of those same new college students) have already moved through a few chapters of change in their own professional careers. Advancements often feel like two or three slow steps forward and sometimes… one or two steps backwards! The increased responsibility and pay are rewarding, but the adjustments to change in the workplace can throttle back enthusiasm and those shifts often painfully feel like setbacks!

After my retirement in July of 2018, I began to describe my next chapter as a negotiation. On the profile page of this weekly blog I wrote, “Having spent over 45 years  in vocational ministry as a pastor and staff associate, I am now negotiating the life-chapter of retirement!” Unlike Moses, I did not ascend a mountain to receive God’s plan for my life on "two stone tablets!" Rather, during retirement, I have tried a few things and then decided to build my future on the same God-given spiritual gifts that have shaped my years of active ministry.

Dr. Reggie McNeal, one of my favorite authors, explained the negotiation process this way, “Your best shot at making your best contribution to the world is for you to get better at what you are already good at. You will get a life by building on your strengths. Focusing on improving or eliminating your weaknesses will never deliver to you the quality of life that practicing your strengths will.” (Get a Life! B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, p.95).

I have a spiritual gift mix that includes teaching, administration, and encouragement. Today, in the church where I’m a member, I teach a small online group on Tuesdays, serve on one of our major church committees, and find many opportunities to encourage, pray for and build others up in the faith. As you know, I also write a blog each week about faith, family, and leadership.

Additionally, I serve as a workplace chaplain. I visit the employees and residents of a local senior living facility and make calls to truckers who are employed by a national food distribution company. I frequently describe myself as retired (some would say, re-treaded!) pastor, active churchman, and doting grandparent!

Recently, I received a generous compliment from one of my dear friends who is also retired. Tom responds nearly every week to my articles with substantive comments that add great value to me personally and to my humble writing ministry. I appreciate him and others of you who take the time to read and reflect with a few sentences.

Here’s what Tom wrote about my article on appreciation. “Mike, you continue to find your niche, even in retirement and I appreciate the time you invest in doing it!” This was my response… “Thanks, Tom, for your gracious remarks and for this affirmation, 'You continue to find your niche.' Now, I can tell Monique what I’m up to each day while she’s teaching at school! Ha!”

Since Tom’s vocabulary is larger than mine, I had to look up the word “niche” to be reminded of its meaning and how to pronounce it! A niche (pronounced nĭCH or nēSH, for the more sophisticated!) means “a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.” I think that’s an apt description for what I’m striving to do. Simply… doing what’s comfortable, suitable, and fits my divine design!

Every day and in every way, I am trying to Serve by Design out of the spiritual gifts that God has endowed upon me through His Holy Spirit. Remember, your gift mix is not for you. Rather, the Holy Spirit equips you so that you may bless others! As God fulfills His will and purpose in this way, it brings personal happiness as well as glory to the Lord!

Join me on a quest to find that “sweet spot” of a serving niche! “Seek God’s will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take!” (Proverbs 3:6,NLT).

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Mike I think that you are able to connect with orther people. Thank you for your time and keep on sharing what God has laid on your heart. Hugs Jim Byron

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Uncle Billy Moments!

"Adding Value"

The Golden Jubilee!