What happens if I fail to fulfill my purpose in life? Dormant potential which exerts no impact on the world falls short of a fulfilling life, but does not seem to risk much.
In his book, Overcoming Your Shadow Mission, John Ortberg suggests a more disturbing result occurs when we miss our destiny. Rather than lying dormant, unfulfilled potential takes off in an alternative direction.
Not only can I miss my purpose, but I can also pursue the wrong goals. Some incorrect goals seem innocuous. Become an accountant. Live in the suburbs. Volunteer with the elderly. Fine pursuits, unless I’m called to rescue children from human trafficking or build an inner-city program for teens. Though a misdirection might have noble elements, it damages my potential to bless the world by fulfilling my destiny.
If a bridge fails to bring people to the intended destination, it leaves people stranded. Many suffer from unfulfilled purpose–the one who misses their destiny, the stranded people in need, and the recipients of the wrong mission’s effects.
Ortberg shares how to identify a “shadow mission” and avoid falling prey to its temptations. He explains the parallel nature of the diversions we choose instead of our destiny, and why they often seem fine on the surface.
At a hundred twelve pages, Overcoming Your Shadow Mission is a quick read packed with profound truths. Though out of print, it’s worth searching for a copy (see Amazon’s options). Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments about how this week’s recommended read spoke to you.