There are three ingredients everyone needs to experience fulfillment long term. And you can share them with others at no cost. In fact, offering these three ingredients will benefit you as well.

A Missing Ingredient
Jennifer, a young pastor, was in her third year of ministry since graduating from seminary. But she already felt disillusioned with ministry. Her early optimism had crashed against the rocks of reality. Being single, she was not certain where or with whom she could express her doubts. Now this talented worship leader and youth pastor was ready to move on to something other than ministry. She had spent six years of college and seminary preparing. For what purpose? This is not what she had signed up for.

It did not take long to identify that the source of her disappointment was rooted in a missing ingredient everyone must have to experience fulfillment in serving. Gifts, talent, and enthusiasm can only take us so far as we run with patience the race that is before us. Jennifer was missing one of them in her ministry context.

The Three Ingredients
So what are these three necessary ingredients?

  1. Feeling valued for who we are as an individual. Not just valued for our performance, but for who we are.
  2. Feeling our contribution is valued. We want to count for something, to feel we have made a difference. Whether highly gifted or just average, we want to leave a mark on our world.
  3. Feeling our input and feedback is valued. We want to speak into our situations and relationships.

Jennifer’s Missing Ingredient
Jennifer felt valued as a person by her coworkers and those she served in the church. She also received a lot of positive feedback on her gifts and talent as a worship leader. Parents of youth told her how very much they appreciated her investment in their teens.

So what was the problem? There were several board members who consistently disregarded her input. They viewed her as young and naïve. “You should just trust us,” they would tell Jennifer. They wouldn’t even consider her input when she backed it up with sound research. Looking back on the situation, Jennifer’s input would have saved the church a lot of expense and heartache.

Jennifer did not necessary want to have her way. But she did want to be heard and considered.

What About You?
So how are you doing on the three ingredients?

  • Do you have people in your life who value you as a person?
  • Do you feel like your contribution is valued?
  • But most of all, do you feel you have a voice where your input and perspective is considered?

If your answer to one of these is “no” then something has to change or your vitality will decline. You may want to reconsider who you want to be the source of the ingredients. Maybe the person you want to receive them from does not have the capacity to provide them. Or maybe you need to find a context where they are available.

Are You Doing It?
Now let’s look in the mirror. What do other people experience from you?

  • Do they feel you value them as a person?
  • Do they feel you value their contributions?
  • But most of all, do they feel that you consider their input and feedback (even if you don’t like it)? This third ingredient is the window through which the first two can be measured.

When relationships are strained, ask yourself, “Am I providing these three ingredients to those around me?” Is there one of them that requires more intentionality on your part?

A Full Meal
Make sure you’re getting these three ingredients on a regular basis in your life, and make sure you’re dishing them out to others. It’s an important and often overlooked part of finding fulfillment.

By: Denny Howard
Denny Howard served as director of the Vitality Care Institute since 2001 providing a wide range of proactive and restorative coaching/counseling services for those who serve in people-influencing vocations, such as non-profit and ministry leaders.

He is a state licensed clinician in mental health, a marriage/family therapist and a certified addictions counselor. He is an ordained minister and a graduate of George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Denny was the host of a daily radio commentary called ‘Life Strategies’ for eight years and currently appears as a guest on a number of radio talk shows. He is also a featured speaker and conducts regular seminars on personality-based conflict, stress management, maintaining personal vitality and a wide range of interpersonal relationship issues.

Denny is also the creator of the Livstyle Visual Personality Assessments (www.Livstyle.com) designed for the workplace, ministry, marriage, and youth. Livstyle assessments are utilized for personal growth, team building and selecting prospective employees.

Denny is the Director of Counseling and Coaching for Full Strength Network.