Helping Young People Find Purpose

How did an idealistic, high-achieving teen with dreams of changing the world and developing her talents become a discouraged and confused young adult “lost” in a search  for a career to make her happy? The answer is complicated, but for me, it had something to do with an inability to connect aspirations with practical reality. 

Stanford professor William Damion studied why some young adults “fail to launch” and why others thrive in life and career. He found that the key difference between young people who were thriving and whose who were floundering was whether or not they had found a purpose* in life.

Interviews with young people  ages 12-22 for the Youth Purpose Study revealed four groups of people: the disengaged,the dabblers, the dreamers, and the purposeful. ( I was a dabbler and dreamer.) Damion’s book The Path to Purpose describes characteristics of each group and profiles young people in the “purposeful” category.  He then identifies the steps youth with purpose take to achieve a path of purpose. They are as follows (page 96-97 of the book): 

  • Inspiring communication with persons outside the immediate family 
  • Observation of purposeful people at work 
  • First moment of revelation:  something important in the world can be corrected or improved
  • Second moment of revelation: I can contribute something myself and make a difference
  • Identification of purpose, along with initial attempts to accomplish something
  • Support from immediate family
  • Expanded efforts to pursue one’s purpose in original and consequential ways
  • Acquiring the skills needed for this pursuit
  • Increased practical effectiveness
  • Enhanced optimism and self-confidence
  • Long-term commitment to purpose
  • Transfer of the skills and character strengths gained in pursuit of one purpose to other areas of life. 

Damon gives practical advice for parents who want to help their children develop purpose based on the importance of the above. I’ve listed his advice for parents below. The book explains in detail what each of these suggestions looks like. I hope you find them useful. 

  • Listen closely for then spark, then fan the flame
  • Take advantage fo regular opportunities to open a dialogue
  • Be open-minded and supportive of the sparks of interest expressed
  • Convey your own sense of purpose and the meaning you derive from your work 
  • Impart wisdom about the practicalities in life
  • Introduce children to potential mentors
  • Nurture a positive outlook
  • Instill in children a feeling of agency, linked to responsibility

I will add a few more: 

  • Help your child develop meaningful friendships and relationships with people who can help them navigate life. Be a person your child wants to talk to and ask advice from. 
  • Tell them how you have overcome failures to meet a long-term goal and model resilience after making making mistakes.

Questions for Discussion: 

Do you live with purpose? If not, what do you think you lack? How can you help a young person find purpose?


I entered university wanting to “work internationally”, “help the poor and disadvantaged”, or “maybe wok for a non-profit. After graduating with an English degree and living overseas, I returned broke and shocked to the reality that I still had no idea how to find a real job and support myself. I concluded that my dreams were foolish and the idealism was what was wrong with me. I just needed to pick something and stick to it. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied doing so. What if I was able to be equipped with the practical knowledge of what it looked like to “work internationally” ? What if I had been connected to people who worked in non-profits so I could better understood what it actually involved? What if I had a mentor who could help me work out the practicalities of doing work that i enjoyed? What if we could equip young people with intelligent hope?

This quote from Path to Purpose pretty much says it all: “The problem is that many young people are not receiving guidance that respects their deepest purposes while at the same time providing them with constructive practical advice. Too often what they hear from important adults in their lives are dire warnings and crafty strategies for beating the competition. When this happens, young people are not learning realistic ways to pursue their purposes; rather, they are learning that the purposes themselves are unrealistic, without being shown any alternative that could inspire them. We can do better than this.”

I realize now that I had tried to figure out my life for the large part on my own. I thought I was the only one who could help myself.  While this is true in many ways, it was not until I began sharing my and processing struggles authentically with friends, in prayer groups, and in community, and hearing the stories of others and receiving their empathy and encouragement that I began to have breakthroughs. Writing this blog, sharing it with others, and receiving feedback from readers is part of this process as well. I am still developing in purpose and moving through those steps to achieve purpose mentioned above.


* In his book Path To Purpose the word purpose is defined as “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and consequential for the world beyond self.”  

Damon, W. (2008) The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find their Calling in Life. New York: The Free Press

Redefining Success

My wilderness journey has taught me to redefine success. I have learned that success is defined in a numerous ways.  The more I think about it, the more ways I can think of defining success, and most of them are unrelated to career. 

Then: Success is having a meaningful career and its financial rewards. 

Some Ways I Define Success Now:

  • Success is having a meaningful career.
  • Success is financial security.
  • Success is knowing, loving, and being faithful to God.
  • Success is fully being who I was divinely created to be.
  • Success is enjoying good relationships.
  • Success is belonging.
  • Success is helping others in need.
  • Success is making it to my son’s track meet.
  • Success is helping my daughter with her math homework.
  • Success is forgiving my husband.
  • Success is creating a warm and nurturing home.
  • Success is encouraging a discouraged friend.
  • Success is driving my kids to school on time.
  • Success is organizing a playdate for kids who need to socialize.
  • Success is not procrastinating.
  • Success is driving kids to school on time.
  • Success is making a healthy dinner.
  • Success is folding laundry.
  • Success is having laundry.
  • Success is finding my glasses or keys.
  • Success is helping my friend find a rental property.
  • Success is connecting people with each other.
  • Success is forgiveness.
  • Success is having integrity.
  • Success is saying yes to beauty and nature.
  • Success is not overworking and turning off the computer.
  • Success is having a thankful and peaceful heart.
  • Success is celebrating my success instead of criticizing what’s wrong.
  • Success is finishing this blog even though it has taken three years to write.
  • Success is multi-faceted and has infinite measures.
  • Success is transformation.
  • Success is knowing I am blessed.

The charts below show how my experiences and values are changing in relation to career, identity, and self-worth. I am moving away from the left and toward the right. It has been an arduous journey of healing, and the growing continues into other areas of my life.


If you or someone you love is on the left side of the first chart, I hope this blog gives you comfort and encouragement that there is a way out. While the left side of the second chart may not always be possible, the right side is always possible. In the next post I will share some ideas on how parents might help their children find not a perfect career, but purpose and direction in their lives.

How Do You Define Success?

In my twenties and thirties, and into my forties,  I defined success in terms of career achievement and the financial security therein.   Each time a career goal did not work out, the more focused I’d become on finding the right one. The more I failed, the more determined I became that if I just had a  career, my life would be good, I’d finally be okay. Getting what I lacked became my single focus. 

This tenacity was admirable, but it blinded me to other measures, truer measures, of success.  

If asked how I defined success, I would have provided more noble answers—raising my children well, serving God and others, being the best version of myself.  But my actions, obsessions, depression betrayed reality. If I defined success by more than career and its financial benefits, why did each failure come with such loss of well-being and identity?  Why did not having a career make me feel like a piece of discarded trash?

The answer is simple. Since I defined success only in terms of career, failing at career meant I was a failure.

Questions for Discussion: 

How do you define success? Are you certain?

Miracle Mindshift

How did I go from not feeling myself when telling people I was a real estate agent to feeling good, excited even, about being one?

It happened in a moment during an Enneagram class I was taking.

The Enneagram is a geometric figure with nine points that maps out nine personality types and their relationships with each other. Each personality type is distinguished by distinct motivations, gifts, blindspots and challenges and the “number” of each personality type looks at life through its own stance or “lens”. (See the link above for details.) What I appreciate most about the Enneagram is that it points each number to paths of health and wholeness.

As a “four” I seek to be genuine and unique I delve deep into my emotional life and tend to feel something is wrong with me. I am sensitive to my feelings. I am always on an unending quest for identity. (Thus the blog.) And I need to be creative.

I realized during class when someone was describing the creativity of “fours” that if I recreated myself as a business owner as opposed to just a realtor, I could change my perception of my work. I could shift from being misfit realtor who does not fit the stereotype of “smooth talking business lady making deals” to woman who grows her business serving others with her resources of knowledge and relationships. As a realtor, I can create my own business, my own role, my own schedule, and choose my path of professional development.

In a couple days, I am joining a new brokerage that’s a better fit for my personality and that has a vision I share. I’m resetting myself as business owner, not just a real estate agent. I will also be using my skills to help my parents with their properties. So what I’m learning will be practical and meaningful. I will be part of a larger team and can learn from the other realtors. There are weekly trainings and speakers. I like learning. I have a new logo. I have new plans. I feel great.


The shift in my my mindset was so much more than just a shift in how I saw myself as a realtor. After almost thirty years of searching and dissatisfaction with my career, I finally feel good about my work. I have started my own business and hope to use my skills to provide trusted support to my friends and family who need help with real estate. I also hold a lecturer position at Cal State Long Beach where I can use my Stanford degrees to mentor future educators. ( I had a similar A-ha moment several months ago when I realized that I could create my own role as an educator also. I used to feel so incompetent compared to my colleagues with 30+ years of experience until I realized my strength is counseling and encouragement.) I get to walk along teachers and support them as they transition into their teaching careers. It is so satisfying. It does not pay bills, but hopefully my real estate work will. I am still able to pick up my kids from school and drive them to their activities. I don’t know if my business will take off. I may find I don’t have enough time to juggle two very different jobs and my family. I may have few clients. I may completely flop. I may need to find something else. I am open to other possibilities. I am not afraid of failure. Failure will open new opportunities. I can recreate myself again. I am not holding onto anything too tightly, because I already have more than I need. My job title does not define me. I am simply doing the best with what I have. I am at finally at peace.


A reader and and dear friend of mine wrote the following text to me after reading this post. She said I could share it with you all:

I have definitely been in positions where my “title” of my job rubbed me the wrong way, or the job itself was a poor fit. Many times, I questioned the same things that you did. It’s funny, but maybe because we have been friends for so long…we have so many of the same exact character traits. I feel I am also artistic, creative, and love connections with people. Cultivating relationships definitely makes me super happy. I find that letting a job or a title define you is a dangerous trap. I was recently taking David Lynch’s MasterClass and he said that being an artist requires you to find long uninterrupted periods of time to create your art. Do your work. He delivered prescription meds for a pharmacy for years until he had enough money (along with his dad) to create his own studio.

Many times, people forget that your job doesn’t define you. You define You. And that’s where you take the power back. I felt so helpless in positions I hated. I was and “international scheduler”, seriously that was my official title at Fox Studios, and it didn’t begin to really fit what I did. I was more of a post-production supervisor or producer, but it was not the title I got. I was a “Catalog Planner” at Disney, again seriously un-sexy people created these monikers, and I didn’t like that description even though I love logistics and planning. I saw it as a means to an end though. I wanted to save enough money to launch my own independent film production business and literary management company.

I found that some roadblocks in personal development that needed addressing though. I wouldn’t get my to-do list done for months. I would self-sabotage projects by just running around town doing anything and everything except the task at hand. My company shuttered in a little over 2 years. So now, I am the CEO of my own digital health and wellness business, and I adore that. I am improving those habits and negative self-limiting beliefs and behaviors daily. I wouldn’t call it easy, but it’s absolutely worth it. I love helping others get healthy and wealthy.

My dreams and goals are still the same. I want to run my own Indie Film biz, and I am making it all happen with this business I run now. Your story will resonate with many people. So may people don’t love their jobs, don’t love the “lot they have in life”or their current job title, and I hope they read your article and remember that they hold the reins to their future. I loved reading your post, please keep it up! Take good care!

Me, a Real Estate Agent?

Two questions I often hear:

What do you do for work? I’m a teacher educator ( most people don’t know what this means) and I am real estate agent. Well, you know, I just do it part-time. I’ve done a handful of deals for friends, I am still pretty new at it.

You’re a realtor, right? Yes. Awkward silence.

When I would be asked these question, I would feel opaque and disconnected. Yes, I was a realtor meaning I passed the exam and joined the National Association of Realtors. I worked on deals. I listed and sold a few homes and helped some friends buy one. But I didn’t feel like a realtor and the title never fit. You’re a writer. Yes! You’re a mom. Yes! You’re a professor. Yes! But …You’re a real estate agent or realtor? Umm. Ye-es. I mean yes. (I guess.)

I am not pushy and I am not salesy. I am not motivated primarily by money. No, actually, this isn’t true. The reason I work in real estate is because it’s means to make money. I don’t like to promote myself or brag. I don’t pretend to know what I know little about. I am not all about numbers, financing, and analysis. These are sometimes qualities of agents I have worked with.

But this is what I am: I am creative, caring, and hard-working. I develop relationships and enjoy connecting people with each other. I hustle to get work done in ways nobody sees. I take time to do my research. I enjoying making over broken, worn-out homes so they look better. I am curious and modest. I am artistic. I am sensitive and a good listener. I am intuitive and empathetic. I want to impact my community. I want to help others succeed.

Are these the qualities you think of when you think of the term real estate agent of realtor?


I struggled for a long time with whether or not to quit real estate because it simply wasn’t “me”. My qualities seemed to fit those of a counselor or artist, but not a realtor. But recently I had a discovery: I realized that since I am a very creative person, I need work that allows me to constantly expand and develop my role into something unique and meaningful. This is why the term “real estate agent” didn’t sit well with me. Instead of simply seeing myself (or not seeing myself) as a real estate agent, what if I saw myself as a business owner? Having a business is personalized, and I could develop it creatively. I could grow relationships with clients and professionals in the field, and I could individualize the way I cared for my clients. I could create marketing and a mission statement, and I could specialize and grow my knowledge. I could expand or change the business. I could create my own role.

So….Am I a real estate agent? I have a real estate license and I own a real estate business. I support and help clients meet their goals when buying or selling homes. I listen to my clients’ needs and help them decide what’s best for them. I walk with them during the process of navigating whether or not to buy or sell property and use my knowledge and experience to serve the community.

This discovery about my need for creativity in my career is a real game changer. In the next blog I will describe how I came to this discovery and a tool that may the helpful for you.

Questions for Discussion: Have you ever felt like you were a poor fit for a job? How can you personalize your job so it fits you? How might you be able to transition into work that fits you better, while drawing on your knowledge and experience?

I Found A Job !

Actually, it found me. 

I received an email from an old friend of my husband’s that I had recently met while participating in a social science research study at UCI. She was a Professor in Education at Cal State Long Beach and we had similar interests in culture, Mandarin, and education. My husband had lost touch with her for over a decade and recognized her immediately when picking me up from the study. 

My husband’s friend asked if I was interested in supervising pre-service Mandarin teachers doing their teaching practicums. The teaching credential program at Cal State Long Beatch  had supervisors in World Languages, but no one who could speak Chinese. I had always wanted to work with university students and I could draw upon my Mandarin, my teaching experience and graduate training. I was very interested. 

Due to a communication error or a clerical  mistake on my part, I had arrived an hour late for the interview. Not a good start. When describing my background in second language teaching and learning, I mentioned a professor who had  deeply impacted me as a credential student at UCI. The coordinator who interviewed me told me that me that the professor I had just mentioned was a close friend, mentor, and colleague of hers, and that she had recently passed away. I was saddened by the news and did not know what to say.  Before I could respond, she offered me the job. I accepted!



It was a part-time position and just made a tiny dent in paying the bills, but I knew this was a perfect fit for me. I still hold this position and really do enjoy it.  I have the opportunity to encourage and counsel students and use my analytical skills when it comes to evaluations. It is rewarding to support future teaches who will be impacting the future generation. 

There were so many serendipitous events that lead to my finding this job. If I hadn’t noticed and responded to a small slip of paper on a table at my Moms’ group one Friday morning asking to volunteers to participate in at research project at UCI, I wouldn’t have met my husband’s friend who referred me to the position at Cal State Long Beach. If my husband hadn’t picked me up at the moment he did, he would not have run into his old friend and we would not have exchanged phone numbers. If I hadn’t mentioned the former professor who I had trained under at UCI, I may not have made a good enough impression since I was an hour late to the interview. Finally, luck was on my side.

Questions for Thought or Discussion: 

Have you ever found a job just because you were at the right place at the right time or because you knew somebody or somebody knew you? What is your job hunting strategy?

My job is rewarding, but I need additional work to make ends meet. What are some trade-offs that you might have to juggle when it comes to work?

Stay-At-Home Mom Catapults into a Job Search

When my kids were 10 and 7,  I went on my first job interview in ten years. My husband was laid off from what he thought would be his forever until retirement job at Hewlett Packard, and we suddenly faced the prospect of his severance package running out, living off savings, and if he didn’t find a new job soon, selling our house. Needless to say, I no longer had the luxury of analyzing potential  new career directions and obsessing over possibilities.  As stressful as it was, in some ways, the single goal of finding a job, any job, was a welcome break from the constant wondering, wondering, wondering “what work can I do now that my kids have started school?”

I opened my laptop and started applying for jobs. I cast a wide net and applied to anything that I was qualified for.

Within a week or so I had an interview with Concordia University for a position supporting international students. Since I had hosted a large number of international student in my home over the years, I thought I was a great fit. It was a great feeling. For the first time in a long time, I interviewed for a job that I really wanted. I could have my own office. I could counsel and advise people. I was perfect for this position! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job.

Next, I had an interview with Northwood High School. It was an administrative position and the hours aligned with my kids’ schedule. I put great effort into my interview attire, wore the most uncomfortable pointy pumps, and waxed enthusiastic about my passion for teens and education, even though I was not very excited about the job. I got to the third round of interviews, and thankfully, was not chosen.

About the same time, I took and passed the real estate license exam. Real estate had always seemed like something with flexible hours that could be fairly lucrative. So I asked a friend of mine who was a broker if he could take me on. He said yes, and within weeks I was helping him work on some leases. I began by tidying up a little condo and making it look presentable for showings. The money I made was an intern’s pay, but at least it was a start.

It didn’t matter if the job was a right fit anymore. I just needed an income, and that, for the time being, was enough.

Identity Breakthrough

I was at the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler. My sister had invited Moses (about seven) and I to spend a ski weekend with her and my brother-in-law. They reserved for the two of us a spacious, well-appointed suite with a  phenomenal view. While my sister and Moses hit the slopes, I stayed back in the hotel recovering from a recent injury.

I was luxuriating in a fancy ski resort far above my social class and Moses was enjoying the spoils of being my sister’s only nephew. Inevitably, I  lapsed into feeling terrible:  Why does my sister always have to pay for me to stay at nice places? If I had a career I could pay my own way.  I wouldn’t be a burden. It wouldn’t have to be this way.

It was morning, so I decided to start my day with some strengthening exercises in front of the fireplace while listening to a podcast by Tim Keller about “counterfeit gods”. He said something along the lines of  counterfeit gods being good things in our lives that we turn into gods that drive us and eventually crush us.  You know something is a counterfeit god if you kill yourself trying to attain it and if you feel you cannot live if you don’t have it.  Such gods  are counterfeit because they cannot deliver on what they promise and insidiously suck the life out of us.

I was familiar with the teaching, but this time it sank in. Had I had made having a stable career or finding a career direction into a counterfeit god? I thought that having a secure career or at least figuring out a career path for myself would save me. It was the one thing that I needed to be happy and content.  But because I was not successful in attainting a career, my not having a career was killing me. I could not live with myself.    I would not experience peace in my life until I attained one.

Keller continued  (I hope I am not misquoting this since I cannot remember which podcast it was and have not been able to relocate it) that as Christians,  if we insist that we need anything more than God,  then we are throwing the blood of Christ back onto Christ and telling Jesus that He is not enough for us.  The words shocked me.

No, I declared. I don’t want to do that. I am sorry.  Jesus, you are enough for me.

I saw a a wall of mosaic tiles in front of me.  It was the size and shape of a wide doorway.  The tiles were made of multi-textured gray squares; granite, concrete, or glass, or some such mixture of materials.  Immediately, the mosaic wall lost all support and fell row by row, clatter upon clatter, into a pile at my feet.

It was a breakthrough. I was getting free.


Reflections:   For most of my life,  I had based my identity on achievements, or not having them. I was a failure if I hadn’t attained a goal, and my self-worth was directly related to what I was able to achieve. If I were finally able to achieve YXZ , then finally, I’d be somebody. Tim Keller explains that identity, in modern American culture, is achieved. Identity is achieved when we discover who we are and what we want and achieve our dreams. According to a Christian gospel, however, identity is received, not achieved. It is a gift.  “And so you can only say, whether you are religious or traditional or even a modern agnostic or secular person, you basically, your identity works like this, because I perform, because I obey, because I followed the rules, because I’ve achieved, then I could feel good about myself. I obey, therefore I’m accepted, but the Christian gospel is the only system in the world of thought that gives you a radically and totally different identity than what the secular world would give you, what any other religion would give you, what traditional cultures would give you. Because Christianity says your identity received not achieved. Every other systems says, if you follow the rules, if you compete, if you perform, then you’re accepted. Christianity says no, I’m accepted in Jesus Christ, therefore I perform.” (From transcript of Identity That Can Handle Either Success or Failure.)

Religious doctrine aside, our worth as humans has nothing to do with achievements, status, or wealth.  All humans are inherently valuable and worthy of love, no matter their beliefs and behaviors. How many of us actually  believe this?

I am still searching for more satisfaction in my career,  but it is no longer something that has me in its grip.  I may never find a career that I love that allows me to make a stable, secure income. If I do, that would be fantastic, but if not, what I have now is more than enough.

Question for Discussion: What is your identity formation process? What do you base your identity on?



Transforming Treasure

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

The worst part for me of not having a career while raising two young children was wishing I had a job so we had more money.  If I were working, we could afford childcare. I wouldn’t have such a strict budget, we could go out to eat more often and I wouldn’t have to cook all the time. I could enroll my children in a Montessori preschool and perhaps even private school. My kids could take whatever lessons they wanted. We could save for college.

When my kids were about four and seven, I joined a Moms’ ministry small group class called Fully Alive. In this class we together explored what it meant to live a life “fully alive.” One of the first themes we discussed was the word treasure. To treasure something was to fill one’s heart with the beauty and value of something. We talked about what we treasured and that even loss could be transformed into treasure.

To get to know each other in the group, we each shared a photo of our family. While looking at my photo and thinking about how I was going to introduce my husband and kids, my thoughts went back to wishing I had a career and the benefits of having more money. My son who never asked for anything wanted to learn to play golf. What else would he ask for in the future that I could not afford? My turn was next and I shared some adjectives to describe my husband and kids. And then suddenly, in the brief pause it took to gather my thoughts, a revelation hit me. Tears welled in my eyes as I blurted out, “My kids have everything.”

My kids had loving parents, a warm and nurturing home, family that adored them. I had friendships, a spiritual heritage, a wonderful family, a home in a nice neighborhood, more than enough. I had been treasuring an elusive career and the money it would provide when I was already rich in treasures that money couldn’t buy.


Questions for Discussion: What do you treasure? What are your treasures? What would you like them to be?

More Inner Weeding

gloved weed

I was hoping that healing prayer would help me get “unstuck” so I could more freely move in the direction of finding the right career.   As I mentioned in my last post, I made an appointment at my church for healing prayer because I was hoping to find answers, but realized at the end of the first session that what I really needed  was healing. A second prayer session revealed something even more significant. I learned  that I had been speaking lies to myself, and by doing so, had been cursing myself for years.  It was the lies and cursing that was killing me,  that brought me  despair, not the lack of meaningful career. 

A curse is defined as “a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.” A passage in the Bible reads “The  tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat of its fruit. ”  Words we say have power. Words spoken by parents are powerful because parents have spiritual authority over their children. The power of the spoken word also applies to words spoken to ourselves. As Christians, the words we declare to ourselves have spiritual authority because we have spiritual authority in Christ. Fortunately, the person who says the curse also has the power to retract it and cancel its power. 

During the prayer session, I learned how to renounce the lies I had been speaking to myself.

Here are some of the lies: 

You are a failure.
You are trash.
You should’ve made better choices.
You should’ve been able to make better choices.
You should’ve known better.
You went to Stanford, but now look at you. What a waste of your parents’ money.
You had a chance to be successful, but you messed up.
You were too idealistic, now look at you.
You are such a coward. You went into teaching even though you didn’t like it from the beginning.
You keep repeating the same mistake. You are like a dog returning to its vomit.
You are never going to make money. You are always going to be scraping by.
You will never find work that you enjoy.
No matter what you do, you won’t be able to figure it out.
You should’ve figured out what you wanted to do before kids. Now look at you.
It’s too late to be the person you want to be.

After I renounced the lies and curses, I started to replace the lies with the truth. This is a process and I have to do it often.  

Lie:     You are a failure.
Truth:  I have failed at some things, but I  have also been successful at some things. Despite my mistakes, “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” Psalm 16:6     

Lie: You are trash.
Truth: My worth is not based on my achievements. 

Lie:    You should’ve made better choices.
Truth: I’ve made some good choices and some bad ones. I’ve learned form the bad ones. 

Lie: You should’ve been able to make better choices.
Truth: I did the best you could. I are making better choices now. 

Lie: You should’ve known better.
Truth: I am growing in wisdom. The Holy Spirit counsels me. 

Lie: You went to Stanford, but now look at you. What a waste of your parents’ money.
Truth:   I learned to write at Stanford and that unlocked world for me. I am thankful for  their investment. My degree has opened doors for me. 

Lie:        You had a chance to be successful, but you messed up.
Truth:    God is not limited by my choices. And we know that in all things God  works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28

 Lie:       You were too idealistic, now look at you.
Truth:   “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

Lie:        You are such a coward. You went into teaching even though you knew it wasn’t a right match during your credential program. 
Truth:     I am growing in faith and confidence. I changed lives as a teacher. 

Lie:        You keep repeating the same mistake. You are like a dog returning to its vomit.
Truth:   God’s mercies are new every morning.

Lie:       You are never going to make money. You are always going to be scraping by. Truth:  God has richly provided for all our needs. My children are not spoiled and have learned to be frugal. I am rich in experiences and relationships, in non-material things. 

Lie:      You will never find work that you enjoy.
Truth:   I enjoy many things in my life. I enjoy ballet class, nature, my kids, friends. Life is more than work. I enjoy my current job supervising student teachers. I enjoy  helping my clients with mini makeovers. I enjoy my independence as a realtor.  My work is constantly evolving. 

 Lie:    No matter what you do, you won’t be able to figure it out.
Truth: I am making progress. 

Lie:    You should’ve figured out what you wanted to do before kids. Now look at you.
Truth:  I tried my best. New adventures await me. 

Lie:     It’s too late to start a new career
Truth:  It is never too late to reinvent yourself. 

Lie:     It’s too late to be the person you want to be
Truth:  I am growing each day in many areas of my life. I am redefining success. 

The lies and curses were not erased immediately. They’ve been weakened over time, and I continue to fight against them. Amazingly,  a deeper understanding of the truth statements began developing over the next several years in remarkable ways. New truths continue to emerge.  I look forward to sharing my discoveries. 


Questions for Discussion:  Can you relate to the power of life and death in words? What words have been spoken over you?  What words do you  regularly speak to yourself?  How can you speak words of life to those you love?

 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death
I Give You Authority by Charles Kraft

Here is a general script of what I prayed to renounce these lies: 
I renounce the curse spoken to me by (name of person( who said, “_________.” I now cancel and break this curse in Jesus’ name and I choose not to kive under the influence of this curse any longer.   Lord, thank you for setting me free and removing the curses spoke by (name of person). I choose not to hold any resentment or bitterness towards them any longer and I bless (name) in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Ed Salas 2011)

 2 Corinthians 10:4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.