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The Shopping Cart Method

Intro

Some people are so easily offended they miss all the good stuff. If you agree with everything someone says, you probably aren’t thinking accurately. On the other hand, if you dismiss everything someone else says, just because you don’t like one thing they said, then you may be missing some very valuable information. In this podcast I’m going to talk about the shopping cart method and getting the information you really need.

Ground Rules

As we get started, I’d like to set some ground rules. Throughout these podcasts I’ll reference some sources to back up what I say. Some of these will be statistics from relatively trustworthy sources, some will be from books written by business authors, some will be from books written by religious authors, and some will be from the Bible.

While I am trying to get you to think differently about your GIFT and how to use it, I am not trying to persuade you to belong to a certain political or religious affiliation. I bring this up because many people today are preconditioned to cringe whenever someone quotes from the Bible. To deny the fact that the Bible contains wisdom that has stood for thousands of years is to be intellectually dishonest, and besides, this is a faith-based Personal Development program.

When you’re getting personal development information, whether from a podcast, a video, a blog or a book, you might find some very good information and some not so good information. Some of it can be used right away and some of it you just aren’t ready for. Sometimes you’ll find the information to be absolutely brilliant, and sometimes it is outright wacky.

Shopping Cart Method

That’s why I recommend you use the “shopping cart method.” Let me explain:

When you go to the grocery store you probably get a shopping cart (a “buggy” if you live in the south) to make carrying your groceries easier. As you go down the aisles of the store, you put what you can use in your basket and leave what you don’t want or can’t use on the shelves. If the store carries something you don’t like you probably don’t leave the store in disgust, do you?

To be honest, my wife does all our grocery shopping, so I’m talking a little out of turn here. But if I did go to the grocery store it would be for either ice cream or pizza. The problem is that most of the grocery stores make you turn right as soon as you enter, and you have to go past all the produce first. To me that means three foods I hate the most—Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, and asparagus. Just the smell of any of them makes me gag.

Now if I went into the store with these “gag me” foods, and said all they have is stuff that makes me want to puke, and then stormed out, I would never get to the good stuff like pizza and ice cream. But I know a lot of people who do exactly that.

They never get the information they want or need, because they get stuck on the “gag me” stuff.

That’s why I recommend you use the shopping cart method. Take what you can use now and leave the rest. You can always come back and revisit the areas you don’t agree with or don’t like, or you can forget about them all together. It would be a shame to miss something that could really make a difference for you just because one part disagrees with you.

Before I go on, I need to interject another disclaimer. This blog is all about transformation, which means employing Your GIFT. I firmly believe that discovering and developing your GIFT is for everybody, but here’s the part some of you may never have thought of, and some of you may not like.

If you have received a GIFT, then there must be a GIFT Giver. You got your GIFT from somewhere!

I fully realize that some people may be offended by the mere mention of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.  If that is you, it is not my intention, or my GIFT, to persuade you otherwise. Someone, whether well intentioned or not, may have offended you by shoving religion in your face, disappointed you somehow, or outright hurt you regarding God. For that I am truly sorry, but again, I am not trying to get you to change your mind. However, I don’t hide the fact that this personal development information is faith-based.

On the other hand, many of you listening to this claim to believe in God and may even call yourself a Christian. For you, I am not, in any way, trying to persuade you to change your beliefs or alter them either. Again, that is not my GIFT.

So, whatever denomination you belong to, or if you have no denomination, this is for you.

So here we go.

We live in a time of revelation. Whether you call it the information age, or the cyber age, or any other term for this age, we have more information available to the average person today than at any time in history. Our access to the truth is unprecedented! Unfortunately, so is our access to lies, half-truths, and manipulation. It’s each person’s own responsibility to discern the real truth.

Regarding your GIFT, the age in which we live has tools available to help us discern the truth about ourselves. I’m going to refer to some of those tools, such as personality and strengths assessments, throughout this podcast.

The tools are there to help you discover things about yourself that you probably already suspected. They’re excellent confirmation to many and complete revelation to others. They’ll prove to be invaluable aids in discovering your GIFT.

Many companies and organizations use the same assessment tools I recommend, but for a different purpose. Rather than using them to help you discover the greatness inside you, they use the tools to determine if you’ll be a good fit for their organization and the position they want to fill. Rather than trying to help you excel, they use these assessments to weed out people that don’t fit their mold. When I speak of organizations, they could be a small business, a large corporation, a non-profit, a political organization, the government, the military, or even a church.

You would think that an organization would want you to know your GIFT so that it could be applied to their business. Sometimes, in great organizations, this is true.

But sadly, there are very few great organizations, which means they usually have no interest in you finding your GIFT.

On the other hand, some churches refuse to use these new tools because they say you should be able to get all you need from God directly. OK, I might agree with that, if you are one of the miniscule number of people that are completely tuned in to what the Holy Spirit has for you. Even if that’s you, you would have to admit that most people don’t fit into that category.

Then there are churches that do use assessments. They use them to figure out where you should volunteer to work in the church, even if you have no desire to do so.

My point is that the assessments I am going to recommend have been used by organizations for reasons other than helping you to discover your GIFT and employing it. So again, please use the shopping cart method, and, to use another cliché, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Back to organizations using assessments. When you discover your GIFT, you’ll also discover that you have value. However, from the perspective of many organizations, the revelation that you have value can undermine their ability to control you. Your realization that they need you more than you need them can be threatening to an organization.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution organizations have wanted to control people’s lives. They want you to need them. If they can make you feel you need them, then they can control how much money you make, how much tax you pay, your healthcare, how hard you work, which jobs are available, which promotions are available, the hours you work, and your vacation time. In a way, they even control where you live, what you eat, and your personal relationships. They do this by threatening to fire you if you don’t do things their way…and who wants to get fired? So, they coerce you by threatening your security.

Regaining control

BUT (don’t you just love buts), when you know your GIFT and your value, you can regain control over a large portion of your life. You become an independent thinker (as opposed to a dependent thinker; one dependent on some organization) and you can determine your own course. That’s why God gave you your GIFT. He is the GIFT Giver.

The Father gave you a GIFT so that you would have a unique way to succeed in life.

He wants you to come to Him for guidance on how to develop and use your GIFT so that you can have the full life He created you to live. He does not want you to be controlled by organizations that are only interested in power; power that’s derived from you, because without you they would have no power.

390 AD

The issue of organizations trying to control people is not new. All the way back as far as 390 AD, Christians’ ability to think for themselves was being manipulated by an organization, the Roman Empire. Rather than getting guidance from God they were forced to obey what the Empire and its church demanded. Here is what Bishop Ignatius of Laodicea said in 390:

“Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant, Christ is merely a historical figure, the Gospel is a dead letter, the Church is just an organization, authority is domination, mission is propaganda, liturgy is only nostalgia, and the work of Christians is slave labor. (kinda sounds like today)

But with the Holy Spirit, Christ is risen and present, the Gospel is a living force, the Church is a communion in the life of the Trinity, authority is a service that sets the people free, mission is Pentecost, the liturgy is memory and anticipation, and the labor of Christians is divinized.”

What Bishop Ignatius was saying is that the Holy Spirit was in the process of being replaced by an authoritative organization (in this case the organization was the Roman Empire, which was effectively both government and church).

Bishop Ignatius’ statement from 1,600 years ago is a revelation for today. Whenever your source of truth, power, and guidance is an organization, you can expect to be dominated and enslaved. 

BUT (see, another BUT), when your truth, power and guidance come from the Holy Spirit the result is freedom and greatness. The choice is yours. Your source of truth, power, and guidance is up to you. Since God gave you your GIFT, you may want to ask Him for help in developing and using it…that is, if you desire a great life of freedom.

I believe the personality and strengths assessments that only recently became available, are tools to help us discover the awesome GIFT He gave each of us.

As we move into future posts you’ll see how valuable these assessments can be in helping to find your true identity and your purpose.

Well, that’s it for this post.

Please stay tuned as we continue our journey of transformation into something awesome.