A Guide to Finding and Applying Your God-Given Gifts

Author: Max Lucado

In Cure for the Common Life author Max Lucado makes a convincing argument that God has given us each something to do that calls to our unique strengths and desires. This work, contrary to popular belief, is not onerous, but joyful: a moment in life where our strengths and God’s glory all converge into one sweet spot. This sweet spot, working perfectly in our purpose, finding our calling as it were, may be revealed through a peppering of little moments, a grand calling, or a quiet life doing labor out of love.

The clues to this sweet spot and therefore our callings are, of course, imbedded within our own stories. Our moments of joy, our desires, the activities we find ourselves gravitating towards, and those blissful moments of life where challenge meets success, all lead towards a revelation of our unique, God given gifts. Lucado says we can use these moments through his S.T.O.R.Y method to identify what our sweet spot (or spots!) are and work towards a more meaningful, more fulfilled everyday life.

The S.T.O.R.Y method is deceptively simple in concept, yet harder in practice. The method focuses on looking into your past, identifying those sweet spot moments, and looking at your Strengths, the Topics that attract you, your Optimal conditions, the people (Relationships) that supported you, and how all these converge. Throughout the description of each letter in the method, Lucado brings his signature charm – an easy flowing, chatting over-the-coffee-cup-style and plenty of stories and examples. As always, he inspires even the most overworked and underappreciated, jaded reader. The Discovery Guide at the end of the book (a truly huge addition, not an afterthought) takes this S.T.O.R.Y routine and prompts readers to put pen to paper, tying action into idea.

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Lucado takes the sweet spot farther. It’s not just sufficient to find what your sweet spot(s) are, but to use them for the glory of God and (here’s the twist) realize that sweet spots are not always exceptionally grand things. Some of us are called, like William Wilberforce, to make sweeping world-wide changes for the good of humanity and glory of God; and some of us are called to just do the sweeping. The little, non-flashy, non-movie worthy moments of work are just as important, and these are the things that most people will find themselves called to perform. So, we should approach everything we do with the proper attitude.

This isn’t just a platitude. As always, Lucado brings thoughtful, real-world examples. Through his winning prose (how does the man always do it?), he makes us not only accept that our callings and sweet spots may not be Hollywood script ready, but he helps us find the happiness, the glory, and the MEANING behind the simple. Think of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.

The Cure for the Common Life is a simple book on the surface with a lot of wisdom and even more inspiration. I admit, I still am not sure what my calling is, or how my sweet spots (writing, reading, a plethora of super introverted hobbies) ties into God’s scheme, but Lucado’s advice is helping me watch and look for these sweet spot moments, think through the big and little things I do and how they bring glory to God, and start to evaluate my talents and how I am investing them for God. I can see myself coming back to this book again, learning and applying, recalibrating. I think this would be an exceptionally useful book for everyone: for those of us worn out by the seemingly mindless work of day to day living and for those just getting started on their Christian journey in the world. Another Lucado classic. Highly recommended.

– Frances Carden

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Frances Carden
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