With wonder and anticipation, my eyes beheld cases of soap products brought into the house by my father.

This vast variety of cleaning supplies exceeded my wildest expectation; there was a product for every type of sanitation needed.

As I took a mental inventory, my heart was stirred with excitement as I envisioned selling all of those products door to door. My father facilitated this opportunity through the food retailer where he worked. I had previously sold strawberries from a roadside card table with my sister. However, this would be my first real job.

As a 13-year-old boy, my zealousness was unbridled. I had a burning desire to sell my products from a specially crafted suitcase, and offer the best cleaning supplies available on the market. I rehearsed my sales presentation in front of the bathroom mirror. I took note of my facial expression and tone of voice. I was ready to hit the neighborhood and sell truckloads of my material.

My father brought me up listening to great sales professionals, and motivational gurus. I had listened to Charles “Tremendous” Jones so many times on record that I could quote much of his presentation. Zig Zeigler had me believing that through positive thinking and diligent preparation, one could not fail. I even recall Reverend Ike, who was famous for saying, “You can’t lose with the stuff I use!”

Yes indeed, MY moment had come, and the door of opportunity had opened for me.

On a bright summer morning, the day had come to launch my business. As I stepped out of the house the odor of flowers radiated throughout the neighborhood, as the dew glistened off freshly cut grass. My spirit was soaring! It was going to be a great day!

I began knocking doors. Many people were surprised to see a young man with a suitcase standing before them. I greeted them with a smile, and began my presentation. My greatest priority was to be invited into the home where I could make a product presentation. I realized I had to be persuasive. In retrospect, I believe that out of curiosity, and courtesy, several folks invited me into their living room. However, by using my samples, I was able to demonstrate the proficiency of my product.

Not every door brought a cheerful welcome. There were doors slammed in my face; people who demanded to see my sales license, and those who would cuss me out. Did I mention mean dogs? The confidence that I had would, at times, be shaken through a series of negative interactions. While I was successful in selling a lot of product, I learned I had to be prepared for the worst. Not everyone was a buyer nor would be dazzled by my presentation.

I am a strong believer in the providence of God, and His design for our lives.

Each of us has a unique fingerprint, and DNA. As a result of being created in the image of God, we have our own personalized design. We must seek out our attributes, gifting, and talents. God has equipped you for the ultimate purpose of your life. It is exhilarating to discover that God has a personal plan for us in this world. He has created us to fulfill a mission.

Accordingly, it is imperative for us to fulfill our purpose through developing our talents. Without it, a person will live a life of frustration, depression, and failure. You are not fulfilling your distinct purpose in life; you are not who you were created to be!

I can clearly see the hand of God in my development. The season of selling soap products door to door honed many distinct qualities in my inner being. I was being prepared for public speaking. I was being trained to experience rejection, persecution and confrontation. I was trained to prepare a presentation, persuasion and answering objections. I was being trained to face the unknown, and be courageous. I experienced success in the endeavor I had worked so hard to accomplish. I confess, these were great lessons for a 13-year-old to glean.

Through introspection, I encourage you to evaluate God’s personal design for your life. Are you cognizant of your distinct talents? Are you honing your gifts? Are you yielding to the unique plan that God has for your life? Are you following the path that God has before you?

Life is an adventure for those chasing the purpose God has providentially chosen. Seek it! Chase it! Experience it! Fulfill it!

Have a great journey, and remember, God loves YOU!

Reach Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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