Seeing as how there is only one of you, no one else exactly like you, if you do not play the role God planned for you, your unique contribution will not ever be made. The planet will have lost out. People will not benefit in the way that you can benefit them. We are supposed to use our gifts. Find them – figure them out and use them. I am making a list (if you haven’t noticed, I’m a big list-maker. I’m senile, ok. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget. I’m scatter-brained, unfocused and very attention deficit.) of those things I love doing (that’s column 1) and I’m making a list of those things I’m good at doing (column 2). Just because we love something does not mean that is our gift. I love to sing, but, honestly, cannot carry a tune in a bucket. That doesn’t stop me from singing, nor loving it. It’s just not my gift.
“In the last chapter, we looked at the first two of these: your spiritual gifts and your heart. Now we will look at the rest of your SHAPE for serving God.”
“SHAPE: Applying Your Abilities” –
“Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with.” You may think you have nothing to offer. That is an impossibility. “You have dozens, probably hundreds, of untapped, unrecognized, and unused abilities that are lying dormant inside you. Many studies have revealed that the average person possesses from 500 to 700 different skills and abilities–far more than you realize.”
I have someone in my life, very close to me, who believes she does not have any gifts or talents. I can think of several, just off the top of my head: she is talented at gardening–growing things (flowers, trees, vegetables), planting, cooking, baking, candy-making, creative and artistic ability–designing her own picture frames and art pieces with dried flowers inside pieces of glass, sharing her feelings and her heart, silliness, laughter, humor, beauty, patience, forgiving, loving, sewing, parenting, friendship, and those are just off the top of my head. I know she has tons more! She could be using all of these gifts for the glory of God and for the church and for the benefit of many. She doesn’t realize how much she has to offer. There is no one like her in the world and no one can perform the way she can. Two people might have the same gift, but they use it in different ways that is unique to them. They have their own way about things and that’s a good thing. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if everyone had the same gifts and used them in exactly the same way? “What I’m able to do, God wants me to do.”
Peter said, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.”
“SHAPE: Using Your Personality” –
“Your uniqueness is a scientific fact of life. When God made you, he broke the mold.” Just as your thumbprint, heartbeat pattern, and DNA are unique to only you, so is your personality. No one that will ever live on this planet is exactly like you. You are special, whether you care to realize that, or not. God made you that way. “Your personality will affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts and abilities.”
This last paragraph on Page 283 made me realize something about myself. Mr. Warren explains how woodworkers know to work with the grain rather than against it. “In the same way, when you are forced to minister in a manner that is “out of character” for your temperament, it creates tension and discomfort, requires extra effort and energy, and produces less than the best results.” He goes on to explain that “there are many books and tools that can help you understand your personality so you can determine how to use it for God.”
So, my fear of public speaking, for example? Or maybe I should rephrase: My fear of speaking in front of a group of adults is there for a reason? Actually, even as a child, I remember breaking out in hives, the nausea, stomach cramps, butterflies, sweaty palms, shaky voice, red face, hyperventilation and hysteria that came over me when I had to speak in front of a class. The difference is, now, that I can speak in front of a class Hallie’s age or younger and feel completely comfortable doing it, even with the teacher there. I can talk to them for 2 hours about anything I know and answer all their questions. Such as, on Veteran’s Day, I’ve gone to speak with her class throughout the years, to explain what it means to be a veteran, explain the various tasks I performed while in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, where I went while I served, what it was like. But I cannot, for the life of me, speak in front of a group of adults. Perhaps it is not meant for me to do that? It’s conflicting. Do I face my fear and try to do it? Or do I reconcile myself to believe it’s not in my comfort zone, so it’s not meant to be? If we fear it so much, are we not to do it? What are your thoughts on this? Any idea you would like to share would be greatly appreciated and valuable.
“SHAPE: Employing Your Experience” –
I totally get this part on Page 284. All of our experiences in our life, most of which were beyond our control, have been used by God to mold us, to shape us. “In determining your shape for serving God, you should examine at least six kinds of experiences from your past (and it may help you to answer those questions listed after each one, on Page 284): Family experiences, Educational experiences, Vocational experiences, Spiritual experiences, Ministry experiences, Painful experiences.
“It is this last category, painful experiences, that God uses the most to prepare you for ministry. God never wastes a hurt! In fact, your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt.” The Bible says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
“The very experiences that you have resented and regretted most in life–the ones you’ve wanted to hide and forget–are the experiences God wants to use to help others. They are your ministry!”
“Paul understood this truth, so he was honest about his bouts with depression.” I spent my entire life being depressed. I come from a long line of depression, on both sides of my family. I know that I can use it to relate to others and help others. I know that, even medication, can help, if you find the right one. I’ve tried different kinds and haven’t found one that works for me, so I don’t take anything, but I feel so happy (and a little jealous) for those who do find what works for them, and many do find what works. “If Paul had kept his experience of doubt and depression a secret, millions of people would never have benefitted from it. Only shared experiences can help others.” Aldous Huxley said, “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.” I love that! “What will you do with what you’ve been through? Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.” This is very healing for you when you do this. I speak from experience. Sharing is healing.
Will you share your heart with someone today? Will you try to relate to someone who’s experiencing something you’ve already been through? How can you help them? Try it. See what happens. Sometimes it just helps to hear from someone else who has experienced the same thing. It helps them to realize they are not alone in this. Make any sense? Or am I just babbling? I tend to do that a lot – babble, but my heart is in it. I’m a heart babbler. 😉
Have a most auspicious Wednesday – a wacky, silly Wednesday – make it a great one! How will you make God smile today? This is a great question to ask yourself every morning and find ways during your day to make it happen. Take action. You can have a better life. Please let me know if this book has helped you. Let me know if this book has helped you relate to God any better than you did before. If you wish for me not to post your comments, just say so, and it will stay just between you and me – forever! *cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye* 😉
Love you! *hug*