There is something about the New Year that causes us to make all kinds of resolutions and promises of betterment. It’s perhaps the allure of a ‘start over’ or ‘do better’ that the freshness of a New Year suggests; even though it’s a freshness we get everyday 😉
This year I decided to set quarterly goals for myself instead of waiting to evaluate my growth in November or December. The first quarter was for me to learn about me. I was quite intrigued to see what would play out at the end of March.
Back in February, God led me to best selling author, Rick Warren’s “What on Earth am I here for?” It was a 40 day journey of purpose. I was totally stoked. I gifted it to myself and wrote in it “To Jacqueline, From Jacqueline, 2/15/14. Two of my co-workers laughed at that, but hey, if I don’t invest in me who will?
It has been an absolute blessing, and I couldn’t help but share this day entitled: “Shaped for Serving God”
I think the reason this was beautiful to me is because it is often difficult to tell someone that an abusive childhood, a disability, the death of a child, a failed marriage, job loss etc will shape them into the person God intended them to be. But difficult as it may be, it’s true. Nothing that happens in our life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold us for ministry to others and shape us for our service to Him.
Here’s some of what it said about our SHAPE:
Spiritual Gifts – These are special God-empowered abilities for serving Him that are given only to believers. We can’t earn nor do we deserve them…hence them being gifts. Our gifts are not given for our own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as other people were given gifts for our benefit. If others don’t use their gifts, you get cheated, and if you don’t use your gifts, they get cheated. Have you taken the time to discover your spiritual gifts? An unopened gift is worthless (and I believe, an insult to the giver).
Heart – Your heart represents the source of all your motivations…what you love to do and what you care about most. Another word for heart is passion. How do you know when you are serving God from your heart? The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you are doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you or challenge you or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. The second characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness. Whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection.
Abilities – Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with. Some people have a natural ability with words:They came out of the womb talking! Other people have natural athletic abilities, excelling in physical coordination. Still others are good at mathematics or music or mechanics. Every ability can be used for God’s glory. God has a place in his church where your specialties can shine and you can make a difference. It’s up to you to find that place. What I am able to do, God wants me to do. God will never ask you to dedicate your life to a task you have no talent for.
Personality – Your uniqueness is a scientific fact of life. When God made you he broke the mold. There never has been, and never will be, anybody exactly like you. It’s obvious that God loves variety…just look around! God made introverts and extroverts. Some who love routine and those who love variety. Some ‘thinkers’ and others ‘feelers’. 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. This is why mimicking someone else’s ministry never works. You don’t have their personality. You can learn from the examples of others, but you must filter what you learn through your own shape. It feels good to do what God made you to do.
Experiences – You have been shaped by your experiences in life, most of which were beyond your control. It’s the category of ‘painful experiences’ that God uses the most to prepare you for ministry. God never wastes hurt! The very experience that you have resented or 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. For God to use your painful experiences, you must be willing to share them. Doing this will probably be your most effective ministry. People are always more encouraged when we share how God’s grace helped us in weakness than when we brag about our strengths. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.”
This was the lesson for Day 30 and it was a joy to read this. But let me share what has blessed me the most on this journey: the first sentence of Day 1. This is what it said “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.”
Ha, so very true. We ALL have unique SHAPEs, but it’s NOT about US! It’s all about GOD.
Enjoy your SHAPE and use what God gave you 🙂