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 🙂
Tags: experiences, God, hurt, life, love, pain, passion, purpose, Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, shape
make the journey light…
For the past two weeks or so I have been preparing for a session called ‘Junk in the Trunk’. The trunk; where most of us keep junk. Our sweaty gym clothes and shoes, various papers to be sorted ‘later’. Items that were on the back seat, but placed in the trunk so someone could have a seat. The trunk, that unless it is intentionally opened, no one sees in it. Perhaps only visited when a suitcase or two need to go back there.
The trunk of our lives are no different. Junk piles up. Anger and rejection, hurts from past relationships to be sorted out ‘later’, grief that was once on the back seat, but placed in the ‘trunk’ because someone else needed us. Truth be told we might be afraid to open it for fear of everything falling out. Praying that we will find those who will love us in spite of the junk in our trunk.
Anyway, I came across this and wanted to share:
“Know when things are dead, know when to release them and bury them. No amount of work will resuscitate a corpse. Sign the death certificate and bury the past. Some issues must be reckoned dead. It is neither weak nor cowardly to walk away from the past. Leaving behind dead issues does not mean you are quitting; it means you are conserving your strength for things that count, things you can change, things you can control. Somethings you just need to lay to rest. Have the wisdom to know what is dead and have the courage to write it off…”
Some of us are holding on to thoughts, hurts, things and people even when we know God has said to let go. We are stuck on the possibilites; the ifs, woulds, coulds and shoulds. Put them to rest. Lighten the load, empty the trunk. Make room for a spare tire and blanket; perhaps even for more junk we’re sure to collect along this thing called life 😉
Tags: bury, dead, God, life, purpose, rest
my Pastor and I
Something has been happening. The church notes for my most recent posts disappeared when I went to write the post. I was frustrated but I refused to be deterred and I wrote them from memory. I saved them the same way I usually do on the same iPad I am typing on right now and they disappeared. The enemy is trying to silence this and I will not be moved.
Today’s message was liberating and I wanted to share. I saved it at least 10 times 🙂 This post is just a spin off from the introduction. I am someone who thrives on information. I like to be given the information and then have the opportunity to make an informed decision. As a result, I don’t believe in forcing God on anyone, but as long as people have ‘information’ then they will be accountable for their own ‘informed’ choices.
There is much debate and studies in psychology on nature vs nurture; the things that are innate in us vs the things that are learned. My Pastor, yesterday, shed light on this in a way that was very interesting to me. It takes both nature and nurture for us to get to our purpose in God. Some of us didn’t have parents who recognized the ‘purpose’ that God had in mind for us so they didn’t nurture that in us; the leader in us, the writer in us, the pastor in us, the teacher in us etc. As a result some of us struggle as adults with our calling and our design because we weren’t nurtured to see ourselves as good; just the way God made us.
my parents and I
young me 🙂
Even now, as I reflect, I see my ‘purpose’ playing out in what I had a proclivity for as a child. I am a Pastor and a Teacher. As a child I always liked school (still do), never wanted to miss it, I loved to learn. I believe good teachers are first good students. I was always a champion for the underdog and despise, to this day, to see someone taken advantage of. I love to help, protect and encourage. I was always the child wanting to bring some stray animal home. Anyway…
To the PARENT…..
Know the child/children you are raising. Seek God for the best strategy for each child. No matter how frustrated, stressed out and angry we get, we cannot say vile things that ‘kill’ the promise in our children. Some of us have very gifted children who are exposed to much more technology than we were ever exposed to. Bringing homework home and we have no idea what the correct answer is. Challenging us to step our own game up to better parent them.
Our children might be getting in trouble because we are not channeling their energy in the direction that fits what’s innate in them. Sometimes we mold them into what works for and is convenient to us. And they confirm, but are they truly happy? Or are they just pleasing us? Sometimes the truth is hard to hear from them.
- baby girl 🙂
My own child had an episode this week where she did something that her dad and I told her not to do; for the third time! She got her punishment, but God said to me that she needs more structure. He told me that I needed to be more structured myself (time and schedule) before I am able to give it to her. I need to do a better job of juggling husband, child, ministry, work, friends and the dog!
To the ADULT….
As adults we can each reflect on our own upbringing and determine whether someone truly nurtured us. Some of us had parents and family members who filled in and helped us be who we are today. Some of us did not have anyone. And we only made it because of the grace of God. I have come across so many people who were abused and neglected, had the most vile things said and done to them from those who were supposed to be trust worthy. Those young and old, who don’t want to live. Who give themselves to anyone, turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the ever present pain, trade dysfunctional relationship for dysfunctional relationship because it is familiar, who are very angry inside, and simply see no other way out.
There is a WAY….
God is our rescuer...and I know that some of us are angry at Him because of what happened to us. But He still is the rescuer. He is the reason we are still here, not dead, not in a mental institution; still alive and sharing our story even if we are still stumbling through it. But God doesn’t just rescue us, just to rescue us….He rescues us so that we can rescue others!!
We have to stop being depressed about our design, circumstance and history, because God is up to something!! Don’t quit before you see what God is up to. Our design might have taken us down some dark roads…but we have to trust the One that made us.
We have to stop blaming others…and take accountability for our own choices. When we make the choice to be accountable, God will hook us up with the people who will lead us (and nurture) us in the direction that He wants us to go. Be ready!!
my ace bud…who pushes me
Depression and low self esteem are two things that are rampant in our society and especially in our young people….who might not feel as if they had a fair start in this game called life. But if I can pass anything on, it’s this, we have to play to WIN with the hand we’re dealt. With God we win every time!
Please pass the encouragement on….it might make the difference in someone’s choice 🙂
Question – who nurtured the purpose in you?
Tags: adult, child, depression, God, life, love, nature, nurture, parent, suicide