Friday, April 5, 2013

The Purpose Driven Life - Day 31

Day 31 - Understanding Your Shape

Yesterday we looked at the first two elements of the SHAPE, which God formed us in; Spiritual Gifts and Heart. Today we will be continuing with the remaining three elements; Abilities, Personality and Experiences.

We have looked at our God-given abilities before, whether you are good at math, writing, designing, speaking, you are to use your abilities to serve the Lord, as well as contribute to the Body of Christ through His church. 

As each of us are unique - each of us possess a special combination of traits, which if we neglect to use to contribute to the Body of Christ - nobody else would be able to do so - and that, which was meant for us to do - would not be done.

My favorite quote of the day speaks to personality: "There is no 'right' or 'wrong' temperament for ministry. We need all kinds of personalities to balance the church and give it flavor. The world would be a very boring place if we were all plain vanilla. Fortunately, people come in more than thirty-one flavors!"

This is really self explanatory. Some people are introverts - some are extravert's, some prefer to work alone - some are better in teams ... some are comfortable with public speaking ... some are better working in solitude behind a keyboard ... it takes all kinds of people to make the church run smoothly. There is a place for each and every type of person in God's work. If God did not have a place for your unique personality - no matter how 'special' you may be ... He would not have created you with it!  Remember that your role was intended before you were born ... it is up to each of us to find where we can best apply our gifts in service to others. But make no mistake - there IS a place for each of us.

We know that God allows circumstances in our life to occur in order to help develop our character, but events in our life are also allowed to take place to give us experience. We are meant to use our experiences to not only heed the lessons taught by God, but also to share the lessons, along with God's mercy and strength, with those who are going through the same situations now.  

  • Family Experiences: What did you learn growing up in your family?
  • Educational Experiences: What were your favorite subjects in school?
  • Vocational Experiences: What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoyed most?
  • Spiritual Experiences: What have been your most meaningful times with God?
  • Ministry Experiences: How have you served God in the past?
  • Painful Experiences: What problems, hurts, thorns, and trials have you learned from?

Pastor Rick teaches that God never wastes a hurt, and so it is through our painful experiences that we are molded for ministry. The best person to help you in a time of pain is someone who has been through it before. Whether it is domestic abuse, the loss of a loved one, an illness, losing a home to a fire or natural disaster, whatever the situation is,, when you are going through what may be the worst time of your life to that point - the last thing you want to do is have to explain it to someone ... you want to be surrounded by people who 'get it' - people who have been where you are - people who have come out the other end of the crisis and can show you the way through the pain and struggle.  People who can share with you the strength and love of God when they were at their lowest.  The sad truth is that some people will turn away from the Lord when they are hurting - they want someone to blame. They want to blame God for allowing such unbearable pain or loss into their lives ... they need to be supported in this time, they need council, understanding, love ... and they need to be reminded that God has never left their side. 

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."

Pastor Rick quotes Novelist Aldous Huxley; " Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you." He then reminds us to not waste our pain, but instead, use it to help others. Just as God does not waste a hurt - nor should we. 

You will be most effective when you use your Spiritual Gifts and Abilities in the area of your Heart's desire, and in a way that best expresses your Personality and Experiences

In other words - examine your Experiences, and then look at your Abilities and Spiritual Gifts, consider what your Heart's desires or passions are - factor in your Personality - and you will know how and where you can best serve the Lord in your Church and community. 

How will you use Your SHAPE?

"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. - 1 Peter 4:10 (LB)