Day Thirty One - Understanding Your Shape
Today Rick Warren continues the discussion about my SHAPE. Yesterday he discussed Spiritual Gifts and Heart and today discusses Abilities, Personality and Experiences.
Every person has some natural talents and abilities that have been given to us by God. Each of these abilities can be used either for or against Him and obviously God wants us to use these in His service. No one else can play the role God created specifically for me since only I have the abilities needed to play my role. To discover my role I need to examine my abilities and work within what He has given me.
God has created people with every conceivable type of personality. He works in different ways through different people to achieve the same goal which is the furtherance of His purpose. My personality affects how and where I use my gifts and abilities. For example, an introvert will use his gifts differently than an extrovert.
Finally, God has shaped me by the different experiences in my life. No experience should be wasted. This is especially true of painful experiences. God expects me to use the pain I have felt to help others through a similar situation. Who can better understand how a woman feels than someone who has already gone through that ordeal? God expects me to deal with and share my painful experiences so I can use them for the benefit of others.
Warren closes the chapter by saying that using my shape is the secret of fruitfulness and fulfillment in ministry. I will be most effective when I use my spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of my heart's desire and in a way that expresses my personality and experiences.
Warren quotes the Bible thirteen times using five translations and paraphrases. He relies heavily on the Living Bible, but generally provides reasonably accurate translations.
Point to Ponder
Today's point to ponder is "nobody else can be me." This should be a comforting thought for me when I am feeling like I am not making a contribution to my church or to God's work on earth. God has created me to do a specific job here on earth. Though every Christian is called to perform many of the same general functions (spread the gospel, do good works, etc) the way we go about these things and our specific area of ministry will vary from person to person. It is a very good idea to examine my gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences to determine what specific calling God is placing on my life. This is a process I have been going through over the past several months and one I continue to work through.
One thing Warren does not mention is that sometimes we have to try something to determine if it is something we enjoy. I can examine my gifts, personality, etc and still not be sure if a ministry is the one God wants me in. Often when I try something I will quickly realize that it is definitely not a good fit for me. So sometimes trial and error and finding what I really love and am passionate about is the best way of finding my true calling.
Tomorrow's topic is Using What God Gave You