The Shape of Things
Ever flipped through the pages of a magazine and stumbled upon an article about determining your “shape” and how best to dress to accentuate your figure?
I’ve always been drawn to these types of articles and will make time to read them. Forever, trying to determine what “shape” I am and sometimes confused that I didn’t always quite “fit.” I’m always petite (when that’s an option) but then sometimes I’m also an “x” or hourglass. Then I think could I be a pear?
The fashion world claims (yes, even for men) that once you discover your shape or body type then you can select clothes that will highlight your best features, allowing you to look and feel your best!
Dress for success. Isn’t that what they say?
It is an attractive concept that I do believe has merit.
But, what about your internal shape?
I also believe we have one. In fact, I think we have two!
Let me explain.
Our first shape (which we were given at birth) is a God-given shape in our very heart. A shape that can only be filled with Him.
Left empty, we will spend our lives trying to fill it with something, anything.
We try our best to fill ourselves with material things, people, jobs, pleasures, thrills, diversions, goals, etc. Yet, we are never satisfied; always looking for the next best thing because nothing quite fits, nothing truly fulfills.
But, boy do we continue to try.
It’s like the wooden toy that young toddlers have, all different shapes and you can try your best to bang the circle into the square hole but it just isn’t going to work. Ever.
Same here… the ONLY thing that can fill the God shaped hole in your heart is God. Period.
Let me tell you though, once that God shaped hole is filled there is nothing better. It is an exact fit and forever satisfying.
Now, once you have that first shape recognized and filled you can move on to discovering your second shape.
Be warned, this second shape takes some time and energy to reveal. In fact, it really could take years for it to fully come into clear focus. I know because I’m still in the process of discovery on this one!
Please don’t tune out.. because this truly is worth the exploration!
This second shape is actually an acrostic or word puzzle.
The 5 ways that God has shaped or fashioned you for His glory.
S – Spiritual Gifts - What has God supernaturally gifted you to do?
H – Heart - What do you have passion for and love to do?
A – Abilities - What natural talents and skills do you possess?
P – Personality - Where does your personality best suit you to work and serve?
E – Experiences - What life experiences do you bring to the table that have shaped you and given you a special insight that may help others?
Now before we proceed forward, hear my heart, as I do not mean to be offensive or exclusive.
In order to find this second shape, you have to fulfill that first God given shape. It is only through the acceptance of Christ into your life that God will supernaturally grant you the first part of your shape-- “spiritual gifts.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 speaks to the giving of spiritual gifts.
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."
Who doesn’t like a gift?
As a Christ follower do you know your spiritual gifts?
The possibilities are pretty lengthy. Just to name a few: Discernment, Wisdom, Evangelism, Faith, Giving, Healing, Hospitality, Knowledge, Miracles, Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Mercy, Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues.
If you have never explored your spiritual gifts, I would strongly encourage you to do so! I would recommend taking this self-assessment to help you start discovering your unique spiritual gifts.
Heart a/k/a Your Passions:
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4
To aid you in determining your passions, think about the following questions:
1. What drives you into action? What gets you fired up and keeps you up at night? Are there certain causes that you feel strongly about? Homelessness, injustice, marriage, divorce, right to life, abuse/violence, addiction, health, etc.
2. Who are the people that you have a soft spot for.. Do you love children? Love the elderly? Feel great compassion for the poor?
3. What needs are you drawn to fulfilling? What are the top two needs you love to meet for others and why?
Abilities & Talents:
Let’s face it ---we all have some natural talents and abilities. Simply put, what are you good at? What comes natural to you? Are you a natural leader? Great with fixing things around the house? Are you good at motivating others? Do people naturally come to you for advice?
The possibilities are almost endless.
Don’t sell yourself short. We ALL have natural talents and abilities that, if given the chance, we can let shine!
Personality (speaks for Itself):
Now for personality, that’s one thing that we all have and simply cannot deny. But, understanding and appreciating your God given personality will help you more effectively express your spiritual gifts and heart.
I love this quote from Rick Warren- “Like stained glass, our different personalities reflect God’s light in many colors and patterns.”
Here’s the thing, you need to be who you are.
If you are an introvert the last thing you want to do is force yourself into a pastor role and try to get up and speak in front of hundreds in a public setting!
Take a moment to think about the below items and their impact on your life:
• Spiritual experiences – meaningful decisions, times with God, times you felt especially close to God.
• Painful experiences – problems, hurts, trials, disappointments, losses…
• Educational experiences – favorite subjects in school, special training, special adventures and opportunities…
• Ministry experience – how you’ve served in the past.
I sincerely challenge you to explore your shape!
It truly matters.
Not just your physical shape so you can look your best but your inner shape that God has given you to allow you to do great things in this world. To use His gifts, the passions of your heart, your natural abilities and your experiences that can bring value and comfort to others!
For me my spiritual gifts are wisdom, discernment, counsel and maybe even some prophecy. I own that I have a passion for God’s word, a heart for those hurting, a passion for the divorced child and a desire for strengthening marriages. I’m learning to embrace that I have a talent for expression and writing and that I lean more towards the introvert side.
So for now in my discovery process, I am simply accepting the idea that I can be “a pencil in God’s hands.”
Does any of this even really matter?
I leave you with this short story by Mark Twain-
The Greatest General
A man died and met Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Recognizing the saint’s knowledge and wisdom, he wanted to ask him a question. “Saint Peter,” he said, “I have been interested in military history for many years. Tell me, who was the greatest general of all times?” Peter quickly responded, “O, that is a simple question. It’s the man right over there.” The man looked where Peter was pointing and answered, “You must be mistaken. I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common laborer.” “That’s right,” Peter remarked, “but he would have been the greatest general of all time- if he had been a general.”
Hmm…. Don’t you think that it might just be worth your time to investigate your God given shape?
Maybe you too could be the greatest of all time under God’s design- to have a life that truly matters!
I’m discovering my shape. What about you?
Thank you Father that you have made each of us a wondrous creation for your glory. Place within us a desire to seek you Lord, to uncover the gifts, talents, abilities and uniqueness that you have bestowed upon us. May we never ignore them, discard them or take them for granted. May we embrace your call and become the “greatest” in whatever you have envisioned for our lives.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~Psalm 139:14