Have you ever struggled with trying to figure out where you ought to serve God with your life? Ever asked yourself, “I wonder what God wants me to do?” There’s one simple way to find out.
David writes in Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
There are multiple transformative truths imbedded in these words. If these words are true, then my life has inexpressible value. I must really matter because, like the little child in Sunday School said: God don’t make junk.
If these words are true, then God is at the heart of who I am. I don’t have to live in fear or worry. My life is in his control. Like Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, used to say, “There is no pit so deep where God is not deeper still.”
And if these words are true, then there must be something which God wants me to do, because he’s the one who put me together with all my unique traits, abilities and passions. How do you know what a saw or hammer is meant to do? Look at its design. In a way, it’s the same with us.
When I was a kid going to church, I picked up the idea from countless sermons that whatever it was that I liked to do, or whatever it was that I was good at, then God was going to do just the opposite to show that the power and glory are all his.
So if I dreaded the thought of becoming a missionary to Africa and eating bugs, guess what God was going to make me do with my life? You got it! And so when I was a kid, I didn’t go around saying what I didn’t like doing, because I thought God might overhear me and then jump in and go, “Aha! You say you’re not good with cars. I’m going to make you a mechanic. You hate squash? You’re going to give me glory by eating truckfuls of it, and Brussel sprouts too! You hate winters and cold weather? To Iceland with you!”
But that’s not how God is at all. Instead, God invites me to serve him and bring him glory, and show forth his power by acting in ways that are consistent with how he made me.
The premise that what I’m to do with my life is determined by how God created me is not how most people think. Os Guinness writes, “When we first meet someone, we are usually quick to ask what they do for a living. This helps us – we think – find out who they are. Once we begin to understand God’s call on our lives, and how he has uniquely shaped us, this thinking is reversed…Instead of, ‘You are what you do,’ God says, ‘Do what you are.’”
Rick Warren developed a wonderful tool he named SHAPE to help people figure out ways in which they might serve God. In this inventory, you examine your Spiritual Gifts (listed in Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11), your Heart (what you love to do), your Abilities (what you are able to do), your Personality (how God wired you), and your Experiences (what God has allowed you to go through).
As you think deeply about these five areas, certain things will clearly bubble to the surface. You’ll discover you have a very unique “SHAPE”. If you’re struggling to know how to serve God, begin with those areas that match how God has designed you.
Don’t doubt it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.