Who God Created Us to Be – Our Skills

Now that we know what our strengths are, the next question is, "What do we do with them?"

Skill: "A strength expressed in a specific way that builds up others and benefits the kingdom."

In this chapter, the author makes a FANTASTIC biblical reference from Exodus.  This verse is describing a craftsman who was chosen to work on the tabernacle.  God says, "I have chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri.  Uri is the son of Hur.  Bezalel is from the tribe of Judah.  I have filled him with the Spirit of God. I have filled Bezalel with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge, and with all kinds of skill.  He can make beautiful patterns in gold, silver, and bronze.  He can cut and set stones.  He can work with wood.  In fact, he can work in all kinds of crafts." Exodus 31:2-5

This verse reminds me of a conversation I had with someone I care about very much just this week.  He is an artist.  A great one at that.  He was finding himself getting discouraged because he was trying to fill out an application for his dream job as an art teacher at a Christian school and he couldn't find the right words to describe why he wanted to work there and be a teacher.  So, I sat down with him and we talked about it for a little while and I typed as I listened to him explain his passion for the very skills that God had filled him with.  I was able to type up exactly what he wanted to express and it made him feel inadequate.  What I said to him next is something that I want ALL of you to hear.  "Don't base your self-worth on other people's skills."  Those little things that you do that SEEM so simple to you...aren't simple for everyone.  I can barely draw a good stick figure and he was convincing himself that he wasn't worthy of a job as an art teacher just because he couldn't find the right words to put on an application?  Can you imagine if the craftsman that God had chosen to work on the tabernacle had let something like not being eloquent with words keep him from fulfilling his purpose?  God blessed you with your individual skills for a reason.  Sometimes it's to fulfill your divine calling and sometimes it's to help someone else to fulfill theirs.  We are ALL so beautifully unique!

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  - Albert Einstein

Ok.  Now, what are YOUR strengths?

  • Acting
  • Adapting
  • Administering
  • Advising
  • Analyzing
  • Appreciating
  • Art
  • Assembling
  • Believing
  • Building
  • Challenging
  • Cleaning
  • Collaborating
  • Cooking
  • Communicating
  • Connecting
  • Constructing
  • Coordinating
  • Counseling
  • Creating
  • Decorating
  • Evaluating
  • Expressing
  • Growing
  • Guiding
  • Helping
  • Imagining
  • Influencing
  • Initiating
  • Leading
  • Listening
  • Maintaining
  • Managing
  • Motivating
  • Negotiating
  • Nurturing
  • Organizing
  • Persevering
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Problem-solving
  • Protecting
  • Relating
  • Researching
  • Responding
  • Risk-taking
  • Serving
  • Sharing
  • Speaking
  • Supporting
  • Teaching
  • Training
  • Writing
  • *Add your own

Your homework:

  1. Identify AT LEAST 3 of your top skills.  What are you doing when people compliment you and you can't quite understand why they think it's a big deal?
  2. Connect your strengths with your skills.  The author uses what she calls "skills circles".  She says, "Put one of your strengths in the middle of a big circle then smaller circles around the edge represent the skills related to that strength.  The size of each circle is related to how much you express that strength through the skill."

Share This:

Who God Created Us to Be – Our Strengths

Last week I really wanted to focus on embracing our shortcomings and freeing ourselves from our insecurities so that we can really move forward this week and discover our God-given strengths.  Sometimes we don't even recognize our own strengths without first going through trials and pain.  Remember what I said last week, "Pain brings purpose!"  If you need to go back and read 2 Corinthians 12:9 to really hear God's words about that then please do so.  It is absolutely key!

There are two points that the author, Holley Gerth, made in this first chapter that I really want you to remember:

  1. "We are closest to and most like Jesus [not another person in our lives that seems to have it all together] when we are fully being who HE created us to be."
  2. "You will not thrive, fulfill your God-given purpose, or offer what only YOU can if you don't know who you are."

Embrace this process and remind yourself daily that it IS a process.  Be patient with yourself.

Ok.  Now, onto the fun part...what are the strengths that God has uniquely blessed you with?

STRENGTH: "A personal characteristic that can be used on behalf of God in service to others."

The author emphasizes the importance of asking ourselves specific questions when determining what our true strengths are:

Service: Does it help me serve God and others?

Time: Has it been present throughout much of my life?

Relationships: Do others see this?

Energy: Do I feel energized when I'm living this way?

Natural: Does this come naturally to me most of the time? Or do I know God has intentionally developed this in me even if it doesn't?

Glory: Does God ultimately get the glory from it?

Trials: Even in hard times, does it usually come through somehow?

Heart: Does this really feel like a core part of who I am?

After keeping these questions in mind, take a look at the list below and write down the ones that you feel apply to you:

 

  • Adventurous
  • Analytical
  • Athletic
  • Brave
  • Calm
  • Capable
  • Caring
  • Cheerful
  • Considerate
  • Courageous
  • Creative
  • Dedicated
  • Determined
  • Devoted
  • Easygoing
  • Efficient
  • Empathetic
  • Encouraging
  • Energetic
  • Fair
  • Flexible
  • Forgiving
  • Friendly
  • Frugal
  • Funny
  • Gentle
  • Gracious
  • Hardworking
  • Helpful
  • Honest
  • Hospitable
  • Imaginative
  • Intelligent
  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Mature
  • Organized
  • Positive
  • Protective
  • Reflective
  • Reliable
  • Resilient
  • Resourceful
  • Responsible
  • Sensitive
  • Servant-hearted
  • Social Skills
  • Spontaneous
  • Supportive
  • Thoughtful
  • Trustworthy
  • Warm
  • Wise
  • *Add your own

Now for your homework assignment:

  1. Identify AT LEAST 3 of your top strengths.  How has God used each one in your life?
  2. Remember that having weaknesses in certain areas actually helps us be stronger in others. 
    • "Strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9
    • What weaknesses do you wish you didn't have?
    • In what ways could they actually help you develop your strengths?

Introduction: Who God Created Us to Be

Ok.  So I have decided to start doing my blog posts every Sunday.  There is just something about going to church and having everything that the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart during the church service that makes what he has to say through me on here even sweeter.

Secondly, as I went through this week's study, I found myself wanting to really spend some time reflecting on some really important things that I think we all need to let soak in before moving forward too quickly.  So, this study may actually end up lasting longer than I had originally anticipated.

The first part of the chapter of "You're Already Amazing" starts off talking about how important it is that we figure out who God created each one of us to be, individually.  I am going to quote several key things that the author said in these chapters because they really resonated with me.

The first point she made that really struck me was when she said, " Being disconnected from who you really are leads to depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, and a host of other troubles...Being free from insecurity allows us to serve and offer the world what only we can."  Ladies, this includes not just our strengths, but also our weaknesses...and yes, even our mistakes and failures.  God allows these things in your life to show you who you are and who your are NOT created to be.  Don't be tempted to be like someone else who you perceive to have it all together.  Because, guess what...THEY DON'T.  The enemy wants us to strive to be like ANYONE but Jesus...and he emphasizes their highlight reels to us to do just that.

Pain brings purpose!  Our pastor read us a letter from someone he received a while back this morning during his sermon and one sentence hit me like a ton of bricks.  This person said to him, "I am so grateful to you for your pain."  WOW!  2 Corinthians 12: 9 states, "“My grace is sufficient for you [My loving-kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me."  God knew even what our weaknesses would be when he created us and made a plan for our lives that was and is customized for each one of us, individually.  Without our weaknesses how could we relate to the struggles of others...and help them through it?

"You created every part of me;
    you put me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you because you are to be feared;
    all you do is strange and wonderful.
    I know it with all my heart.
 When my bones were being formed,
    carefully put together in my mother's womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
    you knew that I was there—
   you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
    had all been recorded in your book,
    before any of them ever began."

Psalm 139:13-16

I wanted to end here for the first week because it is SUCH a great introduction for where I want your mindset to be before you move forward on this journey of discovering WHO God lovingly and purposely created you to be...warts and all.  He uses it ALL in ways you could never even imagine.

My homework for you this week is to think back on your life and begin to realize the ways in which God has used your pain and your struggles to bring about blessings in your and other people's lives...and then thank him for his mysterious ways...and really begin to TRUST that he's got this!

 

You’re Already Amazing

I have recently set some personal goals for myself and one of them happens to be to start writing my blog more consistently.  I just got done going through a wonderful book/Bible study by Holley Gerth called "You're Already Amazing".  It's all about finding your personal identity in who God created you to be.  It is fantastic!  So fantastic, in fact, that I decided to use it as a tool to keep me on track with my blogs and to share it with all of you.

So, starting next week I am going to be facilitating a study based on her book through my blog.  If any of you would like to join me, let me know by commenting below or on Facebook.   I think you will find it to be extremely insightful.  I will cover one chapter each week.  I plan to only summarize the information that she gives.  So please get yourself a copy so you can follow along and get the most out of it.  I have included a link to where you can purchase it from Amazon.

http://a.co/4YMdSEc

I hope you can all join me over the next six weeks.  I am looking forward to it!

What Can Be Stronger than God’s Law?

Tonight I asked the question, "God, WHY are you blessing me even though I blatantly sinned against you...in so many ways?"  The answer I received..."Because, my sweet Edelweiss, (which I'll explain in another post) my grace, love, and mercy are SO much greater and bigger than the laws I have placed upon you.  My darling, I put those laws in place to protect you, not to hold you under my thumb."  This was eye-opening to me. Am I free to fully accept the blessing of this new marriage, of this new chapter of my life without the chains of feeling guilty over the sins I have severely sinned against my Father, who CLEARLY revealed his will for my life, through His word?  

As my sweet fiancée reminded me of, "Darling, we don't deserve His salvation, but He gave us that. Why would He not give us each other?"  THESE are the words of a man who exudes the Spiritual leadership and wisdom that I have so deperately longed for.

Think about that.  Meditate on that.  Yes, God's laws were expressed to us for a reason...not to be legalistically binded to, but to protect us from the troubles that we cause for ourselves in this life; and once we have received the mercy of Christ's salvation in our lives, to guide us through His mercy and grace...and to share this kind of love and mercy to others, so that they will come to know Him as we do.  He is first, and foremost, our Father. We are His children and He wants NOTHING more than to express His love and compassion to us so we can show it to others so that THEY may be able to rest in it, as we have.

God is GOOD!!!

Hey there! I know it's been a while. I'm not gonna lie...I got carried away (swept off my feet) by a GREAT guy! In fact, we will be geting married on July 1st.

God is SO freaking good. All I expected was punishment for divorcing my husband, and yet, God has blessed me anyway. That is how God our Father is. Like the Prodigal Son, he throws a feast for us and welcomes us back with open, loving arms...and a FEAST of blessings. I spent a lot of time trying to plan my life the way that I wanted it to go. And, because of that, I dealt with a bushel FULL of heartache and sadness. And then all of a sudden, God placed me in a position at a church where I was able to find rest and support...and then my sweet Daniel came along. You guys, I DO NOT deserve this man...and yet God has blessed me with him anyway. I tell him all the time that he is a living, breathing manifestation of God's grace and mercy and love towards me. I have made SO MANY mistakes over the past 3 years...they are innumerable. But, our Father took me by the hand and led me to this man who is a TRUE spiritual leader and who loves me in a way that I have never known...as I do him. The deep love that I have for him is one that only God can provide. He is my "forever". He knows EVERY single mistake I have made and he loves me in spite of all of them. He sees ME and who I want to be. That is beyond my comprehension. I genuinely love him with everything that I am...and if you knew all of the ugly details of my past...that is saying A LOT!

What I want you to take away from this post is this...it does not matter how many horrible decisions you have made or how guilty you feel for things that you have done wrong...our Father is waiting to run to you and throw you a feast...just as you are. All you have to do is come back to him.

New Beginnings

So, as I'm sure you could already tell, my blog was down for a while. There was a technical glitch but, I let Christmas kidnap me and hold me hostage for a bit so, I just didn't get around to fixing it.  Not that I am complaining.  I have all of the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to Christmas.  But, alas, it has passed and here I am.

I've been spending a lot of time reflecting over the past year and just how much has changed in my life.  I live in a completely different part of town, have a whole new group of friends, I am living alone (with the exception of my daughter) for the first time in 17 years, I have a whole new career, and I am single and dating. I even know how to swing dance and do the tango now.  How much change can one person pack into a year?  My goodness.  Change is scary.  Really scary.  But, I can honestly say that I am exactly where God wants me at this point in my life and He just keeps refining me, through my circumstances, into the person He knows I am in Him.  

I am truly in awe of how much he has blessed me and taught me in the past year.  There are two major lessons that He has impressed upon me over and over again that I want to share with you because I may not have these lessons down yet, but thank God that He has not left me where I used to be.  

  1. I am not responsible for other people's choices and emotional well-being.  Take a second and think about that.  I mean, REALLY think about that. Once that sinks in, it's life changing.  I have spent WAY too much time tying myself into knots about those two things.  It is scary how easy it is to fall into that way of thinking.  We all want the people that we love to be happy.  But, it becomes unhealthy when their happiness becomes your responsibility.  I'm not even good at being responsible for my own happiness, how in the world am I supposed to be responsible for everyone else's happiness?  This is not to say that we shouldn't ever take responsibility for mistakes that we've made that have caused them pain. We should love everyone as we love ourselves.  But, I think that is where we get confused. We assume that loving ourselves means that we do anything and everything possible to be happy all the time.  That is NOT what the scripture means.  Sometimes, loving ourselves means making really hard choices that may hurt like hell but we know are for the best. Loving the people in our lives does not mean that we exhaust ourselves trying to keep them as happy as possible.  It means that we consider them and what is best for them and love them accordingly.
  2. This is the most important lesson I've learned this year; choosing to believe that God really does love me as I am and not as I should be.  I have made some TERRIBLE decisions in the past that I am not proud of.  I even allowed my mistakes to define me for a while.  In fact, for far too long.  Open your Bible and really take notice of God's love, forgiveness, and ability to use the most dysfunctional people in the world.  Allowing myself to be defined by my poor choices is, in essence, not accepting our Savior's biggest sacrifice for us.  We treat it as though it was all for naught.  The ENTIRE reason God sacrificed his son was to release us from being identified by our inability to be "good enough", just so that we can spend eternity with him no matter what we've done. THAT is how much he loves us.

I know that I have already posted this video in one of my previous blogs, but it seems as though that post got lost in the glitch and it is the essence of what I am talking about. So, here it is once more.  

Happy New Year everyone!  Here's to new beginnings with God's unfailing grace and love.

Self-Care Friday: Just Say No

I seem to be meeting myself coming and going these days.  As proof of this, notice that I am writing this "Friday" blog post on Saturday morning at 2am...so, it is as much for myself as it is for all of you.  Learning to "just say no" is so much easier said than done.  I am a natural people-pleaser so this is a difficult one for me.  But, with all of that said, just because something is difficult does not mean it isn’t completely worth it. 

We are not obligated to make everyone happy all the time.  God calls for us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  But, I think that we tend to take that Scripture out of context.  We must also remember that the first part of this Scripture states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”  If we are spending all of our time over-extending ourselves by saying “yes” to every request asked of us…or obligation that we put onto ourselves, we are leaving very little time, concentration, energy, or rest in order to spend time with our Father. 

galations1-10

So, with this epiphany, I have decided to make some much needed changes in how I schedule my time.  For instance, I have marked 3 days out of next week as “no” time.  I am going to spend those days resting…not necessarily just physically.  I am going to mentally rest and spend quiet time with God so that I can get my mind back to where it needs to be...free of stress and any other thoughts that distract me from resting in Him.  This may sound hokey, and maybe even impossible, especially given how fast-paced our culture is and how easy it is to neglect our relationship with the one who created us.  So, just to prove it to you that it is possible and also to keep myself accountable, I present my calendar…

calendar

* P.S. Yes, I AM having a hot tub night on Friday.  It's also considered self-care.  But, that's another post for another time.

God is not wanting busy work from us, He is wanting US.  He wants to spend time walking with us as he did with Adam through the garden or with Moses, sitting on the mountain top for 40 days.  Jesus spent time in thoughtful conversation with his disciples and his followers.  He also took time to get away by himself to reconnect and meditate on His Father, our Father. 

I want to challenge you to take some time to “just say no” and take a brain break and rest in God.  I promise you, it will be totally worth it.