“How do I even know what God has called me to?” I received this question in an email following my last post. Previously I wrote about 3 ideas you could use when God’s calling seems beyond your reach. I asserted that God calls all followers of Jesus. But I’m not saying that Jesus followers are all called into full-time church ministry. So, what is it then? God calls people to all sorts of things. But perhaps the best tool to help you find God’s calling is SHAPE created by Rick Warren. This tool looks at the way God has gifted you and made you to give you a rounded understanding of who you are.
The Bible makes it clear that God gives his followers spiritual gifts. There are different opinions about the exact number of gifts but they are always for bringing people into a deeper relationship with God. What spiritual gifts has God given you?
If you have never done a spiritual gift survey here’s a link to one you might find helpful – http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult
What are you passionate about? Are there groups people that you just love being with? What is the one thing you dream of doing or achieving? God has created us with passions and dreams. He can use these in your calling. Take me for example, I love writing and communicating with people. This forms an aspect of God’s calling for me. He has created me in such a way that I love to encourage Jesus followers as I write.
Everyone has different abilities. Some of them are our natural skills. These are things that we have an innate talent for like the child who picks up a bat and hits the ball with ease. Other abilities are things we learn. Either natural or learned, our abilities work the same – they help us see how we go about ‘doing’ God’s calling. So, what can you do?
Some people are extroverts. They’re loud, often magnetic people persons who thrive on being where the action is. Others are introverts, like me, who prefer to have times of solitary. Some people tend to be very positive while others are more pessimistic. None of these personality traits are right or wrong, but just like our hearts, they are part of who God has created us to be. Your personality will inevitably affect the way you understand God’s calling and how you carry it out.
Have you ever thought your experiences would impact what God is calling you to do? Moses didn’t. In his encounter with God in the burning bush it is clear that the experiences God has brought Moses through are crucial to his calling. His unique experiences mean he is the ideal person to go before Pharaoh on behalf of God’s people. In other words, experiences impacts God’s call. What are your experiences?
Bringing SHAPE all together
Understanding your SHAPE will help you see the person God has created you to be. Recognising the passions and dreams God created you with, the gifts and abilities he has given you and the way he has molded your personality and experiences will help you to understand God’s calling for you. But SHAPE only goes so far.
Colossians 3:17 is an important verse in determining God’s calling for your life. Paul writes:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
What is Paul saying about calling? It isn’t so much about what you do but how you do it. For Paul it is all about thanking and glorifying God. Your SHAPE will determine the ‘whatever’ but God’s calling allows you to do it in a way that lifts up God.