"God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." Eric Liddell (whose life story was recorded in Chariots of Fire) I am not a runner. Things jiggle and leak and hurt when I run. Therefore I have determined that running is not good for me, and I need to restrict myself to a brisk walk. But I love that quote. It's made me ask things like:
God, what did you make me? I know I'm not fast, but I think there's something that I'm supposed to do, and in so doing, feel Your pleasure.
It hasn't always been easy for me to identify "what God made me."
Areas of incompetence are easy to mark off the list--for me, anything to do with numbers, money, or linear thinking ranges from apathy to painful to epic failure. I can remember my poor dad trying to teach me my 9 times tables. I was in the 8th grade. When I was in college, a math professor told me I had a bad attitude about math. I said, "Yes, I know." Whatever that math gene is, I think it just got left out. God clearly did not make me that way.
Another category of "not really me" is learned skills: things I can be good at, but they aren't my natural gifts. Lots of times learned skills are what we do on the job. I have spent a lot of time doing those kinds of things because they are useful and practical, and we need to eat and have a relatively clean house. I can learn to do those things with great skill, but they will make me tired. And that is a sure sign that this is not really what God made me, either.
Then there is this magical category of things I could do all day and still feel energized. For example, I never need a vacation from making things pretty. I love to have a heart-to-heart with a good friend. And I can sit here writing at this computer all day in my jammies, happy as a clam. It took me a long time to realize this, but things like that are my natural gifts. This is what God made me. The happiness and energy I feel when I'm doing those things is His reflected pleasure.
The following journal prompts are not originally mine. I wrote them down from the reality TV show, Starting Over, several years ago. (God works in mysterious ways, even through reality TV.) I've used them myself and find them helpful in reconnecting with what I like, what speaks to me, what brings me joy, where my life is in this present moment, and where I would like it to be. If you answer the questions and consider "why"--it can be a great exercise in considering what God made you.
- My favorite color is:
- My favorite food is:
- My favorite song:
- My most valued possession:
- My greatest strength:
- My greatest weakness:
- My greatest fear:
- My best skill:
- My biggest mistake:
- My greatest accomplishment:
- The experience that brings me greatest joy:
- The thing I am least fond of doing:
- The most fun thing I can think of to do is:
- If I were to die today, what is the one thing everyone who knows me would say about me?
- What would I want them to say?
- Why wouldn't they say what I hope?