Sitting down to write this and trying to sum up the last few weeks and explain where this journey has taken me I am really not sure where to start but I know that I am ready to write something as there are jumbled up thoughts flying around my head, jutting out at the most annoying of times, what did that mean? have I read that correctly? DID he really just say that? DID I HEAR WHAT WAS MEANT?
To explain somewhat I have had the dreaded flu/virus that has been doing the rounds since the day after boxing day. I spent most of the Christmas and New Year holiday in bed with a fever or coughing in a most un lady like way. Too exhausted to even feel sorry for myself, never mind read what I should be reading or thinking about homework.
We had an interesting piece of homework. No really it was.
Reading it at first it was a bit daunting but by the 2nd or third read through it started to make sense.
The aim of this exercise was to help each of us to understand the unique “shape” God has made us in, the gifts he has given us and how he might want to us to be serving him. We were asked to consider our:
Spiritual gifts (God’s unique gifts to you as a member of Christ’s body)
Heart’s desire (what motivates and excites you, what you most love or long to do)
Abilities (your talents, knowledge and skills)
Personality (your character, style, preferences, personal qualities and strengths)
Experiences (your life experiences – both good and bad – and what you have learned and gained from them)
We were asked to consider these gifts and how they affect the way in which we engage with our family, friends, job, local community and voluntary or leisure activities. Did our gifts enhance our faith or our faith enhance our gifts?
DID I ACTUALLY HAVE ANY GIFTS??
By answering the questions and digging deep, we were encouraged to ask others about how they saw you?
So I asked three people to help me out.
Two who are very dear friends, who are always there when I come up with a hair brain idea or fundraiser to support and encourage me. One lovely lady who I work with who I know had enough Christian depth to answer me honestly and with comprehension of the work I was trying to undertake.
Now this wasn’t an ego massaging type of exercise, it was a warts and all tell me what you think I am good at and more importantly what are my faults.
They didn’t hold back.
All three wrote honestly with compassion both my good points and then my negative points. It’s hard to read and digest as I don’t take compliments very easily tending to brush off comments with a joke or rapidly change the subject. I am a fan of team work and sharing credit for things or doing things quietly without help not to be a martyr but because its just quicker to get on with things.
I was humbled by the detailed honestly, often about things I wasn’t aware or conscious I was doing. Now I am no saint (But then we all are really are we not?) but when people you love dearly say positive things about you that really means a lot. I am a firm believer in being an encourager as the world has too many critics already and I would urge everyone to be positive and have faith but I was still blessed by the response.
EVEN the negatives – I cant not say it was not hard to read these mainly as I knew they are true but as they came with an explanation as to why my friends felt I have these negatives it made understanding them a reality to be faced, dealt with and to move on from. When things you are afraid to face are spoken and out there, they are already a step closer to being resolved .
We are all a work in progress which I guess is the point of this course.
Sharing our findings about our shape with our group was not the experience I felt it would be. Maybe not all of us gained as much as I feel I did from it or maybe they are already confident in who they are with Christ and didn’t feel the need to share or didn’t want to be seen to be weak. Personally I felt I was being judged by confessing my negatives and came away feeling very vulnerable, that I had opened up too much and that was not what was wanted. Maybe I was being over sensitive or maybe I am just forgetting this is my journey I just bump into others along the way.