God never wastes an experience. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
At Saddleback Church, we help people consider five areas of experience that will influence the kind of ministry they are best shaped for:
- Educational experiences: What were your favorite subjects in school?
- Vocational experiences: What jobs have you enjoyed and achieved results while doing?
- Spiritual experiences: What have been the meaningful or decisive times with God in your life?
- Ministry experiences: How have you served God in the past?
- Painful experiences: What are the problems, hurts, and trials from which you’ve learned?
Your SHAPE was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. “Who are you, my friend, to talk back to God? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes” (Romans 9:20-21a TEV).
Instead of trying to reshape ourselves to be like someone else, we should celebrate the SHAPE God has given each of us.
Understanding your SHAPE builds self-esteem. There’s an epidemic of low self-esteem in our society today. Most people do not like themselves. Studies have shown one reason is that more than 50 percent of all people are in the wrong jobs. I believe that genuine self-esteem — as opposed to pop psychological self-esteem — is built on two biblical truths. It’s not about raising yourself up by your bootstraps or thinking positively or the “I’m OK; you’re not so hot” philosophy. Genuine self-esteem is built on your relationship with Jesus and knowing what he created you for.