July 16, 2009
By Renee Swope
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together
in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
I sat in the circle dreading my turn to talk. The facilitator of our team-building activity had asked our group of eight to answer these questions: What do you love to do? If finances were unlimited and failure was unlikely, what would be your dream?
I started praying we’d run out of time before it got to me. But just in case I had to answer, I listened to everyone else describe their dreams, hoping to get ideas. One wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Another friend said she’d always wanted to sing in a Christian rock band. I knew I was in trouble.
Here I was 32-years-old at the time, and I didn’t know who I was or what my dreams were. Eventually everyone looked at me for a response. I stumbled over my words but finally admitted that I didn’t really know what I loved to do. I didn’t have a dream. I felt like a third-grader living in a grown woman’s body. Did I want to be a nurse, a schoolteacher or a movie star?
Who was I and what did I like to do?
Unfortunately, I’d never taken time to think about or answer that questions. Instead, I had tried to be who others wanted or needed me to be. But honestly, I wasn’t very good at it. I often had this uneasy feeling in my heart and a sense of just not being happy. I was also a constant candidate for burn out.
Later the group facilitator encouraged me to ask God what His dreams were for my life and to spend time getting to know myself better. She also suggested I read some books on personalities. I took her advice and began a process of getting to know the “real me” who had gotten buried in the busyness of life and people pleasing.
As I read books about different temperaments and personality traits, I started to recognize what I liked, strengths that came natural for me, and what I needed emotionally to encourage my heart. Instead of wanting to be like women I knew and admired, I realized there was a reason I was who I was – with my passionate preferences and mixed bag of emotions. For the first time I felt like someone (the author of those books) understood me. I also sensed that God wanted to use the unique way He made me to shape my heart for ministry.
Isn’t it easy to completely neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly, but in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God’s dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed. It’s not self-seeking but God-seeking to intentionally get to know and become the woman He created you to be.
So, how well do you know the real you? Have you ever taken time to think about what you like to do? How would you fill your free time if you had no fears, no insecurities and no doubts? (You probably have no free time, but what if you did?) What are your dreams?
I hope you’ll take time to get to know the woman God created you to be. In doing so, I discovered the life I was meant to live, the dreams I was meant to dream.
Remember, God made you. He knows you and He loves you just the way you are. The only change He desires is that you become more like Him, as you become more like you!
Lord, I want to know the woman You had in mind when You created me. I don’t want to grow old and never know Your purpose for my life. Show me your dreams for my life so I can offer what You want to give to those around me through my unique desires, personality strengths, spiritual gifts, abilities and experiences. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Personality Plus by Florence Littauer
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In her book, Personality Plus, Florence Littauer describes four personality types. See if you can relate to the desires and emotional needs of one or two of these:
Phlegmatic: Desires PEACE
Needs times of quiet, reduced stress, feeling of worth, relaxation
Choleric: Desires CONTROL
Needs appreciation for achievements, opportunity for leadership, and participation in decisions
Sanguine: Desires FUN
Needs attention, affection, approval, activity with people
Melancholy: Desires PERFECTION
Needs sensitivity, stability, support, space, silence
Reflect on today’s verse, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
Psalm 139:13, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,” (NIV)
Psalm 139:1, “Lord, you have searched me and you know me.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105