For years, I felt out of place amongst most of the Christian women I knew. Many of them were quiet, submissive ladies who loved to run social events, Bible studies, and church potlucks. I would look at them and wish I could be as loving and thoughtful as they were. Instead I was an analytical, inquisitive, geeky, database-loving gal. And I wondered how could God use a person like me.
Then I was introduced to S.H.A.P.E. and realized God did not make a mistake when He made me. All the eccentric and unique parts of my personality, my past, and my position made me Morgan. I experienced true freedom when I finally embraced who I was.
That is something I am passionate about now: people discovering that, apart from their sin, they are exactly who God made them and there is nothing wrong with that. So let me share S.H.A.P.E. with you.
S: Spiritual Gift. Every single person in Christ is given a gift or an ability that wasn’t there before. Mine happens to be teaching. I hate getting up in front of people and talking. But the moment I am on stage, all fear leaves me. I love presenting God’s Word in a practical way so people can understand God.
H: Heart. What do you love? What are your passions? I love stories, cats, and junior high students :). Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that. What you love is part of who you are. I love stories, therefore I write. I love junior high, therefore I work in youth ministry.
A: Abilities. What are you good at? Each of us has unique abilities. Some people can cook really well. Others can draw. Some are good at listening, or speaking, or working in the background. I am good at databases and organization (unless my kids are home, then mommy brain sets in ;)). Dan, my husband, is really good at counseling people (he amazes me!). So think about what your unique abilities are.
P: Personality. Not only do we have different passions and abilities, we have different personalities. Outgoing, introvert. Feeler, thinker. I am a thinker-introvert kind of person. I cannot be around people for very long before I am worn out. Now that I know this, I can plan. For instance, Dan and I have discovered if I teach VBS in the summer, he needs to take time off the following week so I can recover (I am usually so drained I can hardly move). There are no bad personalities, only different. And all of them are needed in this world.
E. Experience. You can have two people with the same passions, abilities, and personality, and yet be different because of their experiences. One person might have grown up in the heart of Chicago while the other grew up on a dairy farm in Oregon. Two parents or one parent? Money or no money? Popular or unpopular? Moved a lot or stayed in the same town? I come from a divorced family that moved a lot and didn’t have much money. My experience has helped me reach young people who come from divorced families as well. Our experiences shape us. What experiences have shaped you?
I love how God has uniquely made each and every one of us. We are all needed, we are all special. How about you? What S.H.A.P.E. are you?
10 thoughts on “What Shape are You?”
Great article Morgan. I’m going to share with the ladies class that I teach. And yes, it is so easy sometimes to feel out of step with those you are around at church. Sometimes I feel though that God puts us in certain places so that people can hear the beat of a different drummer so to speak. That we don’t all have to be traditional or don’t all have to like Southern Gospel music. That we can all serve together and further God’s kingdom being the people that He has called us to be.
Thanks and I really enjoy your blog as well as your books. I’m reading Son of Truth now. 🙂
Thanks, Cindy 🙂
Morgan, this post has really touched me. I can empathize with you on so many levels, especially the family situation and being an introvert who gets drained by social situations. Often I struggle with how God can use me when I feel so different from the other, bubbly young Christian ladies I know. But I’m learning to embrace what He has given me and hope to reach others with my writing. God bless you, and keep up these wonderful, encouraging posts! 😀
I’m glad I could encourage you, Rebeka 🙂
I would love to share this with my bible study in Mexico. Is it possible to have permission to use it?
Sure, Terri. I don’t remember where I discovered the original material (it was years ago before internet lol), but I’m sure you can google it.
I understand the sentiment. Sometimes I think that no one in the world can understand me, can know why I get upset about the mundaneness of life or want to kill myself over theological controversies.
But spiritual gifts are a sticky subject. It would be great if God directly gave me a gift, and I knew what it was and how to use it. I took a test once, reluctantly, because the leader of my Sunday school group wanted me to, but I’m far too cynical about evangelical presuppositions to believe that we can correctly label something as mysterious as an endowment from the Holy Spirit by filling in the blanks on a multiple-choice test.
So true. Those tests can sometimes help a person narrow down what may be his or her gift, but it can also paralyze a person. And some people may live all their life and not know what their gift it, but that doesn’t mean they were not using it.
I know before I was a Christian, teaching was not my thing. During the years after, it became clear this was one area that God gifted me. The knowledge came through people and God, not really through a test.
Thanks for stopping by. It’s always good to have people bring up other thoughts and ideas 🙂
A very interesting post, and a timely one for me – in the last two years I’ve lost almost all of the ‘externals’ that defined me.
I’ve been reduced, in outlook, to the rather grim and unsmiling man I was when practicing a rougher career in harder places…and I’ve realized that God had a use for me then, and has a use for me – the ‘that’ me – now.
Along with the harsh outlook comes a determination not to quit, nor allow my frailties any quarter, and that can serve as both platform and outreach.
My career was destroyed, and I’m dying, yes, but as long as there’s life, there’s service to the Almighty. (Bet you thought I was going to say as long as there’s life, there’s hope…eh?)
And no matter how hard the days, in the words or Brandon Webb – excellence matters. And excellence, dedicated to God’s service, is achievable by anyone, in any endeavour.
I’m going to die, but I’ll die moving forward, and kicking butt to get people moving with me – for, and to God.
For a large swath of Christianity, there’s a self-imposed stereotype of what Christians (girls and guys) should be like. For some people, that really is who they are, but it excludes many more people (a majority?) and doesn’t recognize the vast diversity in the Christian world. I would argue there is no religion more diverse (a sign of divine creation?). There is no one mold for people.
People get stuck in their “bubbles” of their particular church or denomination and fear being too much like the world. Certainly, there is always the struggle between engaging the world and becoming like it. There seems to be many people who want to break out of the bubbles they find themselves in, just as there are plenty of people that have gone too far out of the bubble.
And therein lies the point. Free will means the dangers of the world never go away. But Christianity has never meant to suppress what makes us each an individual. We all have gifts. We are all meant to do something. We are not robots.
We all have our own shape.