Have you ever looked back to when you were a kid to see the beginnings of some of the same interests you have now?
I believe that many of the gifts God has given each of us and the way He has wired us often times start to show up when we are young.
God has hardwired you with certain strengths and characteristics.
When you were growing up:
- Were you a natural leader?
- Compassionate or empathetic?
- A nurturer?
- A good listener?
- Naturally business-minded?
These can all be indicators of some of the characteristics and strengths that God put in you from very early on.
I can now look back to my childhood and see that many of the personality traits and strengths I had were actually ways God wired me.
(I certainly didn’t always feel like that at the time, though.)
If these gifts or strengths are not encouraged or seen as important to us, they can sometimes fall to the side as we get older.
I went to church every Sunday but knew nothing about looking to the Lord for my identity. As time went on, I let the world and many other influences define who I was.
When I hit my teenage years, I felt so different than most of the people around me. I thought there was something wrong or missing in me. That’s how it felt, anyhow.
This is when I started to hide, ignore, and even bury many different qualities and parts of me that I didn’t feel were good enough, important enough, or how I should be.
I’m guessing you can look back to your teenage years and see something similar, even if the events leading up to that time are different than mine.
I can look back now and see that many of the ways I seemed to be different than others were actually characteristics of how God created me.
In hiding and squelching those parts of me, I was unknowingly hiding and squelching who God made me to be.
Over this past year, the Lord has been showing me that many of the parts of myself that I never knew what to do with, or those parts of me that felt like “too much” were actually characteristics that He put inside of me.
He made me to be sensitive to my surroundings and to the people around me. I care deeply. I’m sentimental. I’m a deep thinker and feeler. For many years I (and sometimes others) looked at these characteristics as flaws and weaknesses.
Now I see this differently.
Yes, there are times when we experience wounding in our hearts or insecurities that can inhibit or skew the way God made us.
For instance, I tend to be a sensitive person. This is a God-given trait, but if my heart needs healed or I’m holding onto bitterness and not forgiving someone, or not walking closely with the Lord, that same sensitivity can look very different than when I’m walking in a place of healing and wholeness in that area of my life.
It’s been a while since I have stood up on a stage to speak anywhere, but for several years I did it often. Many times I would sense the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder to go over to talk to someone later.
I’m thinking of a specific time this happened. When I finished speaking, I walked over to her to ask her if she needed prayer for anything. God ministered to her heart right there in her seat where no one else was. I watched him heal her heart and set her free in a particular area of her life.
God saw her and wanted her to know it.
It’s not about the crowds of people but the one.
Do you see it?
God made me sensitive to my surroundings, to people’s feelings, and consequently sensitive to hearing from Him when I am listening for His voice and direction. He made me that way.
When I lean into Jesus and embrace who God made me to be, I see Him do amazing things.
On the other hand, If I’m trying to be like someone else who has a more dynamic personality, (which is something I have sometimes wished I had) I will never have the opportunity to have the Lord minister to others through me in a genuine way.
What does this look like in your own life? It’s probably different than what it looks like in mine, and that’s actually the point!
What we do is not the same as who we are, of course, but when we discover who God designed us to be and embrace this, we are better equipped to recognize and accomplish what He is calling us to do.
There is such joy to be found in embracing who He made you to be.
When you embrace who He created you to be, you will also be much more effective in reaching those He has called you to reach.
I’m learning how to appreciate the way God made me and call it beautiful. That’s how God sees me – and that’s how He sees you and the way He made you, as well.
How about you?
What did you enjoy doing as a kid? What did you enjoy or care about that no one else seemed to?
Can you identify any qualities God may have created you with that you have either hidden or dismissed over the years?
How can you lean into Jesus and the way He created you and uniquely show others who He is?
I encourage you to pray and ask Him about all of this. I’m believing He will show you.
It’s not too late to walk in the fullness of who you were created to be.