My friend, the one and only Mrs. Valerie P. (Hi Val!), called me this Wednesday shortly after reading my last post, Wired? or Weird? The content and timing of that post was such a God-thing for her. She asked to meet with me in order to help her think out loud concerning a new opportunity that had recently been presented to her.
My reply? Heck Ya! You see it’s a huge source of personal joy for me to walk people further into their destinies. Some people experience joy in physically laboring with others, some get joy counseling people through to physical and emotional health, still others have no greater joy than giving stuff away. Me? I like dreamers and the best news is dreamers like me. It’s like we were made for each other. My favorite part is encouraging them to say yes to the impossibilities in front of them. Why? Because I know the intimacy in God that is waiting for them on the other side. This particular joy, as you will get to learn about in the coming weeks, was key in helping me to identify my own God-Given gifts early on.
Joy is only one reason why everyone should know and study to understand their God-Given Gifts. Knowing how you are wired plugs you into a greater confidence to take your personal place in God’s history. To know how you are wired also gives you great insight into your relationships with others. Knowing how you are wired increases your understanding on how your spouse, your children, your friends and co-workers are wired. When we “get them”, many of our frustrations in relationship to them go on a hiatus! If we take a closer look at ourselves we will have to admit that some of our biggest struggles with others is how they are not like us. Why don’t they “see” what I see? Why don’t they “feel” like I feel? Why don’t they “think” like I think? Once you appreciate how others are not like you-you will be liberated to freely love them more and cheer them on in all those ways they are not like you.
Knowing how you are wired is priceless when comes to life’s choices. Like some of you, I wish I would have had someone to teach me about my wiring when I was a teenager. I came by my survivor mentality honestly while growing up in a family with a strong work ethic and driving sense of responsibility. If there was any encouragement to dream it was always conditional to what was reasonable and sensible, which really can work to dry up the clouds of a girl’s daydreaming.
When you start to believe what God says in the bible you have to challenge the boundaries of what is reasonable and sensible. What I was learning is that reasonable and sensible are great anchors but eventually they contribute very little when God is calling you to dream beyond what you can even think or imagine (Eph 3:20). As I began to work on closing the gap between my dreams and my day jobs I determined not to miss my chance with my daughter. I took this information on our God-Given Gifts to heart and set myself to observe her triggers of joy.
To make a long story short, which is quite the challenge for my gift by the way, I was able to identify that her joy was found in working with her hands. She has a God-Given gift of Service. Now, you couldn’t tell she was gifted to serve by how clean her room was because, well, it wasn’t. Her room still has its days but more and more we are seeing “one of these days” finally closing in. Rather, it was the joy she experienced when she created things with her hands. As a little girl she had all the Barbie stuff you could imagine but she would prefer to spend hours at our coffee table coloring. When it came to dinner time she was always hanging around the kitchen wanting to help me. She also had an unusual habit of being enchanted by watching other people doing meticulous work activities. These were just a couple of the clues I got about her wiring.
By the time she got to high school she signed up for a business math course. STOP! I pleaded with her to reconsider that choice and for one single semester take an art course. That’s all it took. She majored in art all four years. It was her joy. She is now enrolled in college culinary courses because she found a greater joy: food and art working together to make for really cute cakes. Additionally she works at a Pier One retail store where enjoys she spends hours setting displays for marketing. She loves her job. What? She loves her job? That would be a first in our family. My joy overflows with knowing that she got the advantage of a 14-year head start on me when it came to knowing where to begin with the rest of her life. Feels like a great win!
My Joy on Friday
Happily, I had a morning open on Friday and got to meet up with Mrs. Valerie P. and hear her heart. I got to ask her how her new opportunity came, what she liked about it, and what parts she felt uncomfortable with. Then we talked about the fire that burned in her heart. That was the one question turned the corner on our conversation into a whole other arena of joy for her. It was funny how our conversation kept returning to that topic and how she passionately she spoke about it. It was an arena that was not even related to the opportunity that was currently challenging her.
Because of the way I am wired it was easy for me to “read” between lines and identify where her joy was and where it had yet to be. Because of the way I was wired I was able to lay out some wisdom that would act like anchors for her decision-making as she brought it all back in prayer to the Lord. Me? I left high. It was my joy to serve my friend insight and wisdom and inspire her to trust God for even more. That joy fueled me for the rest of my day and made what threatened to be just “another” day so much more fulfilling. You see the joy I am speaking of is not conditional upon our circumstances. It’s an eternal joy you experience when you get to give your gift away no matter where you are; on the job, in your friend’s kitchen, in a classroom, before an audience of one or one hundred.
Well, we’ve got lots to discover in the coming weeks. If I could ask you one question today I would want to ask you, what is the one ability you have that you can do for hours on end find yourself leaving fulfilled in, or better yet: joy-filled? You know, that one thing where time gets away from you and you can’t wait to do it again? I believe living the dream has more to do with recovery than discovery so some of us may need to look back to our childhood to best answer that question.
Oh, and by the way, because of how I am wired feedback makes my joy overflow so don’t be shy:-)