Let’s pick up where we left off last time. We began talking about the S.H.A.P.E. class I took at my church this past weekend and how it’s helping me to become a better servant. What I failed to mention is what S.H.A.P.E. stands for.
S. – Spiritual Gifts
H.- Heart (or passion)
If you want to delve deeper, start by reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and S.H.A.P.E. by Erik Rees. I look forward to spending some quality time reading these two from cover to cover.
As I mentioned before, I learned that hospitality and intercession aren’t two of my spiritual gifts. What I believed to be one of my gifts was confirmed the minute I walked into the room, read it, and was correct in my assessment of where I would be most comfortable. The spiritual gift of discernment has served me well for many years. I used to think that I was just picky about who I associated with and the groups that I affiliated with. Now I know that my gift of discernment has allowed me to read people and situations accurately, and I’m so glad about it.
Next, I looked at my data and discovered a three-way tie for my second spiritual gift. Teaching, Encouraging, and Wisdom scored slightly below discernment. This makes sense to me. Teaching has been a major part of my life’s work for over two decades. Even before I was trained to do it, I prepped for it as a kid during the school year — collecting extra copies of worksheets from my teachers to play school on my front porch each summer.
As far as offering encouragement goes, I find that easy to do. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to encourage someone who needs it? I never thought of it as a spiritual gift before though.
Finally, learning that wisdom was one of my gifts wasn’t surprising. The old folks in my neighborhood used to always say “You’ve been here before, baby.” My best buddies as a kid were the big kids and the old ladies who sat on their porches. I learned a great deal from both groups. The old ladies were observant and knew all the latest news about everybody in the neighborhood, so I guess that’s where I got my nosey-ness from. I reckon it’s safe to say that’s not a spiritual gift, but being nosey has allowed me to be an adept investigator in my role as assistant principal.
What surprised me most is that leadership wasn’t the gift that stood out like discernment. Though it showed up just below the others, I expected it to be number one. If I’m honest with myself (as I have been throughout this season of self discovery), I know that I’m a reticent leader — not quiet or uncommunicative, but reluctant. I have been asked to lead or voluntold on a few occasions, but I don’t want nor do I need the spotlight — ever. I end up there because of an expressed need, and I embrace the role and the brevity of the spotlight. When it’s over, I can breathe and just be. I’m grateful that my light can shine from afar and is fueled by the gift of knowing who I am and whose I am and doesn’t require competition with anyone. What God has called me to do is just for me. No one else can do it, and the same goes for you.
While discovering my spiritual gifts, I was also able to articulate my passion (or heart) for teaching through speaking, writing, and mentoring. Teaching (for me) is like breathing, and I will always find a way to breathe — even during fallow seasons.
So far I’ve shared the S. and the H. of my unique S.H.A.P.E. that will help me to become a better servant leader. Stop back again on the weekend to hear about the A. and the P. May blessings abound as you journey to know God and yourself!
NOTE – If you missed Part I of this series, check it out here.