In this journey of self-discovery, I have come across passion and purpose everywhere I turn. Eeeeiii even if I did not want, I would have to. But you see it got me asking all these questions like what is my purpose? Why is it so important and how do I even find out? I will not lie and say that I quite understand the mechanics of this but having attending numerous workshops on the subject, learning how I am shaped for more. I will share from my perspective.
In simple terms, purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. So it is the reason for which you and I were created. That is amazing and scary at the same time. I mean it is great to know that I have been created for something beyond just myself but aaayyyii, the pressure,the pressure or am I the only one feeling the pressure?
I remember going to my friends and pastors and asking them can’t I just be? Can’t I just be happy? Free? Doing my thing like why does it have to be some grand scheme? Cant I just be concerned about Patricia and not the community or the world? Like seriously???
They all looked at me in shock but one of my pastors,Ps M told me that Patricia, you are seeing this the wrong way. It doesn’t have to be grand. It doesn’t have to culminate in an NGO or organization or foundation. Purpose is within you and you are the one that defines it for you, not anyone else. I heard it but I didn’t hear it.
You see I was all about purpose and grand gestures till it backfired on me because I was not putting me at the center of it all. I was just going with the flow and creating something that looked right in the eyes of society even if it was completely against who I was and so to the drawing board I went and it started with me…ALL OVER AGAIN! Honestly, sometimes I feel like I keep having multiple resets in my life but hheey I am a work in progress. Yes, I say this all the time but I am.
Each of us is born for a purpose, and we want our lives to matter. I don’t think it’s unique to only some of us; it’s a longing of every human being.Garrett Gravesen
So let’s deep dive into all this. I was introduced to a book by Erik Rees called S.H.A.P.E: Finding and fulfilling your unique purpose for life. I really enjoyed this because it talks about who you are. Many times I was swept away with what I thought seemed right or was trending yet had nothing to do with me as a unique person. It would be fabulous for someone else but me, nop and I failed at it over and over again. Yes, I am that stubborn but Erik talks about your SHAPE and how each part of it is unique to you and your purpose. No other person can be shaped like you.
Erik Rees uses two inventories for us to arrive at our purpose. The first is the S.H.A.P.E. Inventory which measures five areas of personal giftedness which is broken down in Rick Warren’s book, Purpose-Driven Life. It answers the question Who am I?
1. Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts – A set of special abilities that God has given to you to share his love and serve others. Here I did the test and found out my top three spiritual gifts were Justice, Encouragement and Healing.
This spiritual gift enables the receiver to bring a biblical perspective to social justice issues and speak boldly as an advocate of those who are victimized and less powerful.
People with this gift are usually: informed, globally-minded, assertive, articulate, compassionate, analytical, perseverant.
Cautions for people with this gift: being so blunt or negative that people are put off by their manner; taking pride in their own ability to speak and persuade.
This caution is needed for me. haha! I am a work in progress!! Yes, I am shouting
The spiritual gift of encouragement is the special ability God gives to inspire others to reach their full potential by challenging, comforting and guiding them in such a way that they are motivated to grow. The word Encouragement means “to instill courage into another person”.
The spiritual gift gives the receiver the skill to create artistic expressions which produce a spiritual response of strength and inspiration.
People with this gift are usually: expressive, imaginative, artistic, creative, unconventional, sensitive, idea-oriented.
When God equips a person to be creative, it is because He desires the creative person to use those abilities to accomplish specific preordained purposes.
This describes one’s passions. You know those things that even if you try to ignore, always have a way of popping right back up. It is not just for you but to be used to glorify God and make a difference. What makes you hunger? What makes your heart beat? For me, it has always been three things. It is funny but now looking back, all my life it has been this.
One is Africa. I am a proud African girl but I must say Africa pains my heart. I have so much hope and dreams for Africa. I want to see the narrative of Africa rebranding. I want people to see deep into who Africa is. Africa is not the land but the people. I always see the potential of who we are and I want the butterfly that is Africa to spread wings.
My next passion is Creativity. All things creative make me happy. Growing up, I wanted to be an author, a painter, an actress, a designer. I wanted to be in pursuit of creative expression. Then life happened but now I am working on this. Slowly by slowly
Another thing that I am passionate about is People being themselves. I think this stems from me always feeling like I could never be my quirky,silly self. It has pushed me to wanting myself to have the freedom of self expression. To just be you! Authentically you!
These are the set of talents that you were born with that you can use to make an impact. I know we have so many abilities and talents but it would be good to narrow down on your top three. For me, that is storytelling, design thinking and coaching. I have always loved stories, loved telling them, love love love hearing them. I am the person who asks for bedtime stories. Haha!! yes till now!! I do not care. I am young at heart and always will be.
Design thinking is simply an amalgamation of inspiration, ideation, problem-solving. I am the person people turn to for advice. I didn’t think much of it but I realised my strength lies in brainstorming and prototyping. I thought it was just a thing but it’s actually a thing! Design thinker y’all! Creative strategist! Creative consultant! Watch this space!
Lastly coaching. This is a new thing in my life. Well, not new. I guess new to my radar. The purpose of coaching is to unlock people’s potential by helping them to learn rather than teaching or telling them. I have been doing this but oba what did I think it was? Honestly, sometimes we need to go through these processes to see things from a new perspective.
This describes the special way God wired you to navigate life and fulfil your unique Kingdom Purpose. There are quite a number of personality tests out there that can help you but be open-minded. We are multifaceted beings. Yes, you may be one type of personality but you are so much more.
They are people-centred creators with a focus on possibilities and a contagious enthusiasm for new ideas, people and activities. Energetic, warm, and passionate, ENFPs love to help other people explore their creative potential.
ENFPs are typically agile and expressive communicators, using their wit, humor, and mastery of language to create engaging stories. Imaginative and original, ENFPs often have a strong artistic side. They are drawn to art because of its ability to express inventive ideas and create a deeper understanding of human experience.
ENFPs often seem unconventional, and may come off as scattered; they don’t tend to be in touch with their physical surroundings. They often overlook the details, as they are more likely to focus on connecting with other people or on exploring their own imagination and self-expression.
They have little patience for the mundane and want to experience life with intensity and flair. ENFPs often have an artistic streak, and may be artistic in appearance. Many have developed a distinctive and quirky personal style. And this is sooooo me!!
These are those parts of your past, both positive and painful, which God intends to use in great ways. It is so hard accepting these experiences but you see they are part of your story and you can not leave it out. YOu have to accept and own the good, bad and ugly.
The negative experiences I have gone through that have shaped me include the death of my dad. That was one hell of a doozy and all dealing with health challenges.
The positive experiences were actually hard to think of. Why is it easy to think of the bad and not the good? I realised I need to create more joyful experiences.
We are made for so much more than ordinary lives. It is time for us to more than survive. We were made to thrive!Casting Crowns
The second inventory, “Serving Sweet Spot Profile” helps people determine the best place of service in which one’s S.H.A.P.E. may be expressed. It identifies four important areas:
- Your Serving Strengths: The spiritual gifts and natural abilities that God has given you to serve others- for me that is Coaching, Encouraging, Storytelling, Design thinking
- Your Serving Group: The people you love serving and impacting for God’s glory- As I said, I am passionate about Africa and Creativity so naturally the people I would be drawn to creators and creatives
- Your Serving Desires: The needs you love meeting in another persons life? I love inspiring and empowering people to embrace their story/ who they are so that they can unleash their creative potential and make an impact on the world through their authentic and purpose driven brand.
- Your Serving Setting: The ideal place that maximizes your personality so you can make the greatest impact for God- this was difficult for me to think about. I was like where? Then I realised I am all about online mediia. I do not yet understand it but it fascinates me so that would be the place I would want to be in.
Shaped for More
When we are able to think and meditate on the two different inventories of our lives, we are then able to get a glimpse into our purpose. It is not a one-day thing or even a year. I believe it is a lifetime journey. We grow, we change so I also believe it will change over the course of time.
Of course there will be those set in stone but maybe the method of going about it changes. I do not know. I am also on this journey like you getting to that place where I will make “specific contribution to the world, within my generation, that causes me to totally depend on God and authentically display his love toward others – all through the expression of my God-given S.H.A.P.E.
I am S.H.A.P.E.D for more! You are S.H.A.P.E.D for more!
Hey hope your mind was tickled and you were able to think about yourself. Do share in the comment section what stood out for you? You gifts? Your passions or the people you are called to