031 Discover Your Purpose by Uncovering Your SHAPE

Picture credit: Jaybird, Flickr, cc by-nc-sa-2.01

Some years ago Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren came up with a neat acrostic to help people understand who they are. Since then Eric Rees has taught thousands of people the acrostic and even written a book about it. According to him, discovering your purpose is all about uncovering your SHAPE: your Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality type and Experiences. Get your pen and notepad ready – in this podcast and post Eric will coach you through the process of discovering your own unique shape and purpose.

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Uncovering Your SHAPE

Question: Have you used the SHAPE tool or something like it before? Tell me now

After Os Guinness’s suggestion last episode in our Discover Your Calling series, that to discover our calling we should discover our gifts, this practical interview covers the how, the why, and the what next of doing just that and more. The SHAPE tool isn’t the only way of understanding our calling of course (we’ll explore other approaches in time), but it certainly is a helpful one. Here are the key ideas and some questions to get you exploring.

1. Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are not talents, virtues or character traits. They’re special abilities given to us by God when we become Christians.

  • Explore the variety of gifts mentioned in Scripture (key passages are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4)
  • Which are you drawn to or excited about?
  • Which have you, or could you, experiment with?
  • Which have you been most effective with? (Tip: ask others!)

2. Heart

Call it heart, passion or interest, but you probably find yourself drawn to a particular group of people or societal need. Don’t ignore this.

  • What motivates you?
  • What change in the world do you long to see?
  • What needs and causes do you care about?
  • What people group do you most care about (artists, children, the homeless)?
  • What are your dreams?

3. Abilities

Can you cook, design, fix cars, paint walls? You may be astounded how many skills you have without realising it. God has been part of you developing these too.

  • What am I good at? Why have I learned these skills instead of others?
  • What do I enjoy doing most?
  • Who can I most help with these abilities?

4. Personality

Your personality guides how you will express your calling, and in what environments you’ll best flourish in.

  • How do I relate to others? (Am I shy or outgoing? Expressive? Competitive?)
  • How do I respond to opportunities? (Am I drawn to high risk or safety? Routine or variety?)
  • Am I people or task oriented?
  • How do I respond to people? (Am I a follower or leader? Team or solo player? )

5. Experiences

You have a unique mix of experiences and these add to your shape (an therefore your purpose) too. Think about:

  • Personal achievements
  • Career experiences
  • Relationship experiences
  • Educational experiences
  • Spiritual experiences

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