S.H.A.P.E.

Do you ever feel like you're waiting around for God's voice to lead you to your destined calling? On Sunday morning, Jurie used the very practical handout shown here to help us pray through scripture and answer some questions to help us find our calling. If you missed, it I strongly encourage you to check it out! 
When looking at the questions on this handout, I can imagine that many people would feel overwhelmed. In this age of information overload, we sometimes lose the skill of introspection - reflecting to understand oneself - in favor of a focus on the things of this world. In Scripture, though, God encourages us to seek God's wisdom and expect that He'll give it (James 1:5). He tells us that "we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2:10, NIV). Without introspection and prayer, we may not realize the amazing things He has planned for us.
The last element on the S.H.A.P.E. profile is "Experience." They say that hindsight is 20/20, and I can't agree more. Every trial and joy is part of the path to hone us to become who God wants us to be, so that His glory may shine through us. We are a society of instant gratification, and it's tiresome to wade through each life stage, waiting (and hopefully working) for God's plan to be revealed. 
In 5th grade, I had a teacher who was passionate about writing and communication. Without telling us beforehand, she took us through the 7th grade grammar curriculum because she believed we could do it. We did, but it was a challenge! My 10th and 11th grade teachers were also passionate about writing, and I learned everything I could from them. Yet my real passion and interest was chemistry.
I majored in chemistry, yet I still had professors who were passionate about communicating science well. While in school, I enrolled in an internship with a South African chemical company that had an R&D facility in Austin. After graduating, I was hired there as a chemist. Yet after taxing projects, broken glassware, a lab fire, chemical sensitivities, and an accidental heavy dose of ether, my passion for the laboratory was becoming a frustration. My boss saw something in the reports I was generating and asked me to write a summary paper for the multi-year project I'd been working on. Then he asked me to edit an internal compilation of papers that was bound into a book. I was angry at having been pulled from the lab, but eventually I discovered that I still loved to write.
My passion for writing brought me my next job as a chemist, helped me through the transition to becoming a teacher, and then drew me into my next profession as a technical writer. But the real revelation has been that God wanted me to become a writer so that He could place me at 5twelve and use me for His glory in spreading the word and communicating for His people. I get to write the Life Group discussion questions, the blog, and the newsletter each week, and it is the most fulfilling role I've ever had. I haven't the space to tell you of all the trials along the way, but I can tell you this - I didn't see God's hand in each of the steps until He settled me here and asked me to look back.
When you're on a road trip across the country, you don't give up in the Midwest because you haven't yet reached the opposite coast. You know that you're only halfway there, but you also expect your car to keep running until you get to your destination, with proper care and feeding. Don't give up on God because you're in the middle of a journey to becoming who he's making you. Nurture your relationship with him, and continue investing in your family, your work, your relationships with others, and your growth. You are "God's handiwork, [being] created for good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do."
-Sarah Jo Smith; 11 February 2020; Austin, TX

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