How to Discover What You Were Made to Do, Part 2
From the series Answering the Call
According to research, 83% of all workers are dissatisfied with their job! 83%!! If you’re ready to discover your calling and start enjoying your work, then join Chip as he wraps up his current series, “Answering the Call,” today with a message he calls, “How to Discover What You Were Made to Do.”
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About this series
Answering the Call
How to Discover and Fulfill God's Purpose for Your Life
God created you to work. And He created your work to be more than just "what you do for a living," but a place to fulfill God's calling in your life. According to Scripture, work is the platform where you can experience joy, ministry, and personal fulfillment like never before. If you long to experience that kind of job satisfaction, this series will help you get there. Whether it's finding a new job, starting a new career, or just gaining a new perspective on your current employment, "Answering the Call" will encourage and inspire you to see work as a gift from God.More from this series
Well, let’s get real practical now, and what I want to do is talk about how to discover your calling in life. And this is going to be like touching the mountain peaks, because it’s super, super practical. And on this one, almost every one of these things, there’s a great resource out there. But I don’t want to make it so complicated.
So, to discover your calling, we’re going to examine your S.H.A.P.E. – the acronym S-H-A-P-E. And by the way, one of my gifts is, I’m not necessarily very original. There’s a great book by that name. So, the “S” is for “spiritual gifts.” What are yours?
And then here – to me, it’s very important – what’s your primary, or motivational, gift? There are lots of ways to look at that. You might jot down in the notes: Your Divine Design.
Even people that are solid Christians, when I ask them what their spiritual gifts are, my experience is, they give me, if they’ve studied it, or if they’ve taken a test, they give me this salad bar answer. “Well, my spiritual gifts are leadership, mercy, discernment, wisdom, and faith.” That’s like saying, “What do you want for dinner?” “Steak, chicken, seafood, a little shrimp, and…” And then, I say, “And how does that help you really determine God’s will?” “Well, it kind of took it from here to here.”
But I’m convinced that there are many good ways to look at spiritual gifts, but when you look at Romans 12, there are eight core things that every Christian is commanded to do, and I see those as a primary motivational spiritual gift. And I would say, if you spent some time really studying them, you’ll discover there’s one of those that really “bing” for you. And then you have in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and Ephesians 4, you have roles and ministry gifts.
And then, when you do those things – then the apostle Paul will say it in 1 Corinthians 12, he’ll talk about, it’s really neat. He puts the whole Trinity in the operation, and he’ll talk about how He gives gifts, and there are ministries, and there are effects, and then he talks about the motivations, and how it works.
And what I’ve realized is, over the years, I thought it was leadership, because I ended up leading. And then, I thought it was this. But I didn’t know my primary motivation. And until I discovered my primary motivational gift is prophecy.
I want to make the comfortable, uncomfortable, and I want to comfort those that are hurting. I want the Church to be the Church. You can give me any text, and I’ll do my best to teach it through, accurately. But somewhere, I’m going to call you to live a holy life.
Second, is, the “H” is for “heart”. What are you passionate about? What are your deepest desires? What do you dream about? What makes you come alive? What’s your personal mission statement? What role do you most effectively play in an organization? Who could come alongside you, in your journey right now, and help you discover what’s down deep inside of you? God gave you passions, but they get buried.
My passion is that the Church would be the Church. I grew up – and you’re going to learn, God gives you certain experiences. I grew up in a dead, non-Bible-teaching, filled-with-hypocrisy church, and I almost missed God. And then, I met a group of authentic believers, who lived it out so winsomely and I was so attracted. And then, they gave me a Bible.
And so, somewhere along the line, my greatest passion is to see believers live loving, winsome, authentic lives, so people would ask about the hope that’s in us. And not legalistic, rigid, holy – as in big, black Bibles, dressing different, self-righteous, being down on everybody.
I’m talking about the kind of Christians that you just say, “I’d love to have a marriage like that.” “I’d love to have a boss that treats people the way that boss does.” Where Christians live like genuine followers of Christ. That’s my personal passion.
Abilities – what are you good at? What are your strengths, your natural gifts, your talents? Notice what it says, in Romans 12:3, in your notes: “For I say this through the grace of God to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but” – will you underline the phrase – “but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
If we had time to develop that, did you notice the word think happens? “Do not think…” “Think.” The word sober is the same word – four words for thinking, different forms, in 12:3. Basically, God wants you to look into the mirror, and not just the physical, but see who you are, and have an accurate view.
He wants you to see you, the way He sees you: good at this, good at this, good at this, gifted here, talented here, this kind of personality, this, this, this, this. And you go, That’s exactly who I am!
And these tendencies. We’ll struggle with this, tempted here, here – well, yeah – Strengths, weaknesses, gifts.
And no false humility. Why did I, at eight years old, cut my first lawn? Why, at ten did I have ten lawns? Why did I buy my first riding lawnmower at thirteen? Right? Why did I have two paper routes? Why did I buy candy at the store, and at Halloween, run as fast as I could so I could fill a bag, in a big pillowcase, like this, and store it for months, and take it to school, and sell five-cent candy bars for a quarter? Right?
Why was it, when I was fifteen years old, I lent my parents three thousand dollars to buy a piece of land, and I only charged them six percent interest?
God made me an entrepreneur! Right? I mean, at eight, I didn’t know what an entrepreneur was! I just knew, that’s how you ought to do things. And so, if you want to get big things done, you find partnerships. And then, you always find people that are better and smarter than you, and then you partner with them, and you do what? You make win/win propositions.
So, who did God make you to be? You look back, in the rearview mirror, at some exciting things, and what you did, and you’ll just find, Huh. Because He’s not starting to connect dots – you know, Well, I’m sixty-seven years old. Wow, you’ve got a lot of dots to look back on. And dot, dot, dot, dot, connect, connect, connect, connect.
And what you’ll see is – just like you’re charting a graph – you’ll see the trajectory of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and what God wants you to do in the future. And you can discover your design – your spiritual gifts, your heart, your abilities, and then your personality. How are you wired, as you relate to people? Are you an introvert? Extrovert? What recharges your emotional battery?
Psalm 139 – God says it wasn’t an accident: “O, Lord, You have searched me; You know me. You know my sitting down, my rising up. You understand my thoughts from afar. You comprehend my path, my lying down.” Look at this: “You’re acquainted with all my ways, for there’s not a word on my tongue, but behold, O, Lord, You know it all –” He knows your ways. He made you a certain way.
But what’s your personality? Take the DISC test or take Myers-Briggs. I mean, there are all kinds of great tools. But get a picture of who you are.
And then, finally, experience – what have you done? How has God been preparing you, and your life, so that you can look in the rearview mirror for what He’s called you today?
I encourage you, sit down, list the things you’ve done, not simply occupation or jobs, but accomplishments, milestones. Think of some of the trauma you’ve been through. Think of some of the hurts.
Is it any wonder that people that have been abused minister to those who are abused? Is it any wonder that people who have gone bankrupt a couple of times are counselors to people going through financial struggles? Is it any wonder that people that have been through a very difficult marriage that didn’t work out now have a ministry to people who are going through difficult times? Is it, “Aha, gosh, I have a heart for people with cancer. My wife died of cancer”? “We have an autistic child.” You think there’s a reason why you have compassion for those people?
See, God’s going to use all these things. Those weren’t random things that happened to you. He has been working all things to work together for your good, for you who are called according to His purposes, because He loves you.
And it’s all a part of that tapestry, that written poem, or that picture of the tapestry that is His workmanship that is you, that He prepared before the foundations of the earth that you should walk in those good deeds. And so, you look at your experiences.
There’s a reason why I look back, and I think – I was a pastor of a church of thirty-five people, in the country, way in the country. And then, gosh, that grew to, I don’t know, four or five hundred. And then, super conservative, I’m a pastor of eight or nine hundred people in Santa Cruz, California and they think Berkeley’s too far right. And it’s weird. And if you’re not pierced, or tattooed, or living with someone of the same sex, you’re weird. What am I doing here? And then, so, from a church of thirty-five, to a hundred, to three hundred, to five hundred, and then a thousand, and several thousand.
So, God let me experience – so when I talk to a pastor who’s a solo guy, out in the country where everyone’s related, and he’s going, “Man, this is hard.” And I’m going, “Boy, I’ve been there, done that.” When I meet a pastor who can’t break the two hundred barrier, and can’t figure out why he’s worn out – “Man, I did that. I ended up in the hospital. Let me tell you about that one.” All those experiences. “Hey, so your church is stuck at twenty-five hundred? Boy, I remember what that was like,” and, “You’re probably doing this. And what you need is to hire a staff person in this area.”
Well, why? Because God wants me to love pastors at all, various levels. It wasn’t so you’re famous. It’s not so – you know what? I’ve met so many pastors that are way smarter than me, way smarter, and way more gifted. But God has been preparing me for what I’m supposed to do. And if you’re going to help pastors of a large range of things, God gives you a platform so you get to know them. It’s just a stewardship.
What’s He prepared you to do? Are you getting it? What’s He prepared you to do?
Second, not only do you look at your S.H.A.P.E., you get wise counsel about who you are – your gifts, and your abilities, where you fit, and how to move forward. Proverbs 22:17 and 18 says, “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to knowledge.”
One of the greatest things you can do is, you get around some people who know you well, that are mature, and you say, “I’m working through a process to discover who God really made me to be. What do you think my strengths are? What do you think my spiritual gifts are? What do you think?” And you’ll get great counsel.
When I went through this process of rediscovering, I talked to my wife; I talked to my kids. I talked to pastors that I’ve known. I talked to the board. I got all the wisest counsel, before I said, “I’m going to focus on teaching, and Living on the Edge, and do what God wants me to do. And, Lord, I feel like Abraham. The ‘leave’ part I’ve got. What I’d like a little more on is the ‘to where.’”
And God says, “I’m the ‘to where.’ Okay? I’ll show you where to teach. I’ll take care of the needs.” But you’ve got to get wise counsel.
I needed people that knew me well to say, “Chip, this is a no-brainer. In fact, now that you ask, I think you’ve been pretty stupid the last couple of years, to tell you the truth.” I mean, literally. Those are not made-up words. Those are guys that know me really well. “What are you doing, running an organization?”
I remember when the church kept growing and growing. I worked with a guy eighteen years, went to California, sat down with he and his wife. And he’s very blunt, and that’s why we really get along. He just looked at me, he goes, “Man, you’re just stupid.” “Could you go over that again, a little more spiritually?” “Yeah. I love you, man. You know I’d never – I mean, you’re just stupid. Your strengths are here, and you’re trying to do this over here. There are a hundred people that can run that thing better than you. Get out of that and do what God made you to do.” I needed that! I just needed that.
The third thing you do is, be willing to move out of your comfort zone to fulfill your divine purpose on earth. Comfort zone …
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it’s impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that He is” – and here’s the part we miss – “that He exists, and He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
See, the fact of the matter is, I’m scared. Alright? I mean, there was security in my last job. There were finances related to that job. There was platform related to that job. Now I’m supposed to do this, and I’ve got to rebuild, and I’m back in the startup, and I don’t know how God’s going to pay for it, and I’ve got all that stuff. Right?
But without faith, it’s impossible – what? – to please God. But I’ve got to believe that He is. If He spoke, and created all the worlds, I think He can take care of Living on the Edge and my family, right? He’s God.
But He’s a rewarder of – what? Those who diligently seek Him. God gets excited. He’s a Person. He gets happy. When He sees someone like me, in all my fears, and all my struggles, get back into my calling, and then go, “Oooooh – okay, here I go …” And I’m thinking, Ughhh, how’s it going to happen? I think heaven roars! “Wow, Chip’s going to get to see Me, like never before.” You’ll get to see Him, like never before.
But you can’t be in your calling, and your comfort zone, at the same time. I will guarantee, part of it will be, “Oh, my, Lord, do You really want me to do this?” And the answer is “yes.”
And you’ll have practical people try and talk you out of it. And you will probably be the most practical person. “Well, I would really love to do this, Lord, but it’s just not very logical, practical, and reasonable at my age, or my stage of life, or the group that I’m in, and – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I spent a few weeks with Him on those. He doesn’t listen to that stuff. He wants something better for you.
Finally, here, make a personal commitment to discover God’s calling on your life, so you can honor your Creator and Designer, and impact your world, and beyond. And we’re back to that same verse. You are – you are – you are – you are – you are – you are His divine workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good work – for a good work, a unique good work, that He prepared before the foundations of the earth that you would walk in it.
And when you do it, you’ll love it, and you’ll lose track of time. And it’ll be so – here’s the deal. When you’re doing it, when you’re in that, you’re thinking, This is no big deal. Anybody could do this. Because it isn’t something you do. It’s the very glasses that you wear.
You counsel people and say, “Oh – oh, I’m a good listener, but I’m not really doing anything,” and everyone’s going, “Could I meet with you?” “Could I meet with you?” Or I work with a guy who – “It’s not really a big deal, it’s just putting a few details together, and organizing,” and he’s the most gifted administrator I’ve ever been around.
When you’re doing it, you’ll think, This is illegal. You don’t really get paid for this, do you? Yeah. In fact, you were made to do it. But would you be willing to make a personal commitment?
Did you notice, I actually – I did this real purposefully. Notice, it says, “I [blank] [blank].” In mine, it says, “I, Chip Ingram, commit to discover God’s calling for my life, so that I might fulfill His highest purposes in me, and through me, for His glory, and my joy.”
And what I want you to know, in your notes, it should not say, “I, Chip Ingram…” I mean, I know some of you are a little obsessive/compulsive, and want to make sure you get it right. But it should say, “I [your name]…”
And we’re going to close things up, and I really want you to discover your calling. And, by way of review, it’s, examine your S.H.A.P.E., get wise counsel, be willing to move out of your comfort zone, and then make a commitment.
I want you to know, God will show you. This is not like, Oh, gosh, this is going to be so hard. I wonder if God would show an ordinary, regular, eenie-weenie person, like me. He’s on the edge of the throne of heaven, going, “Come on! Come on! Come on! Mm-hmm, come on, baby! I’ll show you!”
Psalm 32:8 – a great verse I love, about God’s will: “I will lead you and instruct you in the way in which you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” “I’ll lead you. I’ll instruct you.” He wants you to find it!
You discover your calling – go back to the quote, okay? The very first quote: “It takes great courage for men and women to discover their calling” – great courage, why? – “After all, it may not be what you’re doing right now. And to face your calling squarely may cause some significant disruption in your life.” And I would add, in your finances, in your relationships, possibly in your location, your vocation. But you’ll never be sorry you did.
Has anyone had just a mild – just mild – intuition that I might be enjoying myself up here? I’m doing what God made me to do. His heart’s desire is that you do what He made you to do.