We were talking about the book I'm reading right now, "Cure for the Common Life," by Max Lucado. The book is about finding your Sweet Spot--your purpose--your reason to be--and with the start of a new year my friend was giving this some thought so I told her about the book. One way to find clues to our Sweet Spot is by thinking back to what we did naturally as a child when we had time on our hands. The book says that what we loved to do then may well hold the key to the gifts we have to share with the world now.
Childhood; you would think it would be a carefree time--a time of play, exploration, and dreams--a happy time of innocence and wonder. That's what God intended it to be--and although for a fortunate few it is, all too often it is much harder than that. So many people can't even remember a lot of their childhood.
She thought for a moment, and her words were casual as she shared a memory that came back suddenly, relatively recently--a glimmer in the fog of forgetfulness that was her childhood. She told me how she remembered going to Sunday School as a child--but it was what she did afterwards that she wanted to tell me about. After coming home she would slip downstairs into the basement as soon as she could, without being seen. Down in the cold unfinished space with the cement floor and cement block walls, she would line up her dolls and teach them the lesson she had just learned, mimicking the teacher. She did this in secret, too insecure and afraid of being laughed at to let anyone see what she was doing.
"I grew up in a normal home," she said, "It was really called survival. I taught the dolls in secret--it was not a confidence building home."
Funny how a few words can have such an impact--as these did on me. I thought of a little girl who had a gift, a God given passion to teach, but whose home was not a safe place to reveal who she was.
I thought of the fact that God places his own image within each human being and that he designs and forms each one of us personally, into unique gifts to the world. And I thought about an adversary who is bent on actively opposing everything God intends for a life.
Here's to unwrapping "the gift" that we are meant to be. Here's to recognizing that there are two agendas for our lives and choosing God's! And here's to never crushing the gift in anyone else.
Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)
by Eugene H. Peterson
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.