A large portion of my life has been spent wishing I was different. I am an introvert, but I desperately wanted to be an extrovert. I am responsible and need routine, but I really want to be carefree and spontaneous. I overthink just about everything, but I wish I could just want accept things as they are. I used to think God made a mistake when he made me the way I am. How could I ever be an effective witness when I’m anxious, insecure, and soft spoken? I’m not charismatic. I’m not an eloquent speaker. I don’t stand out. When I measured myself against other people it was difficult to accept who I was. All I could see was what I wasn’t, and what I should be.
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”Samuel 16:7
It took a while before I realized that I wasn’t walking through life alone. Jesus had always been walking with me. I was just too focusing on everyone else.
Even though the world told me I wasn’t enough, Jesus loved me just as I was. I needed to start looking at myself through his eyes.
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.1 Corinthians 12:14-20
After reading 1 Corinthians I finally understood the truth. God doesn’t just accept me as I am, he made me as I am to fulfill my purpose. I can’t fulfill your purpose and you can’t fulfill mine. We are all vastly different, which is a good thing!
God supplied each of us with unique abilities to fulfill a special purpose. When our eyes are focused on those around us, we fail to see our own God given gifts. These gifts, which are special and unique, point us towards our purpose. If we fail to recognize them our purpose may go unfulfilled.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.1 Corinthians 12:4-11
This passage from 1 Corinthians is a reminder that we are given different gifts for different reasons. I don’t have to be a perfect person to be an effective instrument. In fact, our short-comings allow God’s power to be displayed through us.
I thought about that as I read the gospel account of calling the disciples. The first four disciples called were fishermen. They were non-distinct, uneducated, common men. But they were also respectable, hardworking, and ready to drop everything to follow Jesus. They became the foundation of the early Christian Church and their words are full of wisdom.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.Acts 4:13
God doesn’t ask me to be perfect before he will use me because it’s not about me. It’s about him! If I recognize my God-given gifts for his purpose, then light can shine through me. We serve God best when we align our gifts with his purpose.