I have been struggling with who I am as a person. Though I have advanced far in my journey toward wholeness and freedom, there are still some things—particularly my introverted tendencies—with which I struggle. I found an article in Guideposts magazine about overcoming depression, written by a woman who had difficulties going to the grocery store! Of course, this caught my attention. I now had written documentation that I was not the only one who suffered with this embarrassing, heart-breaking dilemma.
Two other points in the article also spoke to me. The author asserted that God had made her introverted and that being introverted is okay. She also emphasized that she has had to accept herself as she is and not as she wishes to be. She writes, “The very things I like least about myself, indeed, may be those He values most” (Sherrill 64). What a novel thought. It is okay that I am content to sit at home and pray and write cards. Lately, I have felt the most urgent need to write prayers, words of encouragement, words of wisdom, and Scriptures to my children and grandchildren. (Now, if I sat at home all day every day and never left the house, that would be a whole other story. Rest assured that even though I spend more time at home now than in previous years, I still spend intentional time with my friends.)
I broached this issue with my counselor, and she shared with me the concept of analyzing my SHAPE as a person. SHAPE is an acronym representing different aspects of one’s being. As we talked and she quizzed me in depth about my likes and preferences, my SHAPE emerged:
S—Spiritual Gifts Teaching and encouragement
E—Experiences of Life Molestation, my children’s struggles
Wow! I look at that list and feel such freedom. Because I have a passion for praying for my children and others, it is okay that I am being more diligent, organized, and intentional about doing it. Don’t writers go away to be by themselves to write and painters slip away to be alone to paint? So I have permission to find a quiet place to pray and to write cards of encouragement to those whom God brings to my mind. It is okay for me to forego buying conventional souvenirs when we take trips and to get thinking-of-you cards instead. My family thinks I am a little nutty now, but that is okay with me because I am becoming more and more content with the person God created me to be.
What about you? Are you depressed about your SHAPE because all you see are weaknesses or undesirable traits? Do you ever wish you could be someone else, or not have had the life experiences that God allowed in your life? Remember that even my molestation and all the problems it has caused over the years are part of my SHAPE now, and God can use even that.
Read this verse carefully, looking at it phrase by phrase. Colossians 3:15 assures us with, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from the Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts—deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds—(in that peaceful state) to which (as members of Christ’s) one body you were also called (to live). And be thankful—appreciative, giving praise to God always” (Amplified Bible).
Friend, embrace the peaceful soul harmony of knowing that God created you to be the SHAPE that you are. Once you know and accept yourself as He created you, those questions are settled forever and you can live in the way He designed you to live. But always remember to give Him praise for His infinite grace, mercy, and wisdom in your life. How I pray that we can settle the matter in our hearts and live in the peace that Christ has for us. I am praying for you even now.
Blessings – Lisa
Elizabeth Sherrill, Guideposts, April 2014, pp. 60-64
SHAPE: developed by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church