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Friday, August 3, 2012

Examined

Plato, quoted Socrates in the Apology, ascribing to his teacher these words, “…the unexamined life is not worth living…” [38a].  That quote has been used by John Eldredge, Gary Barkalow, me, and others to reinforce the need to reflect on what we are doing with our lives, to make sure that what we do, how we steward the life that God has given us is invested most fully in the service of the One who gave life.  Psalm 139, says the same thing, but amps up the notion exponentially.
If we examine our lives and find that we have been using our gifts and abilities incorrectly.  How doe we deal with that as believers?
For the past decade I have been associated with Dave Jewitt and his ministry Your One Degree.  The purpose of YOD is to examine your life to find out how God has uniquely designed you, so that you can steward that design most effectively for His glory.  Dave has taken me through this process kicking and screaming over several years, long, long story.  We have worked together in and through this and in the past few months he asked me to help him train One Degree coaches.  Working on that project was the context for reviewing Daloz’s book that I mentioned a few days ago.  In reading through chapter 3 on developmental models, several lights came on for me.  First, it became crystal clear why a ministry in which I was involved for nearly a decade pushed my wife and me away.  Second, as I thought through all of the roles I have filled since then, it dawned on me that none of those roles fit my design.  Essentially, I have lived my life as a square peg in a round hole.

On the surface, that could be somewhat discouraging.  But that is where Psalm 139 kicks in with all of its power and glory.  Verses 1 – 6 are especially comforting.  The Psalm tells me in no uncertain terms that God has been intimately engaged in not only my design but in all of the ways in which He has honed that design, including having the square peg in the round hole.  As I think through all of those experiences a pattern emerges of skills and experiences that I have processed through the way God has designed me and am not using in all that I do.

The bottom line here is that although I am a steward of the life He has given me, the stewardship is not primarily to maximize my impact.  Rather it is to maximize the glory of the One who created, honed, and employs that design.

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