As I think back to all the mishaps Gator had during the almost-2-years he was with us I can't help but draw a life lesson from it. The first day he was with us, he OD'd on Clorox Clean-Up and ended up at the vet overnight. Soon after that, he tore up the trampoline safety net, the sandbox and several chew toys. Then came the time he swallowed a pair of Lydia's socks whole and shortly after that he ate a pair of underwear (that's a long story). Then he graduated to the big leagues... eating the padded bench seat in the boat and the padded seat in the ATV. He destroyed 3 "Jolly Balls" which are HORSE toys, ate several crepe myrtles and split a water hose into about 10 smaller ones. These are just some of the highlights of his time with us and doesn't include the numerous knock-downs of the kids and bruises that covered my legs.
Why was he so destructive? Why was he such a nuisance?
I know why... he was not living his purpose! He's a Catahoula Cur; a dog bred to hunt and herd. He's a dog that requires lots of exercise and attention. He wasn't hunting, herding, exercising and apparently not getting enough attention. And so without a purpose, without a job, he was destructive and misdirected. He used his energies and "talents" in places where they weren't needed. He used up his energy for negative ventures.
I realize it's no different with people. God has given each Christian gifts and has a purpose for each one of us. When we spend our time serving in areas that God doesn't intend for us, we waste the gifts we've been given and can sometimes cause more trouble than good.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (Living Bible Translation):
8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; someone else may be especially good at studying and teaching, and this is his gift from the same Spirit. 9 He gives special faith to another, and to someone else the power to heal the sick. 10 He gives power for doing miracles to some, and to others power to prophesy and preach. He gives someone else the power to know whether evil spirits are speaking through those who claim to be giving God’s messages—or whether it is really the Spirit of God who is speaking. Still another person is able to speak in languages he never learned; and others, who do not know the language either, are given power to understand what he is saying. 11 It is the same and only Holy Spirit who gives all these gifts and powers, deciding which each one of us should have.
There have been times in my life when I served in a ministry that I knew I wasn't gifted in. I was miserable and complained about it a lot. I wasn't very good at what I was doing and it made me really uncomfortable. I burned a lot of calories doing something that God never intended for me. And I know a lot of others who are in or have been in the same situation. We can't say "no" and so we get involved in things that God hasn't equipped us for and that God doesn't intend for us. And sadly I know of even more people who aren't serving anywhere and the gifts God has given them are tucked away inside, wasting away. Those are probably the people most like Gator. The ones not serving at all; they are putting time and effort into other areas of their lives - work, kids, "stuff" and are completely unfulfilled.
I feel strongly that in early 2013 God told me not to serve, specifically not to get back into teaching, which is what I really wanted. But he intended 2013 to be a year of rebuilding and abiding in Him, continuing to learn the lessons he had for me. And now with only a few days left I am dying to know what 2014 will bring! I know that teaching and leadership are my strongest gifts and maybe that's why God has allowed me to write these last couple of years - to fulfill those gifts to some degree. I am excited and hopeful about what's ahead and I'm praying that I will be keenly aware of what he wants me to do at exactly the right time.
I know that the Kings and Queens Project (check us out on Facebook) will be something that God will use in 2014. I pray that the KQP will be the way that God shows my children what gifts and service are all about - and maybe even that they may start to realize their gifts. If you aren't on Facebook check out this video to see what God started for KQP in 2013:
Underwear Affair Video
I really hope that anyone reading this will take an inventory of activities and resolve in 2014 to find the exact place that God wants you and that God has gifted you for. My greater hope is that you're already there!