October 30, 2012

Designed on Purpose

When I was a girl, I fretted over my lips. Why were they so thin? But my music educator father-in-law later explained the reason without even knowing I’d been concerned: “Your embouchure is perfect for French horn. No wonder you can play so beautifully.” And it was true; I’d played the horn for years, and it had come easily despite everyone else’s perception that it’s the “hardest” instrument.

Later, I wondered why I couldn’t have a soaring, attention-grabbing soprano voice like my friend Lynn’s. But not long ago, it hit me that God has given me the gift of harmonizing instead. Thus, my voice blends seamlessly with others and adds rich texture to songs. And I’ve been told that the resulting mix deepens the worship experience for those in a congregation.

I’m not alone in having pondered and worried about why I’ve been created as I have. We’ve all done it. Of course, in the best-case scenario, we each eventually put the pieces together, realizing how we’ve been created on purpose for specific purposes that no one else can fulfill in quite the same way.

Sadly, though, many adults never come to such understanding. Instead, they spend their whole lives feeling as if they don’t measure up to someone else’s standard rather than doing their best to maximize and celebrate their own unique giftedness. What a terrible tragedy!

Hopefully, we can help our struggling peers work through their insecurities; my family and several dear, supportive friends have played that role in my life, sometimes without even knowing it. But the other question is: How can we prevent such angst for the children in our lives?

We might not always know the purpose for all of a child’s attributes and propensities. But we need to help him brainstorm possible positive reasons for things that bother him about himself, leading him to understand that God doesn’t make mistakes.

For example, my older daughter cannot memorize spelling words in the traditional way. As a result, she has sometimes felt “dumb” when she hears her sister rattle off correct spellings at will. But I’m determined to help her see herself through God’s eyes, so we’ve asked Him for wisdom, and we’ve realized we can use her right-brained, picture-smart strengths to her advantage. She’s not dumb; her brain is simply wired differently than her sister’s. We then used that knowledge to institute a method for memorization tasks that suits her. And we’ve consciously celebrated the fact that her picture-smart strength explains her amazing artistic abilities.

God has a plan for how He chose to create my daughter, and I’m doing everything I can to help her see it now, so she doesn’t worry for years that she’s somehow “inadequate.” What about you? How are you helping a child in your life see the purposes behind how he’s been designed? 

Photo Credit: photoholic1


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