Not only are the seemingly negative aspects of your life (such as a traumatic family history) a part of God’s custom design to form you into the person He desires you to be, but the “positive” aspects are also part of God’s good and intentional design. That sounds like a no-brainer, but how many of us find ourselves wishing that we had someone else’s gifting or someone else’s experience or someone else’s personality? We might downplay our skills, thinking “Anyone can do that!” Or we might see a certain aspect of our personality as a liability rather than an asset. Or maybe we’re comfortable with how God has made us, but we don’t see how that could be useful for God’s Kingdom.
My kitchen got remodeled a few years ago, and as part of the remodel, we put in new cabinets. Those cabinets were customized for the particular layout and design of our new kitchen, but they were also customized for particular functionality. Drawers were placed strategically according to what utensils would be located there. Some cabinets were equipped with pull-out shelves to accommodate larger pots and pans. The spacing of the pantry shelves was designed to allow for larger items on the lower shelves. A couple of the upper cabinets got glass doors so that what is inside would be visible. Some “wasted space” next to the stove was converted to a narrow cabinet for flat baking sheets. The custom design was not just about how they looked but about equipping them for the function they would serve.
In the same way, the personality and skills and gifting and experience that God has given you is not just for your sake—to make you special and unique. It is that, but it is also more than that. God has customized those characteristics in you to equip you to carry out the particular mission for which He has designed you. The Bible uses the imagery of a physical body to explain how God sees the interworking of all those who belong to Him. Each individual Christian has a function that is vital for the proper working of the Body. You—and I—are designed by our Maker to fulfill a function in the Body of Christ that no one else can do. We are custom-equipped for a particular mission.
God has a reason for making me an introvert. Humanly speaking, it seems like it would make more sense in my role as a pastor to be a little more extroverted, but God allows me to connect with certain people in a particular way because I am introverted. My personality is designed specifically for the mission He has called me to. God has also given me a gift of approachableness—people seem to find it easy to share deeply with me. On more than a few occasions, total strangers have out-of-the-blue started sharing their problems with me, just because I looked at them or smiled. That gift (even if sometimes it’s uncomfortable) is part of God’s custom design that makes me effective in discipleship. Over the past 2+ years since our adoption of Anah, I have met more people affected by disability than I ever had before. The experience that God is giving me in struggling to care for a daughter with special needs is opening doors to carry out the mission of discipleship God has designed me for.
God has a mission for you as well—a unique function for you to carry out within His Body the Church. The personality, gifting, experience, and skills He has given to you are not randomly bestowed, but are custom-designed to equip you for that particular mission. So pay attention to the unique ways that God has shaped you, because in that He might be revealing something of the mission to which He has called you.