Set Apart


“What are you good at? Is there something you would love to do?”

When Miriam, the facilitator of our team-building exercise asked these questions, I didn’t have an answer. Here I was, thirty-two years old and I didn’t know what I was good at or enjoyed.

I’d never had the courage or time to think about what I loved to do. Instead, up until that point, I had tried to do what others wanted, expected, or needed me to do. And I was pretty good atthat.

But I was fairly miserable, too.

After I fumbled for an answer and recovered from the embarrassment of my lack, we took a break for lunch. Sliding up beside me, Miriam encouraged me to ask God what He created me to do and what would give me joy, if I did it.

I wasn’t designed to be who others expect me to be or want me to be. I was created to be all God planned and purposed for me to be. {tweet this}

This is one of the truths Miriam shared with me that day, and then she suggested I take time to discover my passions, abilities and spiritual gifts. In the weeks that followed, I took her advice and completed a spiritual gifts assessment.{PDF Download}

Immediately, I recognized strengths and abilities that came naturally to me and sensed there was a reason God made me who I am, with my mixed bag of passions and preferences. It was the first step toward getting to know the woman God created me to be.

Looking back 15 years later, I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish I had known the promise of Jeremiah 1:5, where God says:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart” {NLT}.

Just like God called and equipped the prophet Jeremiah to be His mouthpiece to the Israelites, He has a specific call and gifting for each of us. And He establishes both before we are even born.

Isn’t it easy to neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly. But in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God has gifted us and set us apart — to serve and thrive.

Do you know what God has wired you to be good at and what you to love to do?

I’m sharing more of what I’m learning over on (in)courage today. Click here to keep reading and join me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.