The Knitting of a Human Soul
The Psalmist describes the creation of a human soul with the imagery of "knitting":
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:13-14, ESV)
While it is possible, we know, to knit a one-color scarf, the more interesting knitting patterns call for multiple colors. I like to think of the knitting that produces a unique human being as having two strands:
- the inward strand of our personality - what is uniquely ours
- the outward strand of our environment - the context that has shaped us
The Inward Strand of Calling
One of the greatest joys of my life has been to gaze upon the souls of fearfully and wonderfully made human souls. Whenever my clients and friends have dared to reveal to me their innermost being, my response is the same as the Psalmist -- "Wonderful are God's works."
This first strand of personality and giftedness is the foundation of our calling to serve humankind. We serve out of who we are.
The Outward Strand of Calling
The second strand of our calling is our external environment - the places we have found ourselves and what has happened there. Our experiences contribute to our understanding of our calling. As a psychologist once shared, "Experience shapes Psychology." Some of our life experiences are life-giving, supporting our confidence. Other experiences wound and leave scars.
We do not live out our divine calling in a vacuum; we lift up our eyes and look out at the world around us. We open our ears to hear what is calling out to us to be done.
Only when the inward strand of who we are is knit with the outward strand of where we are will the full vision of our calling be made clear.
Reflect on these words by Frederick Beuchner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” What is your deep gladness? Which of the world's deep hungers most moves you to action?
What is your most apparent gift? What are your strengths? What distinguishes you from others?
What have been the three most impactful experiences of your life? How do they shape your sense of mission in the world?
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