Go. Find. Use.

We have a history, this girl and I.  A. R. (I gave her that pen name, thank you very much!) and I have weathered 25 years of friendship.  She isn’t lying when she talks about being an observer.  I’ve benefited from her insight on human nature, intimacy with God, and insanely funny sense of humor. Without further ado: A. R. Hamilton on community.

Community Series

Go. Find. Use.  by A.R. Hamilton

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. {Colossians 2:2&3}

I must start this with a confession, one that is necessary for two reasons. What I am about to tell you is something that needs to be brought to light, for it is the ammo that my treasonous flesh offers to the enemy. But that is not the only reason, for if it was, I fear that I might not tell you. The second reason I must admit this is because it is also the thing that God uses the most for good in the community that I reside in—the place where I gather for fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is this strength called individualization. (It’s from the strengths finder test – reference for those of you who have taken this test, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s insignificant, keep reading.)

The people who have this strength are keen observers, noticing the uniqueness of each individual and the strengths that they bring to the table. This person not only notices these things in people, but they enjoy gathering this information; they enjoy observing how each person thinks, builds relationships, and finds motivation.

I have this strength. So I both innately and intentionally, for I really do enjoy it, notice little things about people, particularly my friends. However, I have been made aware that it is not just my friends.

In the last two weeks, there have been two individuals who, I must admit, I don’t know very well, even though they reside in my community and have for quite some time now. In my last encounters with both of these individuals, I noticed that something was wrong. I noticed that they were not “okay.” Initially, however, I did not approach either of them about this.

For two reasons: As I said, we are not close. But also, I feared that in approaching them I might discover that I was wrong. For I couldn’t help but also note how seemingly “okay” they seemed to the others. The first individual ended up confirming my suspicion by later sharing what was going on. The second, however, I asked.

After a long talk about the hardships she has been facing, she thanked me for asking; she especially thanked me for noticing. And as I walked away, I couldn’t help but give credit to God. Not out of modesty, but because He had made me very aware that it had nothing to do with anything that I did. It was the strangest thing – noticing something so personal in someone that I barely knew.

Members of God

My point. This strength gives me two things. First, it gives me the God given ability to know the specific way that someone needs to be encouraged in that moment – insight to what it is that would build them up. But also, it gives me the insight as to what it is that would tear them down. Since I am both flesh and Spirit, gathering both of those things in my observance of others comes natural to me.

Actually my point. We each have a strength that I believe He uses the most in order to build up the members of our communities. The communities that we are all commanded to not just reside in, but go to for the encouragement that we need to keep running this race, to keep fighting for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Within each of us He has planted a gift that He intended us to use to encourage the hearts of others, to unite us together with love, and to bring us into understanding the full riches and mysteries of God.

For, just as we each have a unique gift, we each have a unique relationship with Him; no one knows God in the specific way that we personally do. By sharing that relationship in our community, and using the gifts that are a part of that relationship, together we gain a better understanding of Him. We become a place where hearts are healed and souls are set free from the bondage of sin. We become a force to be reckoned with. We become the tangible members of God.

My petition to you: find your strength and figure out how He wants you to use it. If you do not know, ask Him. He will tell you, I promise. For it is the desire of His heart that we use this gift how He intended us to.

Join the conversation! What are your strengths?  How do you see God using them for good in your community? Are there ways your strengths go rouge?

A.R. HamiltonA.R. Hamilton is almost finished with her second Masters Degree from California State University San Bernardino.  When she’s done, she’ll have an MA in Education with a focus in curriculum and instruction and concentration in English and an MA in Composition and Rhetoric.  When she’s not in school, A.R. is mentoring high school girls or learning more about personality types.

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