Discovering Who God Made You to Be
About the Guest
Is your job draining you? Maybe that's because you aren't using your natural gifts. Bill Hendricks, president of the Giftedness Center, tells what you can do to pinpoint your natural talents and start using your gifts to the glory of God.
Is your job draining you? Maybe that’s because you aren’t using your natural gifts. Bill Hendricks tells what you can do to pinpoint your natural talents and start using your gifts to the glory of God
Discovering Who God Made You to Be
Bob: In Ephesians, Chapter 2, verse 10, the Apostle Paul says that “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for works that He prepared for us beforehand that we should walk in them.” Author Bill Hendricks says that’s a verse we ought to spend some time really thinking about.
Bill: From eternity, God looks out on the 21st century. He sees certain good work that He wants done. He wants that good work done, not just in churches and ministries, He wants that good work done in every aspect of our economy. He wants good work in management, He wants good work in doing farming, and He wants good work in homemaking.
To get that done, what does He do? He dreams up a person—the person we now call by your name. You’re now the perfect tool, if you will, for those specific good works.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, February 24th.
Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So are you doing what God made you to do? We’re going to explore that idea today with Bill Hendricks. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. So when do you think you had figured out what you were good at?
Dennis: That’s a good question.
Bob: Do you think you knew in high school?
Dennis: No, no. I knew I was good at playing basketball.
Bob: You knew you were “good for nothing”—that’s what you knew. [Laughter]
Dennis: You’re not going to make a living, being as short as I was, at playing basketball. I would say—
Bob: Well, you were not just short, you were slow, too, so that’s one thing. [Laughter]
Dennis: I was very, very slow, and was not that good of a shot. But why bore people with the facts?! [Laughter]
Anyway, I would say it wasn’t until I was in my 30s / I think a good bit of the 20s—at least, in my life—was spent testing some things to find out what I didn’t want to do—
Dennis: —kind of eliminated—you know, the diagnosis / like a doctor does. I began to hone in and kind of sharpen it to say, “You know,”—by the time I got in my 20s, I thought—“I like this thing called leadership; and I like seeing people’s lives transformed/redeemed by the reality of coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
I also kind of look back on my own story—I was surrounded by family.
Bill: That helps a lot; doesn’t it?
Dennis: It really does help a lot when you look back and say, “You know, I was always surrounded by family.”
We’ve got a guest with us here—Bill Hendricks—who joins us again. Bill—welcome back.
Bill: Thank you.
Dennis: He’s the President of the Giftedness Center, a Dallas-based consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations and individuals be effective.
Dennis: We’re really talking about a verse of Scripture. I’m reading from different translations this week. This one—you can tell from this—is an old, old Bible—
Bill: It is.
Dennis: —the Amplified Bible.
Bob: This is the Bible where they find every possible meaning of the word and just throw it all in there so you get really long verses. [Laughter]
Dennis: You get really long verses—
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: —with lots of parentheses. If you don’t have an Amplified Bible in your library, you need to get one because, sometimes, it’s really healthy to pull this out and just kind of let the amplification of the Scriptures speak. I want to read one verse—Ephesians, Chapter 2, verse 10—which is the passage that comes right after the promise of how we are saved through faith in Christ and by grace alone. Verse 10 says: “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we might do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”
In essence, what this is saying is: “God’s got a plan for your life. He has gifted you to do certain things. So, it would really be in both God’s best interest and yours to figure out what your gifting is to be able to do that.” To help you in that, Bill has written a book called The Person Called You: Why You’re Here, Why You Matter, & What You Should Do with Your Life.
Bob: Is this your fingerprint that’s on the cover?
Bill: Fortunately not! [Laughter]
Bob: Just checking.
Bill: Fortunately not. [Laughter]
Dennis: Bill, take us to an individual that you helped—you helped them find out what they were specifically gifted to do.
Bill: Sure. I had a young man, who came to me three years out of law school. He was very discouraged—he had a lot of law school debt, he was at a failing law firm, and he hated life. Law doesn’t fit him and he thinks: “I’ve made a terrible choice and now I’m in debt. My life’s over. What else can I do besides law?”
So, I do the process that I do to help people determine their giftedness—
Bob: Well, let me stop you here, though.
Bob: You said you “do the process that you do.”
Bob: Can you describe what you did at all?
Bill: Yes, I had Alex tell me eight stories from his life about activities he has done that he’s enjoyed doing and he felt that he did well—going back to childhood and all the way to the present. Then, we analyze those stories. We discover there are all of these dots that connect among the stories—there’s a pattern of motivation and behavior that’s very consistent for him. At the heart of that consistent pattern was to coordinate people and projects—he took the most joy or satisfaction from that kind of a situation—but he was in law.
I said, “Look, I really think, for now, we’re going to just have to keep you in law and see where this goes.” Fortunately, God opened up a door. He got into a firm that was not failing—much bigger and it was stable—it was still far from a good fit.
About three years into it, he called me up one night / on a Friday night. He was all excited. I said, “What’s going on?” He said: “You’re not going to believe it! The guy, who’s head of the legal department, called me in today and said, ‘I want you to go home and figure out what your best use to this company’.” In other words, he was basically asking him to write his own job description.
Bill: He took the information that I had given him about his giftedness and he kind of put a job together. What he ended up doing was this: He went around the country to these local and regional firms that they hired to do the work and made sure that they were doing the work the way this firm wanted. Technically-speaking, this fellow was not practicing law—technically-speaking, he was doing what?
Bill: Coordinating people and projects.
Bill: He just knew enough about the law to be able to do that work. It’s a great picture of what happens when somebody really discovers, and then leans into their gifting, and trusts it, and exercises it. Opportunities come and they kind of move up the ladder of “fit,” if you will. I’ve seen that thousands of times.
Bob: Do most people, who are going to work today—
Bill: No! [Laughter]
Dennis: You knew the question!
Bill: I already know the question you’re going to ask. [Laughter]
Bob: Yes, are they doing what they were made to do?
Bill: Well, let’s let Gallup tell us what that is.
Bill: Gallup, since 2000, has kept track of what it calls “employee engagement.” Engagement means how emotionally-connected a person feels to their job. The latest statistics that they have are from 2012, and it’s the lowest it’s ever been.
Thirty percent of American workers feel engaged with their work—that means they really kind of like their job and gain energy from it—that means that 70 percent of American workers are unengaged/disengaged from their work.
Of those, 52 percent are what they call “unengaged,” which means they go to work, they get a paycheck, they do the work—but it’s just a job—they don’t put their heart into it. But then there’s 18 percent, who are what they call “actively disengaged.” Those people actually hate their job—they’re mad about it—and they are actually undermining the work that everybody else is doing.
Now, you stop and think about 70 percent of our work force is unengaged in their work. That probably means that 70 percent of our work force is in work that really doesn’t fit them.
Bill: And think of the economic cost of that because they’re not as productive. Think of the human cost of that! Think of the stress / think of the boredom. Think of the waste of human capital. Think of the things that they take home at the end of the day because they’ve been in conflict with their co-workers or their boss—they feel like they’re living a purposeless life.
I know you deal with families. My heart goes out to people who—when their father and/or mother come home—their mother or father has hated their job all day.
Bill: Well what kind of frame of mind does that bring to a parent?
Dennis: Okay, let’s talk about that person, who is listening to your description. They say: “That’s me! I’m stuck! Am I stuck here for the rest of my life?” What should that person do?—other than get a copy of your book, obviously, and begin to wade through this and do a bit of a diagnosis of what they’re gifted to do. Where should they start?
Bill: They start by figuring out what their gifts are. Then they start generating options of what kind of work would be meaningful. Look, if you’re in a bad-job fit, that doesn’t make you a bad person. It simply means there’s a mismatch between what the employer—who’s legitimately got a function they need done—what they expect and what you’re, made by God, to deliver. There’s a mismatch between those two.
The first and foremost step is: “Well, what kind of work should you be doing?” That’s all dependent on this gifting—so that’s the place to start. Having begun to discover something of that, you have to sort of look around at the options that are available and say, “Where might be a better fit?” Then, begin to try to move toward that. Now, if people are praying as they’re doing this, they can trust that, behind the scenes, God’s at work. God did not put you here on the planet to waste your life in work that really is not about you.
You read Ephesians 2:10—let me give you Bill’s sort of take on that. One of the take-aways I take from that verse is that—from eternity, God looks out on the 21st century. He sees certain good work that He wants done. He wants that good work done—not just in churches, and mission agencies, and ministries—He wants that good work done in every aspect of our economy.
Bill: He wants good work in finance; He wants good work in management; He wants good work in putting parts together; He wants good work in doing farming; and He wants good work in homemaking. He’s got all of this work that He’s got for humans to do. At any rate, He’s identified / certain of that and He says, “I want this done.” So, to get that done, what does He do? He dreams up a person—the person we now call by your name. At just the right point in time and space, He renders you, as it were, with His own hands. He fashions you—just like that verse says—you’re His handiwork—His made-thing / His crafted-thing. He put just the right pieces into you and you’re now the perfect tool, if you will, for those specific good works.
Your privilege now—having awakened to what this gifting is—is to then begin to ask: “Wow, Lord! If you’ve given me this, where might I begin to apply that? Where might I begin to deploy that for your purposes and also”—
—to be perfectly practical about it—“as a means of providing for myself?”
You know, in Genesis 1, the very first thing that God ever says to human beings is, “I want you to make the world fruitful.” The world, on its own, is not very fruitful—it just provides the raw resources—only humans can add value. Well, how do they do that? God has given to each person a means of adding value—that’s what we call your giftedness. Your giftedness is a means of making the world more fruitful—whatever that looks like—and then, that translates into getting paid so that you can meet your needs/and your family’s needs and you can be a self-supporting human being.
Dennis: So, I can hear the person right now, saying: “Okay, I hear what you’ve said.
“This is, ultimately, going to demand a huge massive step of faith and trust in God, as I pray and ask God to lead me, but step out of all the benefits—pay, vacation, number of years I’ve been there,”—maybe it’s tenure—maybe it’s insurance / health insurance, pension—golden handcuffs—they call it on Wall Street.
Dennis: You call these, in your book, traps.
Bill: They’re traps. Let’s face it—if you love your job, there’s a sense in which you would do it whether you got paid to do it or not. Well, what if you don’t love what you do? Unless the energy to do that comes from somewhere, you’re not going to stick around with that. Well, where do you think that energy tends to come from? The biggest source of it tends to be more money from the employer.
You asked the question: “So what does that person do?” And my answer is: “It all depends on how great the pain is.”
You see—in my work, many of the people that come my way are in significant pain. I had a woman come to me—she had been promoted so many times. They wanted her to be CEO / she had refused. She came into my office and said, “I’ve got to do something else.” I said: “Well, it sounds like you’ve been at this company for a long time. You must like it.” She said, “I hate it!” I said: “Really? Tell me about that.” She said: “Bill, every time I try to walk away, they offer me more money. I’m just at the point where I don’t care about the money anymore. I just can’t do this anymore—I’ve got to find out something else to do.”
This kind of gives the lie to this idea—it’s very prevalent in self-help books—where most people start with this discussion of what you should do with your life is to say, “If money were no object, what would you do?” as if the money is the key factor. Well, I can tell you—that’s not even the determining factor.
I had a guy call me up from San Antonio one day. He said: “Bill, I’ve got to come see you. I’ve got so much money I don’t know what to do with it all, but I don’t know what to do with my life.” This is what happens for people who cash-out and somehow end up independently wealthy. They’re still trying to figure out what they “really should be doing,”—“What was I born to do? What should I do when I grow up?”
I have some very wealthy people struggling with that issue—which tells me—that while money, yes, is a consideration, it is not the key to determining what you should be doing with your life. I’m afraid, unfortunately, the way our culture has worked—so many people have taken on those golden handcuffs. They got into work that maybe didn’t fit them, but they kept getting paid. Now, they’ve got the mortgage, and the private schools, and the second house. Boy, if they make any change in that, they’re going to have problems at home.
Bob: Let me take you to the other end of the spectrum, though—to the person who, in Bono’s words, “still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.”
Bob: He goes: “You know—I like watching TV; I like skateboarding; I like playing video games. I’m just not sure what I want to do.” What should he be doing while he’s trying to figure out what he wants to do?
Bill: Well, that’s a tough situation because somebody’s, who’s just kind of slacking off— I guess is the best way I can describe it—and sort of just playing, you have to ask: “How much pain they’re really in?” Somebody may have made it very, very comfortable for them—like their parents. I mean, this is one of the big problems for too many Millennials.
Bill: Their parents, in a sense, have made it too comfortable. That’s a complicated discussion—I don’t want to get too deep into it—but I’d say to that person: “Listen, we’re not talking about the path of least resistance or passive engagement in watching TV/something like that. We need to go back and find out where, if anywhere, we can find some instances where you actually spent time putting energy into something.
“We may have to go back to when you were a little kid and you played with LEGO®s,” for instance.
Bill: “We may have to go back and find that, when you were in eighth grade, you suddenly got a fascination with computers. You learned a little bit about computer programming, and you spent some time kind of trying to put together a little program, which you did for how to balance a checkbook,” or whatever it was.
Bill: If we can get even the simplest kind of activity that the person engaged in—where they put energy into it and they gained satisfaction from it—we now have somewhat of a basis to begin to tell some stories and then look for a pattern.
Dennis: I was thinking back to Bob’s question about what you do with the guy, who’s skateboarding, and watching video games, and movies, and TV, and who’s not on a mission—and I reflected back to—I don’t remember / early in my years, upon graduation—of memorizing a Proverb that talks about, “Consider the ant, o thou sluggard.” [Laughter]
Dennis: The phrase says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest”—and you can just picture a guy taking a nap in the morning, and a nap in the afternoon, and sleeping in the next day.
Bob: My daughter told me that was her life verse, at one point. [Laughter] She said: “That’s my life verse—‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.”
Dennis: I can just tell you that that verse got me off my duff on more than one occasion and go: “You know what? There’s destruction headed my way if I don’t consider the way of one of the smallest creatures on the planet.” I think, in some of these situations, the issue’s a spiritual issue.
Dennis: At its core, Bill, it’s someone who needs to take a step back and say: “Wait a second! God didn’t put you here to rust out. He put you here to wear out—
Dennis: —“being used by Him in the greatest commission ever given man—the Great Commission—the commandment to “Go and make disciples of all nations...”
I mean, we’re living in a country, right now, where the fires are burning all over the nation.
Dennis: I’m not talking about fires in California, and Oregon, and Washington—I’m talking about moral brushfires, where our country is breaking into pieces because of its lack of morality and lack of spiritual heritage. There’s an opportunity today to make a difference in young people’s lives and to invest your life, for Jesus Christ, as never before.
Bill: Well, I’m glad you mentioned, at the top of the show, this whole business about older people investing in the lives of younger people. You know, I wrote this book for two audiences—one was the person, who’s trying to figure out what to do with their lives—the second was for people who work with people who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives.
Bob: That would be parents, by the way!
Bill: Yes. I actually think that the latter audience is, in some ways, more important to me, right here, than the other because, if you don’t know what to do with your life—particularly, if you’re younger—you may never pick up this book.
But if you’re somebody who actually is paying attention to helping somebody figure out what to do with their life, you’re always looking for tools and resources. Well, this book is for you: You may be a college professor, or a pastor, or a youth worker / you may work in a college ministry; you may be a counselor; you may just be somebody in a company and you see a younger person, who’s been hired recently, and you think: “You know, they have potential. But they really need to figure out who they are,”—you kind of have a heart for them.
Well, this is a tool that you can use. In the back of the book, there’s an exercise which, frankly, is an abridged version of a much larger exercise on my website that will help you take somebody through this process of telling stories and looking for patterns. If you really want more about how to do that process, I’ve actually put together some training materials on my website for what I call “Giftedness Coaches.” You can actually get a little bit of orientation on that process so that you get that much better at doing it.
My vision is to raise up an army of what I call “Giftedness Coaches,” which is essentially mentors. If I could do that, I could change a generation.
Bob: We’ve got a link, on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. If folks would like to learn more about the resources you have available or about becoming a “Giftedness Coach,” they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says, “GO DEEPER.” They’ll find a link to your website that they can click on to get more information about all that you have to offer.
They can also order a copy of the book, The Person Called You. The subtitle is Why You’re Here, Why You Matter, & What You Should Do with Your Life. We’d love to send a copy of that book to you. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-358-6329; that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Ask about Bill Hendricks’ book, The Person Called You, when you get in touch with us.
You know, earlier this month, you and I had the opportunity, Dennis, to be at Weekend to Remember® getaways. You were out in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and I was in Colorado Springs. Whenever we go to one of these events, I will typically have somebody pull me aside and say, “We listen to you on FamilyLife Today.” Often, folks will add: “We’re Legacy Partners. We help support the ministry of FamilyLife on a monthly basis.”
It’s so encouraging to meet folks who are a kindred spirit with you—who share the same passion you have to see practical biblical help for marriages and families made available to young couples, who may be struggling in the early years of a marriage, or to young families, who are trying to figure out parenting and how to make marriage and family work the way God designed it to work.
Those of you who are Legacy Partners—we are grateful for your partnership with us. We could not do all we do, here at FamilyLife Today,without you. In fact, over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a number of new Legacy Partners sign on to help us with the ongoing costs of producing and syndicating this daily radio program and operating our website and our mobile apps.
We’re grateful for those of you who have joined recently as new Legacy Partners. We’d like to extend that same offer to everybody listening today: “Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I CARE.” Be one of the families in your community that makes FamilyLife Today available for everybody else.”
When you sign on, as a Legacy Partner, we will send you our new welcome kit. We will keep you in touch with us, throughout the year, and let you know what’s happening, here at FamilyLife Today—you become a part of the team. So, again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “I CARE,” in the upper right-hand corner and become a Legacy Partner.
Or call if you need more information: 1-800-FL-TODAY is our toll-free number—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, we’re going to continue to examine how we can know better what it is that God is calling us to do. Bill Hendricks joins us again tomorrow as we continue the conversation. I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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