God made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.

– Eric Liddell

This week in the Forge we set out to discover what it is for us that makes us feel God’s pleasure, what makes us come alive in the fullest sense. With the help of Bill Hendricks, author of “The Person Called You”, we explored a phenomenon known as giftedness. Giftedness, or the way in which you function, is an instinctive and enduring motivational and behavioral pattern present from birth. Giftedness is unique to each individual and points to a specific design and purpose. As you can imagine, we were very eager to obtain any clues regarding who we are and what we’re doing here (questions that have been circulating since our swift immersion into the program).

After our first ever P2 (prayer and physical fitness for those of you unfamiliar with Forge lingo), Bill explained to us the exercise that we would employ to demystify our own giftedness. Then the fun began. We partnered up, taking turns exchanging stories throughout our lives of activities that we have done well and enjoyed doing. From winning an ice cream eating contest to surviving a close encounter with wolves on a solo campout, all stories were worthy of attention. At first, it felt silly. We struggled to put into words just what about these moments made them so energizing and ingrained in our minds. But eventually, the mood of the room changed as memories and experiences were spoken, sometimes even for the first time. Bill pointed out the light in our partners’ eyes that flickered on as they reflected, mentally traveling back to the high school gym, living room, or mountain where their story took place. While we weren’t the ones telling the story, we scribbled down notes, not wanting to let a single detail escape.

Lots of laughs and a quick lunch break later, we regrouped and began to summarize and analyze our giftedness stories. We picked out and recorded the abilities, subjects, and circumstances that made up each experience. Next, we looked for patterns. The key here was scanning for repetitions, reoccurring verbs and subjects that just kept showing up. It was amazing, almost uncanny, how phrases resurfaced despite the unrelated nature of our stories. The patterns gave us insight to our giftedness and natural inclinations. Some of us were proven to be generators, finding satisfaction in planning, organizing, and displaying new ideas. Others of us take the role of conquerors, motivated by the challenge of overcoming danger and obstacles. Fears arose out of concern that perhaps our own giftedness might be too hard, boring, or insignificant. Yet, in the midst of these fears, we were reminded of truth. The best apart about giftedness: It is a gift!

God has so generously and intentionally chosen us and prepared good works for us to walk in, works that bring glory to him and delight to us. As we walk in these gifts, choosing to live out of our inborn strengths rather than artificially imitating those we admire, we reflect aspects of our creator in minuscule, but beautiful ways, remembering that we aren’t the ultimate beneficiaries of our gifts. We have been made agents of God’s grace, the aroma of Christ. And boy are we excited to run.

By Bonnie Patterson, Class of 2017