Child with painted hands

Pastor Kerry Shook and his wife, Chris, have been married 25 years and have four children. They are the founders of Woodlands Church, formerly Fellowship of The Woodlands, in l993. This is an excerpt from their New York Times bestselling book, One Month to Live—Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life which is now available in paperback.

After we realize and embrace the way our Creator works in deliberate, beautiful and intricate designs, then we can turn and look at ourselves. We can direct the telescope back at ourselves and discover our true identities. We can realize how we’re made to accomplish His purposes. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

To make this discovery and live in light of it you must gravitate to your strengths. Donald O. Clifton in his book, Living Your Strengths, says from a very young age we are taught to be “well rounded.” Our ticket to our teacher’s approval is to soften our sharp edges, to become smooth and well rounded. According to Clifton, however, what we’re often taught is how to become as dull as we can possibly be. We’re taught to play it safe, to be compliant, to follow convention and tradition, to color inside the lines and to stay inside the box.

God never meant for us to be well rounded. He has gifted each of us uniquely, and no one has all the talent, no matter how it might appear. We’re to focus on what we’re good at and let go of what we’re not good at. I am not a good singer—just ask anyone who knows me!  I could spend all my time taking voice lessons and auditioning for American Idol but I would only go from bad to lousy. Instead I’ve focused on the key areas in which God has gifted me, and I’ve tried to develop them. I’m always working at being a better writer and communicator. It’s an insult to God when we focus on the gifts and passions we don’t have and try to develop only our weak areas. Our greatest potential lies in the areas of our greatest strengths.

How do we begin to know who we are in life? No matter the stage were in—student, young adult, single, married, new parents, empty nesters, seniors—we can all learn more about who God made us to be by focusing on Him. As we develop a closer relationship with God, we become more like Him, thwarting our Enemy’s attempts to steal our identity. When we look to our Creator as the source of who we are, we can shine brighter than any star in the night sky.

One Month to LiveExcerpted from One Month to Live by Kerry and Chris Shook Copyright © 2008 by Kerry Shook. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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