Uniquely Crafted | Wisdom of Ants
Leave it to God who uses the weak things of this world to humble the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27) to teach me so much from…ANTS! Would you march alongside me? If so, here are paths to explore:
- Why are we urged to consider ants on our wisdom quest?
- What might it be like to live as an ant?
- Am I a sluggard? Do I really need the help of an ant?
- How can I apply specific advice from the verse today?
My Responsibilities, Upon Consideration of the Ant
- Speak life.Why words matter.
- Keep marching. Keep doing the work assigned to me and know it is vital.
- Protect My King. Our actions reflect on our King.
Continuing along the responsibility path, I must accept and respond to the fact that
An Ant’s Perspective
Each species of ant (and varying workers within the same species) possesses unique physical characteristics suited for the specific role they must live out to survive.
Uniquely Crafted Ant Features
- Mexican Leptogenys release a scent that attracts pill bugs, the mainstay of their diets (Moffett, 2010).
- Leafcutter ants use serrated mandibles to cut through leaves that they use as fertilizer to grow fungus (Holbrook, 2009).
- Cephalotes block entrances using their manhole-shaped heads (Gilbert, 2014).
- Ant queens and drones have wings for mating and locating a new nest (Terminix).
I am uniquely trained and equipped for my purpose that God laid out for me. Read more about this in our first of a three-part series on the story of David and Goliath: "Diving with David".
Evidence of Giants of Faith from the BibleWe see in Hebrews 11, examples of people uniquely crafted for their purpose:
- Abel to produce a pleasing sacrifice (Hebrews 11:4).
- Noah to build an ark (Hebrews 11:7).
- Abraham to trust God to uphold His promises (Hebrews 11:8, 17-19).
- Sara to believe the impossible and deliver in faith (Hebrews 11:11).
- Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph to follow God’s countercultural will (Hebrews 11:20-22).
- Moses to reject known family for God’s family (Hebrews 11:23-25).
- Rahab to betray her people for God’s people (Hebrew 11:31).
Verses to Encourage
These verses remind me that I too was intentional. Every part of me was carefully crafted by God for a reason. I hope they also speak to you:
- Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (KJV)
- Psalm 139:14 – I praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (KJV)
- Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (KJV)
Ant Mode Challenge:
Arguably, as followers of God, it’s easy to say our purpose is to worship our King. And it is, for all of us. But HOW we do it looks different for each of us.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility serious. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. (Romans 12:6-8, NLT)
Step One: Identify Your Unique Crafting
I always hated that activity where you’re asked to identify your talents. I would always put the same ones – piano, baking, listening to others, determination – but it never felt “right.” It seemed to me like some people were uniquely crafted and told what their purpose was from birth, while I kept waiting for that voice from on high to descend on me with a light and doves telling me precisely what my purpose is and how to do it. I’m still waiting. Chances are, you are too.
Identify Your Gifts
If we’re looking for spiritual gifts, then perhaps a good place to start is with considering the list from above. Mark the descriptors (mentally, print it off, or copy it down) of spiritual gifts that match your equipping (from Romans 12:6-8).
|For you paper and pencil thinkers (that's me!) print off your companion guide to work through this Ant Mode Challenge.|
- Prophesy (communicating revealed truth from God, speaking God’s message; NOT foretelling events)
- Serve (ministry, provide for practical needs – food & medical)
- Teach (direct, admonish, explain, instruct)
- Encourage (exhort, comfort, invite, call near, advise, motivate)
- Give (share, contribute)
- Lead (rule, authorize, preside, stand before, attend, manage, regulate, administer, mediate)
- Be kind (show mercy, care for others, visit, offer succor, help, extend compassion, give care)
Step Two: Accept Who You Are
Two pieces of advice I have for this are:
- Don’t compare. You weren’t made to be anyone but who you are. Love others for who they are, but don’t ever get trapped thinking you need to be them. Because you don’t. The world needs YOU.
- Love yourself. I’ve come to learn this one the hard way. I believed that to truly love others, you don’t love yourself - that you must sacrifice yourself for others. But the truth is, if we are to love others as ourselves, we must first know how to love ourselves.
Step Three: Pursue Your Intended Purpose
Every box checked above is followed with responsibility - that we are to DO IT and DO IT WELL. Perhaps our purpose is not a specific job title. Perhaps our purpose is to practice using those gifts we’ve been given by grace and to learn to use them well.
Likely, you already are. The idea of gifting and calling sometimes makes me feel like a transformative moment is imperative. I don’t think it is, and I think that believing it is inhibits us.
To step out into your purpose: be who you are, where you are. Believe that you are WHO you are because of divine intended purpose and that God already has great plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). So, look around. You are WHERE you are for a reason.
- Step out in faith. Believe what you do matters and that He is working in you and through you (Psalm 32:8).
- Focus on quality. Do the best you can where you can.
- Fix your eyes on God. When things go well and when things go poorly, never forget the God who loves you (Hebrews 12:2).
Verses to Encourage
These verses help me keep marching on in my purpose; I hope they do the same for you.
- Galatians 6:5 For each of you have to carry your own load. (GNT)
- Acts 20:28 So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his son. (GNT)
- Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. (GNT)
As I went to start writing this article, I hit a roadblock. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to write it, and doubted I was qualified to write it. I wondered if it would even matter. Is the struggle worth it? Will it even make a difference?
Does it ever feel like opposition is proportional to purpose?
Like the more you’re supposed to do something, the more opposition you feel regarding it?
Struggle is a part of success.
Even though we’re uniquely crafted for an intended purpose, that doesn’t mean that everything is always going to be smooth sailing. We’re going to hit road bumps. We’re going to have our doubts.
And then I realized in all hard work there is profit (Proverbs 14:23). Even if my only purpose for writing is to draw closer to God, it is worthwhile. So, I continue to write.
My biggest roadblock to living out my purpose and living life in freedom is acceptance by others. I want to do what will make others happy, but I’ve learned (and am still learning) this is not what God wants nor is it best for me. He wants me to do what He made me to do. Often that means doing the exact opposite of what people think I should be doing.
My biggest motivators are my walk with God and support of family. In a world that pursues the love of money, success, fame, and entertainment, it’s countercultural. I meet a lot of resistance for what I choose to do. I dread meeting people and hearing the question, “So what do you do?” I’m trying to get to the place where I confidently respond, “I’m a homemaker,” without any tone of apology and accept the killed conversation with love instead of self-contempt.
If I accept that God uniquely crafted me for this position (and I do), why do I allow the reactions of others to make me feel rejected and devalued? I do not exist to please or honor them, so why does it hurt so much?
I think it’s because we were made to love others. But colliding viewpoints make it difficult. It feels like a dance. I awkwardly step on the dancefloor, knowing people will step on my toes, make fun of me, and look at me with disdain. At the end of the song, I withdraw into my sanctuary where God builds me up for another spin. Then, out to the dancefloor I go again, trying to respond to bitterness with forgiveness, hurtful words with encouragement, and judgement with understanding. It’s a dance I absolutely cannot do on my own, but with God taking the lead, I go willingly.
I end this article with the admission that I don’t have it figured out. Wouldn’t it be easier to have a manhole-shaped head, know how to use it, and not question my purpose?
As fulfilling? No.
Funny to think about? Definitely!
I convince myself to walk in faith and step out in my purpose daily. I believe that God uniquely crafted me with every fiber of my being. I struggle daily, moment-by-moment, with the intended purpose part. But God’s in the lead. Where He goes I’ll follow, and that settles my soul.
Praying for you, Fellow Ant, as we march onward to The Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
With love and prayers,
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