S.T.O.P. – When was the last time you thought about your Skills, Talents, Opportunities and Potential (S.T.O.P.)? I bet it’s been too long, and I also bet it wasn’t complete. Your S.T.O.P. began before you were even born. Has your mom ever told you that you were constantly on the move in the womb or that you just seemed to be so quiet that she would jostle you to get you to move? I declare I think my daughter was constantly doing somersaults, and I would worry that the cord would get wrapped around her neck! And my son…well he remembered his birth and being in the womb! No lie! He would talk about playing with the “rope” and one day my sister asked, “Was that your bow to shoot your arrow from?” and without missing a beat he replied, “No silly. That my slingshot.” Turns out, all children remember being in the womb and their births, but most forget long before they are able to verbally communicate. My son could say “hey,” “Mommy,” and “Dada” at 3 months and was speaking complete sentences and reciting the names of all the presidents and their years of birth and death at his first birthday party (I have video proof). He could talk about his time in the womb and his birth because he was such an early talker. He still remembered it and was able to communicate it in ways that were now familiar to him.
If I were to start a S.T.O.P. inventory on my kids before they were even born, it would have looked something like this:
Son: lots of activity, pushed and kicked in all directions, restless, carried low like he was ready to hit the ground running – is going to need lots of things to keep him busy.
Daughter: gentle “flips,” usually stayed in the same place, seemed content, carried high like she was perfectly content minding her own business with no hurry of joining humankind – is going to need to feel grounded, calm, and have adequate alone time.
Now, I am not an expert in childhood development, nor have I ever researched the likelihood that an unborn child’s activity in the womb could be an indicator of how they would be outside the womb. But for the sake of the S.T.O.P. inventory I wanted to mention it because it stood true for my kids! Let me know in the comments if it did for yours!
I invite you to complete a S.T.O.P. inventory of yourself. If possible, you may want to interview people who remember you as a baby or young child. Ask them what stood out to them about your personality, things that you seemed to learn quickly, and activities that kept your interest. From the earliest age that you can remember, ask yourself the same things. But also list any chores you did as a kid – which ones were easy versus difficult and which ones did you seem to perform really well? Ask yourself which subjects in school you liked before you were told by society which ones you should like (or worse, that you should hate school altogether). Were you good at sports? Which ones? How easily did you make friends? Did you like to read and what topics were the most fun for you? Did you like speaking up in class or did you prefer to absorb the information quietly? When you were old enough to get a “real” job, where did you work? What did you do? What parts of the job did you like best? What parts of the job were you exceptionally good at performing? As you moved into adulthood, think of any on-the-job training or education you received and how that may have shaped the person you are today.
The saddest thing to me is when someone says, “oh I’m just a [fill in the blank].” No one is a “just a.” Everybody is a somebody with unique Skills, Talents, Opportunities, and Potential. Comedian Mark Lowry tells a great story of his dad’s view on occupations. His dad said, “If God calls you to be a ditch digger, you would be taking a step down to be president.” How beautiful is that? Most of us go through life without high-profile jobs, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t called to live high-profile lives!
What Skills, Talents, Opportunities, and Potentials encompass YOU? And more importantly, which ones are you using for the greater good of humanity? Sit with your list a little while. Look for new opportunities based on what you have discovered. Perhaps you’ll rediscover the amazing person within yourself that the world needs right now. The person that I know is there because I know two things for sure – you have a purpose and God don’t make no junk!
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