This week I had a cold. I spent two good days in bed. I mostly slept, but unable to concentrate on work when I was awake, I watched a number of auditions for various talent shows on YouTube. While I did not always agree with the judges, one thing was remarkable enough. Some people were just absolutely outstanding! You know the kind that makes you shout yes! Or fill your eyes with tears as they move you because they are so gifted?
And you know the person that cooks so well that your taste bud have a party every time you eat their cooking? Or that nurse that knows exactly how to deal with your child, avoiding the tantrum she/he would otherwise throw in that doctor’s office? Or that author that writes books that you just can’t put down?
I believe most of those people to be operating just within their best gifts, and that would be the reason why they do what they do so well.
So… You, yes YOU! What is your gift?
Do you feel ordinary, and not special? Well, that’s okay, and actually pretty healthy. Yet, it doesn’t mean you’re not absolutely precious and that the gift in you is not totally worth developing. You see, you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made”1, with precision that only a magnificently skilled artist could have. God created you and sculpted you with the utmost care. You are a masterpiece my friend. Are you tall, short, curvy, skinny, black, white, Asian, Arabic, mixed? No mistakes here.
We are reminded more than once in the Bible to not keep our gifts to ourselves, but rather, to “let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven”2. So, what is your gift?
But wait, how can I tell what my gift is?
If you wonder what your gifts are, there are several places you can look at. A great start would be to pray about it. I mean God made you after all, so He knows. Looking in His Word is also a great idea. What, the Bible talks about me? Yes! The Word of God is His manifesto, His tender love letter to you, His beloved child and creation.
Another good place to look for clues is to ask your spouse, parents, children, family, friends, and colleagues. Whoever knows you best and cares about you. See what they tell you. What do they think you are so good at, that people would actually pay you to do? You may be surprised, or maybe not. Maybe you already know.
If I told you, you had a million dollars and could do whatever you want with it. Once you’ve taken care of whatever financial needs you and your family may have, what dream would the money help you with?
I got really good news for you, you don’t need a million dollars.
No baby, you don’t.
You have the grace of God, His provision and His guidance. That will always do you better than any amount of money. What He has in store for you, what He wants to do through you, He desires it for you more than you do yourself. Patience in the process is key.
Okay, but I am afraid
Maybe you know deep down what your gifts are, but are simply afraid. Boy
have I walked in those shoes, do I walk in those shoes. You’ll have to make a decision first, that fear won’t rule your life, and that it’s not from God. He said that he has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline3. Do you feel like it’s still too much? Well, it sure is for you, but not for God. I encourage you to take note of this verse, even if you know it well, and to write it down, memorize it, and meditate on it. Maybe not today, but eventually, surely the voice of fear will not be the loudest. You will develop spiritual muscle, and become courageous like a lion or a lioness. Remember, you are a close relative of the lion of the tribe of Judah. Ever heard the expression “a wolf in sheep’s clothes”? I believe Christians to be lions in lamb clothes. Power dressed in meekness. Not to deceive, but to change the world, one heart at a time.
Here are two promises I hold on to with dear life. They’ve kept me through the years:
Proverbs 31:25 reminds me that I am “clothed with strength and dignity, laughing without fear of the future.” Will you believe me if I tell you that all of my being reacts to that verse? Whenever I tell myself that I am clothed with strength and dignity, my back gets straight up, my chin lifts itself up and my heart is reassured.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells us: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
All those things we are to think about are found in God’s Word. Remember who you are in His eyes.
I’m gifted, got it. But how do I use my gift?
Jesus said: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”4
If this Spirit lives in us, we are anointed daily to do just that. Our gifts should always be submitted to that. If our gifts accomplish that, we’re good to go. If not, we need prayer and repentance, changing our ways so that our gifts are serving God and others.
The rest is up to the Father. He sets the paradigm and the limits.
How do I start right where I am?
I don’t know where you are in life and you may be going through something excruciatingly difficult. I don’t want to keep going without acknowledging that. No one is expecting you to be the picture perfect of success tomorrow. That should never motivate anyone anyway. Take it one step at a time. You may need God to heal you before you go further.
God is not the type to burn you out. Rather, he tells you: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”5
Rest in Him. In due time, He will guide you. There’s no rush with the Lord. If you are tired and overwhelmed, find rest in His arms. He cares for you, He’s madly in love with you!
What if I’ve got this pretty much figured out?
Well, my friend you are especially blessed. I strongly invite you to pray for a friend and share this article. It may not be at random that you found this, and surely reading it will encourage someone.
Heavenly Father, I come before you just as I am. Lord, take my life wherever I am. Help me not live in fear and rebuke it when it shoes its ugly little nose. Help me to see beyond what this world considers to be successful. Forgive me for wanting to be great out of a selfish desire. I want to live a life that will speak of you, through my words and my actions. Reveal to me what my gifts are and what you want to do with it.
My life is yours Lord.
In Jesus’ name.