There I sat, in the audience at a Christian Women’s conference, inspired and awed by the words of our speaker that night. She was so knowledgeable of God’s word, so eloquent in her speech, and so passionate in her delivery. I wanted to be just like her.
I was so impressed by her, that I found myself drawn to her as a person almost more than I heard her message. I imagined what it would be like to be as wise as she was, and as polished. I perceived that she had “it all together” in her personal life, that surely her life was picture perfect due to her closeness to God and her obvious personality. How could it not be?
Everything that I admired in her, were the very things that I felt that I lacked.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe the situation is different for you, but you have felt that same way. You have admired someone because of the character qualities that they possess. Courage, boldness, eloquence, spiritual maturity, knowledge? Perhaps these are the very ones that you sense are not present in your own life.
It is true that it’s good to have people in our lives that inspire us and cause us to examine our character. This helps us to grow in spiritual maturity. Let’s not forget that God has designed each of us differently to fulfill His purpose for us!
Romans 12:4-8 NIV puts it this way “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
You will notice that Paul doesn’t state that we should all be good at all those things, but rather, that we should know what we are bent towards, and do that, to the best of our ability!
Many years ago, I took a Spiritual Gifts Test. The results showed me the areas of my life that I already had a passion or high level of interest in. The areas that I was potentially gifted towards by God. This was amazing to me! I was able to shift my perspective from feelings of inadequacy and lacking, to the understanding that maybe the things that I already enjoyed were part of God’s purpose for my life! For me, it was like the light turned on in a dark room!
To be clear, I am not saying that I was suddenly complete, or done growing spiritually. Rather, it was kind of a newfound freedom, knowing that I could hone in on the specific passions and interests that were God honoring. And that I could further develop THOSE, instead of only focusing on my short comings!
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NLT puts it another way “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”
The cells in our body all work toward the same goal, regeneration and vitality. But each organ, made up by those same cells, has a very different goal than all the other organs on the body. But they all serve one purpose. Our spiritual gifts may all be different, but they work together to serve one purpose in the body of Christ. That is to glorify God.
Here’s what I want you to consider; while we are flawed and imperfect, we each (as followers of Jesus, saved by His grace) have something to offer. We each have been gifted by the Lord at the moment of salvation, with at least one spiritual gift. What is yours? What do you feel it could be, based on what drives or excites you?
Here is a list of potential gifts. Give some thought to these.
Administration (details, organization)
Discernment (seeing truth or deception)
Evangelism (sharing your faith)
Exhortation (or encouragement)
Faith (confidence in God’s power, promises and presence)
Helps (the behind-the-scenes stuff)
Hospitality (serving others with joy, welcoming)
Knowledge (loving the study of the word)
Leadership (care and commitment to move people forward in their faith)
Mercy (empathy and compassion towards others)
Prophecy (or declaring God’s truths)
Serving (helping, ministering)
Teaching (effectively communicate the truths of the Bible to others)
Wisdom (similar to the gift of knowledge)
More than anything, what I want you to get from this post is this; You are valuable. You have something to offer. And instead of falling into the comparison trap, maybe spin that on its head and excel in what you are already passionate about or gifted toward! Admiring qualities in others, like I admired the speaker, is excellent. But have you considered what others might admire in you?
I always want to grow in my knowledge of God’s word. I desire to continually develop the areas of my life that need some correction. And I try to be aware of those around me and the example that they are to me. But I don’t want to ignore my own God Given abilities! Those areas where I can bring Him glory and honor as well as supporting those in my circle.
I am far from perfect; I have a long way to go to be complete, as He is complete. But I do know that if I don’t acknowledge and appreciate the gifts and abilities that He has already given me to serve Him, I am missing out! But that’s a blog for another day!
Progress over perfection.
Is this fresh news for you? Maybe before this, you felt like you only needed to “fix yourself”? Perhaps you didn’t understand why you get more excited about certain opportunities to serve, and not others. Are your friends and contacts excited about opportunities that you are not? This is most likely because, God has gifted you differently. Celebrate that! Develop that! Embrace that God has created you lovingly and intentionally as you are. Your gifts are from Him!
And rest assured of this truth.
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
My pastor said this just this morning, I hope you’ll take it to heart. “You need to be the you-est you there is!”
Father God, you are an incredible God, I praise Your name. I am amazed by You! Thank You for making me unique. I want to grow in my understanding of You and Your word, and to develop the part of me that makes me unique for Your kingdom. I ask You to show me how to be fully myself and yet still bring you glory. Thank You for choosing me and using me!