A few years ago, I sat with my friends Jessica and Hannah as we walked through the first study of Restless. Jessica held the scribbles revealing her most sacred moments closely. As she looked back over the list of times when she had felt God’s pleasure and was fully satisfied in her life, they all had something to do with a stage. Performing in a school musical, being elected student council president, giving a talk at a leadership summit.
She realized she knew she was about to have to share them with Hannah, whom she barely knew. So she cynically laughed and said, “I am not sure if these moments display my gifts or my selfishness.”
I have watched Jessica wrestle internally for clarity of purpose for years. Yet when this girl prays or teaches, the whole room worships. She exudes an authentic passion. And yet Jessica is terrified of herself. She is gifted–a teacher, a visionary–but she is only barely using her gifts because of many distinct fears.
Jessica is super analytical, and so am I, and so are a lot of you. We often over-analyze clear, simple truths. We tell ourselves it is right to be afraid. I don’t know what your fears are, but I know if they aren’t from God. They are from the enemy, and they need to be taken apart.
We are all unique and needed in this. To hide our gifts, or to deny them, or to compare and wish them away is not only taking from yourself, it is taking from God, his church, and a world that needs to see the expression of God you bring. It’s the expression He designed you to bring to it.
What if you have God-given gifts and He wants to turn you loose with them?
What if you were built for a track and you’re camped out in a parking lot?
I have talked to so many people who are driving around a parking lot, and they can’t figure out why they feel so discontent. But they are afraid that if they pull out onto a real track:
They wouldn’t actually have anything to contribute.
They would go too fast–get out of control.
They would lose.
They would wreck.
People would judge them.
There is a purpose for all of this; there is a track with side rails; there is a reason God gives us gifts. We will experience the pleasure of racing while God is using us, but our gifts’ primary purpose is for the building up of others.
Are you fast? Are you a great musician? Do you excel at accounting? What if you feel God’s pleasure as you design buildings or format PTA calendars?
The answer to this question will help you determine the unique things he has given you to use while you are here. We are all given things so that we might show God to others. The raw materials of our lives will come together and be used to bless others and build God’s kingdom.
Do you know what your gifts are?
Here’s a simple tool to help you start figuring out your gifts! Download this for free: Four Ways to Recognize the Gifts that Everyone But You Can See. Just enter your email address below and check your inbox to confirm!