Can You Recognize Your Gifts? (A Free Tool to Help!)


May 12, 2016

Jennie-Allen-meme-May11-B

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!

12 Responses to “Can You Recognize Your Gifts? (A Free Tool to Help!)”

  1. Looking for the tools to help discover or reaffirm my talents and gifts.

  2. Our women’s group did Restless about a year and a half ago! Such an impact in my life. God used your study to get the wheels turning that eventually led to me writing my first book that will be published this summer! Loved the study of Joseph and how God used his life to save others. We are all called to do that in a unique way. Blessings to you,Jennie!

  3. Jennie, thanks again for your encouragement to continue pursuing what God is calling us to as women. I held back for so long, and maybe because God still had some work to do on my heart. But now I’m ready. I’m ready to use the gifts He’s given me. I’m pretty sure I’ll mess up along the way, but I’m going to do it anyway. So thankful God can use broken people if we are willing.

  4. Jane Allen

    Oh Jennie – bless you for this! I am in a season of complete and total chang; I’ve lost both my parents (I am single with no children) and my job of 28 years. I know what God has in store is much better than I can imagine – but I am desperate to know what tools I have to start this next journey.

    • Read your comment just now, Jane. Praying God’s peace all over you now.

  5. I think many Christians become so focused on the “to do” of Christianity that we forget to focus on the “to be.” What God would have us to do will likely change MANY times in our lifetime, but who we are should never change. We are people of the Lord Jesus Christ who should remain obedient to Him in all things through EVERY stage of our lives we find ourselves in. While I am sure we all know this, I do believe that we often forget when we feel dissatisfied with what we are able TO DO in the Kingdom. This preoccupation with gifts and what I should be doing leaves many of us with an empty feeling, even when our hearts are completely set on the Lord, because we haven’t an assignment to match what we believe our gifted areas are in. However, this is the challenge in Christianity at times; learning to exist right where we are, with or without the expression of gifts, knowing that are lives are hidden in Christ. We don’t look for fulfillment in the gifts and the to dos because they are only vehicles through which we accomplish God’s will in this earth and not our own. If we are honest with ourselves, we often do and pursue things that bring us joy not what bring the Father joy, and it is the joy of the Lord that is OUR strength.

    Let us strive for faithfulness, contentment and most of all a over powering love for the Lord that keeps us preoccupied with Him (His character, love and grace) more than our gifts. At the end of the day, if our hands never work at what we believe we may be gifted in, can we be satisfied in knowing that our eternal fate is sealed with Him in that final day? Could we be so caught up with what we once did that we fail to see what areas the Lord has us ministering/serving in presently? Could it be that we are gifted in areas that we reject because they aren’t what we would necessarily choose? All we are to do is present our bodies. As we abide in Him He will produce what He needs from us by His Spirit.

    Either way, be encouraged and rest. The Lord knows just what He is doing and knows just where we are. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.

    God Bless You.

  6. Danielle

    Hi Jenny, I love the timing of this. I am going through the Restless study this summer. Just Jesus and me because I really want to hear Him and get clarification on where He is leading me. One fear that hinders me is my motives. In Restless, there is a section where you talk about the, Tower of Babel. One of the things you say is, “So we fight the desire to build our own towers.” I think my fear of doing this, and the times this has been the case, hold me back. It seems we as His followers are so often living in the tension of this fight, and He knows it. I’m learning that the fact that it actually is a fight is an ok place to be. He wants us to step out in faith and understand better the gifts He has given us for His story.

  7. My struggle is that I’m reading things like, “don’t wait, use your gifts now!” As well as things like this post. And for me, we moved to a place where I don’t have opportunities to use my gifts, literally– you cannot be a part of certain things if you aren’t staff in that department (we moved to be part of a church).

    So things I used to naturally be a part of and partner with my husband on, I have no access to. None.

    So I find myself in the “wishing gifts away” category, because having no outlet for my gifts/passions/heart is so hard. And I’d rather it not be a struggle, and for me to just not desire those things. And I know that can’t be from God, but I’m also struggling with why would God create me this way if I am brought to this situation– lacking opportunity for outlet. And finding heartbreak in the loss of dreams.

    • Shanel

      SJP I can totally relate to you! My passions and creative outlet I thought I would carry on thru all my life has been put on hold there is not time available for me to pursue them. I am a work from home mom and my children are my ministry. There was a time I wished those desires away and haven’t looked back. I’m not sure what the purpose of them were or if there will be a future purpose but my heart desires the Lords will and my prayer is that he will show me where and how to walk it out.

  8. mollie

    I am always happiest interacting with people, especially children. I retired early (health issues) from teaching children with severe multiple disabilities, which is where I felt God placed me. I self-published a Christian children’s book shortly after retirement (God is Great) and now find myself floundering. Is writing my gift? I want to continue working with people/children… but…where?

  9. Jennie, your post reminds me to pray for my sisters in Christ, who like me, sometimes sadly let fear hinder us from being all we can be.

    Lord, may Your love so consume our fears that we don’t even give them a second glance–for all the brightness of Your all-consuming love that shines on and through us.

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