Today we are going to ask the Holy Spirit to show you some of the gifts in your life that he gave you with the intention of you using them to fulfill the corporate calling of the Church and your unique assignment. Because the seeking, receiving, and using of those gifts might just change the world. And because it is a gift to our Abba Father to obey and honor him.
It may seem a mystery what the giftings of each part of the body are. How do you know your giftings? Is this question something that holds you back from what God has for you? Is this question too daunting to tackle in the season you find yourself in right now?
I can relate to that. I have been there. But I would love to encourage you to wrestle with the questions. Wrestling is hard work–but so was carrying the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.” Try to set the joy of heaven in front of the obstacles you feel holding you back from your pursuit of knowing or using your gifts.
Setting joy before you may involve choosing to shift your perspective a bit, and remind your soul to believe you have been given gifts already. And, that those gifts were predestined to you before time. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution or diet plan you need to tackle or attain. You have the gifts you need to find joy and peace in your relationship with Christ, and to love others, and to lead others because of the giftings he marked for you.
What if you imagined the seeking of your giftings as if you were being given them on a Christmas morning? You run down the stairs, dig under the tree. You find all the gifts with your name on them. And then you start unwrapping them to see what you have been given.
Can you feel the anticipation, the excitement, the joy that is in the room? This is how I pray you enter into your seeking. With excitement, expectation and joy.
There are many ways to unwrap a gift and, depending on the size or shape of the gift, we may use a different strategy. So we may need to use a variety of tools to seek what the giver of the gifts has given to each of us, asking him to show us how to use them to fulfill our corporate calling and individual assignments.
We have many tools for this: the Bible, the body of believers, the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts surveys, personality tests, reflective writing, and corporate prayer and worship. Most of these tools help you see the gift, but one must rely on discernment and the Holy Spirit to receive them and begin using them.
There are a couple of differences between the typical gift we are given under the Christmas tree and the gifts we are given to fulfill our calling, however. First is that the gifts we are given to fulfill our individual assignments are not intended just for personal use. They are given to us for the “common good” and in order that we may reveal God to those in our portion of the world.
Second, the typical gift we receive on Christmas morning does not multiply itself. Unless, of course, you are the type of person who receives seeds or trees as gifts. Unlike material or man-made gifts, the gifts given to us from God are multiplied and increased by the work of the Holy Spirit living in us who gives us grace, strength and power to use all that we are and have to honor and glorify all that God is in heaven and on earth.
It is important with each gift that is unwrapped to pause and receive the gift. And then, in the deepest parts of your heart, to seek knowledge and wisdom to be able to know the reasons you have been given the gifts that are displayed before you. By this I mean asking for revelation to gain understanding of how your experiences, talents, stories, resources, personality traits, relationships, and places of your past and present can be arrows pointing you to envisioning how the gifts of your human life and spiritual life can be used daily with power, love, and self-control.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, Paul writes:
Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations—words of instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good.
Receive the gifts with joy and the intention to use them.
Are there people, relationships, talents, or yearnings in your heart that you have lost sight of being a gift? Your marriage? Your children? Your sufferings? Your random talents and hobbies? Your dreams and visions that are not yet fulfilled?
When I look back on the gifts I have been given in my life, I can see how each of them led me closer to Jesus and closer to my individual assignments. My upbringing set me on the path to know and love Jesus. My fear of monsters lead me to be filled with the Holy Spirit. My gift to run sparked some of my initial conversations with my husband, and has led me to a deeper understanding of myself, given me some of my deepest friendships, and has been the avenue of discipleship in all the seasons of my life.
God has used running especially to teach me about my weaknesses and strengths. And to give me tools to be strong in mind and soul.
When I run a race, negative thoughts set in somewhere between half and three-fourths of the way to the finish line. And they just might last to the end of the race.
It was actually just a few years ago I made the following connections between my running life and my faith life (I am a slow learner, ladies!).
I learned I had to determine before the race how I was going to combat negative thoughts, and I had to invite the Holy Spirit in to help me out. I knew the thoughts would come. They always did. So God and I came up with a plan.
Baby step 1: Decide on a mantra to drown out the negative. Mine was very creative! “No negative thoughts. No negative thoughts.”
As I got stronger and the phrase boring, I moved on from the mantra to actually changing a negative thought into a positive one. From “You always get slow at mile 15” to “You have run hundreds of miles. You can do this one!”
I don’t know what the battlefield of your mind looks like. But this is mine on a racecourse. And one day God graciously revealed to me that I could do the same thing in my daily life–make my thoughts submit to truth. I could use the same tools for battling thoughts in my daily life that were stealing my joy or bringing discouragement.
Can anyone relate?
Initial thought: “You are going to lose it again. You don’t have enough patience for this situation. You need to get some me time. You are over your head again!” Nope, our thoughts are to obey Christ, so I choose to think and believe: “I am loved. His strength is sufficient. His patience is enough. I don’t need to leave. I just need to ask him to come and be with you.”
God uses my life’s gifts to teach me about myself and to live more rightly with him. And I believe he wants to do the same for you as you lead in your places.
Want to know more about using your gifts? Check out my follow-up post next week!
Jaclyn Loween is a wife, mother, and teacher who is passionate about community living, learning, writing, running, and inviting people to her table. It is her hope that her words of remembrance and reflection record a story of God’s faithfulness that will be passed to future generations.