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Discovering and Using Your Gifts For God
Our oldest daughter, Heather, loves photography and in the past year has bought a good Nikon camera, lenses and camera bag, practiced her skills on family and friends, started a website and blog, and gone on photo shoots. with specialists. I am so happy to see Heather use her talents for God and learn from others who are successful.
We all have gifts, talents, and skills that God has richly placed in us for His glory. We don’t need to hide our talents like the lazy servant in Matthew 25:14-30, but we need to draw them out of our hearts and minds and use them to bless others. God has great plans for our lives if we believe and obey Him (Jeremiah 29:11). The acronym WATERS describes how women can discover and use their gifts to advance God’s kingdom on earth.
W. Appetite for God. I just can’t get enough of God’s presence; He is so awesome. Develop a hunger for God and His presence. He is the one who gives us our gifts!
God wants to use you, but do you want to be used? If so, how? Do you want a rich, exciting life, lived to the fullest extent possible, or an average, boring life?
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight (delight in, delight in) the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” What are your desires? Take them to Him, and when you follow Christ, He will accomplish these things!
A. Ask God, yourself and others what your spiritual gifts, talents and abilities are. What are you really good at? At least three people have told me that I would make a great wedding coordinator. I love weddings ~ planning, shopping, decorating, organizing, serving. One of my favorite movies is “The Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez. So I play with the idea of the future.
Are you naturally good with computers and an excellent artist? Then you would probably be good as a graphic designer. When you speak at retreats, do you get positive, encouraging feedback? Then you are good at communication. Your words carry weight and authority, so use this gift to bless others!
Do you like having friends over for dinner and spending time with them? Then you may receive hospitality as a gift. Do you feel deeply or cry when people hurt you and try to comfort them? You probably have the gift of mercy and compassion.
Spiritual gifts are found in Ephesians 4:11-12 (fivefold ministry gifts), 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (manifest gifts), and 1 Corinthians 12:28. Some churches or online sites have tests you can take. to find out your spiritual gifts. Find out what is yours and begin to walk in that authority and anointing!
T. Use your creativity. Vicki Caruana, in her book Giving Your Child the Excellence Edge (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton IL, p. 49), says, “A lot of creative thinking requires getting away from one idea enough to consider others. This is not necessarily , that it comes naturally to us, especially if we are used to censoring our ideas, as most of us are.”
In other words, thinking outside the box. Let your mind run wild. Telling your inner critic to shut up and dare you to write the story of what happened one night in your bedroom when you were 5, or about having an abortion at 21. to write and speak, to be real, to strive for the neck of your and your audience’s emotions.
How can you best use your creative abilities? If you’ve been cutting someone’s hair since you were 12, enroll in cosmetology school and get paid to do something you love. If you love to bake or cook, start a catering business. Do you think about horses first and last thing every day? Take riding lessons from a good trainer and start appearing in English horse shows. Sometimes our best creative ideas come when we’re having a great time!
Creativity also means giving yourself permission to try new things and new sensations, like hot air ballooning in New Mexico or skiing in Colorado. Color outside the lines; use the big box of crayons with colors like Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown. Buy that new dress in your wardrobe that you admire but have never dared to try on.
To move the wheels, turn off the dvd player and go for a walk around the area and you will really see it for the first time. Look, listen, smell, touch, taste. Too often we zone out and don’t even notice our surroundings. Do you know what kind of car your neighbor drives? For that matter, do you even know what your neighbor looks like or talks to him? Have you ever noticed that around your block is a home with Spanish-style architecture and a magical, almost hidden outdoor garden, like a miniature Secret Garden?
Go to a big zoo and see the animals and people. Make your own science projects. Read about strange things in space, like how scientists say the roar is fast approaching our galaxy. Start a flower or vegetable garden and play in the dirt. Reading good literature and listening to classical or relaxing music feeds our brains with creative new ideas every day.
E. He diligently exercises his gifts. Muscles atrophy if not used regularly: “Use it or lose it.” Do we really want to bury our talents for 40 years and wake up one morning to find that we are old, it is too late and we are not who we once really wanted to be? artist, singer, soldier, missionary in South Africa, writer, dolphin trainer? As we learn what our gifts, talents, and skills are and begin to develop them, they will flourish. They also create inner happiness and bring joy to God and others.
We must cut out the things that prevent us from maximizing our potential. Why waste time working at the hardware store when what we really want to do is go to law school and become a lawyer? If solving crimes fascinates you and you’ve always wanted to be a detective, why are you teaching high school basketball? If you feel stuck in your job or role, loosen up. Do. Listen to what’s in your heart.
The Lord gives us certain desires for good reason. Interestingly, these desires are often connected to our spiritual gifts, talents and skills, and ultimately our calling. I have many friends who love working with children and are talented in teaching. So they work in a Christian school and are completely happy and content with it.
If you are just starting out in your craft, take steps of faith. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Give yourself room to grow. Set high goals and discipline yourself to learn more, write that article, speak at your small church, or work on improving your website.
Like getting into good physical shape. If you’re 40 pounds overweight, you’re not going to lose it overnight. A few years ago I started making healthier choices to lose weight – eating more salads and less fast or processed food, drinking more water, taking vitamin supplements, using hand weights. Aerobic training is the main area where I need much more discipline to reach my ideal weight. But I have to do something instead of nothing. Start where you are and use those talents. And see how it increases God’s glorious garden!
R. Achieve your dreams. Be determined to live a full, beautiful life and not waste a minute. Life is full of possibilities and adventures! One of our family’s favorite movies is “Secondhand Lions”. A young boy, abandoned by his mother to live his own merry life, is dumped in a strange house to live with two old, grumpy uncles who don’t want him there. But eventually their relationship became close and he learned a lot from these larger than life men. One of the lines we love from the movie is after the uncles die and leave the nephew with all their inheritance (which was substantial). He told another man about his two uncles, with great admiration, and said, “They really lived.”
Are you really alive ~ or just existing? Is this really the life you want? If not, when do you start?
Remove the ceiling from your thinking, from the limitations you have tied yourself to, which comes from other people’s perceptions and negative self-talk. Listen to what you are saying to yourself. Our thoughts have a great impact on our lives. Learn to train your mind to think positive thoughts about success instead of toxic, defeating thoughts. Hold on to a scripture like, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me!”
In our daughter Leah’s room, there is a small sign with a bright yellow star on it: “Wish on a star.” What are your three biggest wishes? The first would be to have more wishes.
What do you want to do? what do you like to do? Your passion is the key to understanding your gifts and abilities!
Marnie Swedberg summed it up for me on the recent Writer’s Radio Show with author/speaker Cindy Rushton when she said that she never feels more alive than when she’s speaking in front of a large group of people. I really relate to this! It used to scare me to death to stand in front of people and speak. I was literally physically shaking and stuttering and felt like I was going to pass out. To be honest, I’m still a little nervous before I speak, but as soon as I step on the platform, it melts away as God’s anointing kicks in – thank God for His grace and precious anointing ~ I never want to do that. without her! And I love it! I feel alive when I write and speak! This is how God made me!
What is God calling you to do that is much bigger than you? Nothing is impossible with God. And he wants to do the impossible through you and for you!
S. “Study to show yourself approved.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This means learning all you can to honor and obey God. Stay in God’s word everyday. Proverbs 4:7-8 says, “Wisdom is the main thing, so get wisdom. And in everything you get, get understanding. Exalt him, and he will promote you.”
Find quiet time with God every day and let Him speak to you and guide you. His Holy Spirit teaches me everything. (1 John 2:27)
Continue education, classes, training, seminars. Find a mentor to be your student. Be like a sponge and soak up everything you can from successful people in your field of interest. How did they begin to use their gifts or talents? What practical steps have you taken? Subtract the worthless from the valuable. God has a unique plan for your life that He wants to accomplish. He is the master mentor.
Be humble and accept help from people, even family and friends. Relationships are priceless, not only for intimacy and pleasure, but also for relationship building. Burning bridges is always a good idea unless absolutely necessary for your safety, sanity, or sweetness. It’s a very small world, and I’m amazed at how many people have come back into my life years later (some wish they hadn’t, but maybe they feel the same!). Sometimes, however, these are divine connections. A good rule of thumb is to be as nice to people as you can. Don’t you appreciate nice people?
Rudeness is not an outstanding quality. And it might come back to haunt you later, especially if they find out you’re now a Christian speaker and writer. Above all, God is love, and we as believers want to be like Him and show others this wonderful love. Our gifts are for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. We want to set Jesus as a model, to be the hands, feet and heart of a lost and dying world.
Our gifts are like special gifts that God can’t wait to open. He has many beautiful surprises in store for us and others when we seek His face, unwrap the gift, then enjoy it with gratitude and use it to bless Him and others.
Copyright 2009 Beth Jones
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