The Gift

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." (1Peter 4:10&11)

We are given gifts by God. Each one of us. We are given primary spiritual gifts and we are given talents. And our gifts vary according to each person. You might be a creative person and have the talent of painting or sketching. The girl sitting next to you in class maybe has a gift for working with numbers and logic. Your best friend might be gifted in music. 
Our gifts are different in some way, shape, or form, and I believe that each of us has been given not one, but many gifts. 
There comes a time in our lives though when we ask ourselves what our gifts are. Some of us discover our gifts early in life. Others, much later. I was one of the former who discovered at least one of her gifts as a child.
You see, I am a writer. I have the gift of words. I began writing fiction, songs, and poems when I was in my early teenage years. When I was seventeen, I began my first personal blog. I was a blogger for nearly five years.
When I discovered my gift of writing, I was so excited. I used my gift as often and as much as I could. Most of my free time was spent writing. But I failed to realize one thing: with a gift comes great responsibility.
I have the gift of words, and what a powerful gift it is! Words- written or spoken- have the power to them of life or death to a soul. "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21) Words have the power to bring hope to a heart or to cause wounds and brokenness to a soul. "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Proverbs 12:18) With my gift, I hold in my hands immense power every time that I sit down to write. In younger years, I failed to realize that. 
As much as I love words, last year, I almost stopped writing. You see, in learning how to use my gift of words, I accidentally misused it, and that mistake caused me to almost cease writing entirely because I no longer trusted myself with my gift anymore. 
One mistake was one mistake too many I thought. 
My gift of words that the Lord had blessed me with was too powerful. It scared me. Its possible consequences scared me. The vulnerability, the invitation for misinterpretation, the easiness of misuse. I messed up, and I didn’t feel that I deserved for God to ever use me through writing again. 
I continued writing through the encouragement of others, but it was almost a full year before I could confidently write another single word of spiritual truth.
It was a long process of healing, forgiving myself, grasping God’s grace and extending that grace to myself, and realizing that God is a patient and loving Father who doesn’t expect perfection from His children. 
Sometimes that moment in time is something I still fight anxiety from. But I'm learning, and now, a year later, I’m a weekly contributor to Whole Teens Magazine, and I've begun writing my first book for publication. I've picked up the pieces and I'm trying again.
We have gifts and talents that the Lord has placed inside each one of us. Gifts that He hand-chose specifically for YOU before He even began knitting you together in your mother's womb. Before your life was even a thought on this earth, before your heart took its first beat, He decided what gifts He would give to you and He planned how He desired for you to use those gifts. Yet, too often, we allow our gifts to remain undiscovered, unpracticed, unused because we remain locked into the bondage of fear. Fear of failure or mistakes. Fear of man's opinions. 
That fear is real. But it's not from God. He wants you to use the gifts that He's given you, to be a good steward of your talents.
So don’t be afraid. Be bold. Rebuke that spirit of fear holding you back. Rebuke it in the name of Jesus. You are a child of God. Don’t expect perfection from yourself because the truth is, if you’re waiting until you’re the best in the room in your gifting, you’ll be waiting your lifetime. Take a leap of faith and step out in your gifts. 
I can’t promise you what it will look like, but I can promise you this: you’re going to fail. Maybe it’ll be in your first ten days, maybe it’ll be ten years from now, but someday, sometime, you’re going to fail. You’re going to make a mistake or mess up, and that’s absolutely okay. It’s part of being an imperfect human being. We make mistakes. We fail at things. But failure is simply the opportunity to learn and to try again.
Remember, God gave you the gifts that you have, but He didn't drop them into your lap and take His hands off of the wheel. He gave them to you, but He's there to teach you how to use them and to work through you in them. As I stated, I have the powerful gift of words, and I don’t trust myself with that kind of power, which is why every time that I write, I have to put that gift back in the hands of the One Who gave it to me because He knows how to use it best. Through my mistakes, I've learned that I can't operate in my gift alone in my own wisdom and my own discernment. 
And neither can you.
You weren't meant to. 
We fear stepping out in our gifts because we think that we're stepping out alone. We think that all of the pressure of accuracy and perfection is on our shoulders, when really, it isn't. We fail to understand that God wants to be beside us every step of the way as our Teacher if we'll only allow Him to be.
God is a loving Father to His precious children. He knows that we're learning and His grace covers our failures and our mistakes along the way. He doesn't expect perfection from us. He knows that impossible. He knows our imperfections and our weaknesses. "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:8-14) His grace covers our failures and our fears. He's just looking for a heart that is obedient, surrendered, and willing to be used by Him no matter the cost.
Be bold. Be that heart of abandon. Be the one in the room to accept God's gifts and to put them to good use for His glory. 

Lord, thank You for the gifts that You've placed within every human heart. Thank You for choosing us and for giving us the privilege of stewarding these gifts and using them for Your glory. I ask, Father, that You give us the boldness to use our gifts. I ask that You break the bondage of fear and doubts and any feelings of inadaquacy, God, and for those who have stepped out in faith and who have faced failure or ridicule or who have misued their gift, I ask that You teach them grace. 
Surround them with Your gentle love, Lord, and help them to forgive themselves and to extend themselves grace and patient in the learning process. Help us to be gentle and kind to ourselves. Give us courage to try again. Let us not be a people who stand idly by, allowing our gifts to go to waste or even to use our gifts for our own fleshly benefits and pursuits. But let us be a people who use our gifts and talents to magnify Your name and to show Your love to the world. Amen.

What are your gifts? If you're uncertain, ask God to reveal to you this week what your special talents and giftings are, and set aside time alone to talk to Him and to listen for His answer. Maybe you already know. Are you using those gifts though? What are your motives and inspiration for using your gifts? Is it for your glory or for His? And if you aren't using your gifts, what are the things holding you back?

Written by: Julia Glover

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