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Discovering and Using Your Gifts For God
Our oldest daughter, Heather, loves photography and has spent the past year pursuing that passion, purchasing quality Nikon cameras, lenses and bags, practicing her skills on family and friends, starting a website and blog , and conducted a photography shoot with professionals. I’m so excited to see Heather use her talents for God and take what she has to offer from other successful people.
We all have gifts, talents, and skills that God has richly stored within us for His glory. Instead of hiding our talents like the lazy servant in Matthew 25:14-30, we need to draw them out of our hearts and minds and use them to bless others. God has great plans for our lives, as long as we trust and obey him (Jeremiah 29:11). The acronym WATERS describes how women discover and use their gifts to advance God’s kingdom on earth.
W. Whet your appetite for God. I just can’t get enough of God’s presence; he’s amazing. Cultivate a desire for God and His presence. He is the one who gave us gifts!
God wants to use you, do you want to be used? If so, how? Do you want a rich, exciting life where you reach your full potential, or a mediocre, boring life?
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight in the Lord (enjoy with great joy), and he will give you the desires of your heart.” What do you desire? Bring them to Him and He will do them when you follow Christ!
A. Ask God, yourself, and others what your spiritual gifts, talents, and skills are. What are you really good at? I’ve been told by at least three people that I would make a great wedding coordinator. I love weddings ~ plan them, shop for them, decorate, organize, serve. One of my favorite movies is “The Wedding Planner” by Jennifer Lopez. So I’m thinking about future ideas.
Are you naturally good at computers and a good artist? Then you might make a good graphic artist. When you speak at your retreats, do you receive positive, inspiring feedback? Then you are good at communicating. 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 might have the gift of hospitality. Do you mourn or cry when people are hurt and try to comfort them? You may have the gift of mercy and mercy.
Spiritual gifts can be found in Ephesians 4:11-12 (the fivefold gift of ministry), 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (the gift of manifestation) and 1 Corinthians 12:28 . Some churches or online sites have tests that you can take to find out your spiritual gifts. Find out what yours is and start walking 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 sufficient distance from any one idea to consider other ideas. This may not come naturally For us, especially when we, like most people, are used to censoring our thoughts.”
In other words, think outside the box. Let your mind go wild. Tell your inner critic to shut up and dare to write about the night you were 5 in your bedroom, or the story of your abortion at 21. Write and speak with authenticity that hits you and your audience emotionally.
How can you best use your creativity? If you’ve been cutting other people’s hair since you were 12, go to beauty school and get paid for something you love. If you enjoy baking or cooking, you can start a catering business. Do you think about horses first and last thing every day? Take riding lessons from a great trainer and start presenting yourself at British Shows. Sometimes our best ideas come when we’re having a good time!
Creativity also means allowing yourself to try new things and feel new sensations, such as ballooning in New Mexico or skiing in Colorado. Color outside the lines; use a large box of crayons with colors like Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown. Buy new clothes for your wardrobe that you admire but never dared to try before.
To get the wheels spinning, turn off the DVD player and take a walk around your house to actually see it for the first time. See, hear, smell, touch, taste. Often our minds wander and we don’t even notice our surroundings. Do you know what car your neighbor is driving? For that matter, do you know what your neighbor looks like or talk to her? Have you ever noticed a home on your block with Spanish-inspired architecture and a charming, almost secluded outdoor garden, like the epitome of a secret garden?
Go to a big zoo and just see animals and people. Do homemade science projects. Learn about the weirdness of space, as scientists say it’s rapidly approaching our galaxy. Create a flower or vegetable garden and play in the dirt. Daily reading of good literature, listening to classical music or some kind of relaxing music can feed our brains with creative new ideas.
E. Use your gifts diligently. Muscles atrophy when infrequently used: “use it or lose it”. We really have to bury our talent for 40 years and wake up one morning and realize we are old, it’s too late, we’re not who we really want to be ~ Artist, singer, soldier, missionary in South Africa , writer, dolphin trainer? When we discover what our gifts, talents, and skills are, and begin to develop them, they flourish. They also create inner joy, bringing joy to God and others.
We need to prune those things that are holding us back from reaching our highest potential. Why are we wasting our time working in hardware stores when what we really want to do is go to law school and be a lawyer? If solving crimes fascinates you, and you’ve always wanted to be a detective, why are you teaching middle school basketball? If you feel trapped in your job or role, get out of it. Take action. Pay attention to what’s on your mind.
The Lord has given us certain desires, and for good reason. Interestingly, these desires are often related to our spiritual gifts, talents and skills, and ultimately our calling. I have several friends who enjoy working with children and are gifted at teaching. So they work at a Christian school and are very happy and content with it.
If you’re just starting out in your craft, take steps of confidence. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Give yourself room to grow. Set goals high, and discipline yourself to get more education, write that article, speak at a chapel, or work on your website to improve it.
It’s like getting into a great body shape. If you’re 40 pounds overweight, you won’t lose it overnight. A few years ago, I started making healthier weight loss choices—eating more salad, less fast or processed food, drinking more water, taking vitamin supplements, and using weights. Cardio is the main area where I need more discipline to get down to my ideal weight. But I have to do something, not do nothing. Start where you want to use those talents. See how God will grow the garden of His glory!
R. Live your dreams. Resolve to live a full, good life and not waste a second. Life is full of possibilities and adventures! One of our family’s favorite movies is “Second Hand Lion”. A young boy whose mother abandoned him to live his own, interesting life, sends him to a strange house to live with his two grumpy old uncles who don’t want him to live in There. But eventually they grew closer and he learned a lot from these legendary men. One of our favorite lines in the movie is after the uncle dies and leaves all the inheritance to the nephew (it’s a good one). Telling another about his two uncles, he said with great admiration: “They really survived.”
Are you really alive~ or just exist? Is this the life you really want? If not, when do you plan to start?
Get rid of your thinking ceiling, the limits you set for yourself that come from the perceptions of others and negative self-talk. Listen to what you say to yourself. Our thoughts have a great influence on our lives. Learn to train your mind to think positive thoughts of success instead of toxic, failure thoughts. Remember a scripture such as, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me!”
Our daughter Leah has a little sign in her room with a bright yellow star on it: “Wish on a Star.” What are your three biggest wishes? My first wish was to have more wishes.
what do you want me to do? What do you like to do? Your passion is the key to understanding your talents and abilities!
Marnie Swedberg summed this up for me on her recent Writer’s Radio show with author/speaker Cindy Rushton, when she said that she’s never felt more energized when speaking in front of a large crowd. I really relate to that! Standing in front of people and talking often scares me to death. I literally used to shake and stutter and feel like I was going to pass out. To be honest, I was still a little nervous when I first started speaking, but as soon as I stepped onto the stage, God’s anointing melted away ~ Thank you for God’s grace and precious anointing ~ I never want to do without him again! I like it! When I write and speak, I feel alive! This is the way God created me!
What is God calling you to do that is much bigger than you? Nothing is impossible with God. He wants to pass you and do the impossible for you!
S. “Learn to prove yourself approved.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This means to learn as much as you can, to bring glory to God and to obey him. Stay in the Word of God every day. Proverbs 4:7-8 says, “Wisdom is the first thing; therefore, acquire wisdom. Of all that you have acquired, acquire wisdom. Lift her up, and she will lift you up.”
Find quiet time with God each day and allow Him to speak to you and guide you. His Holy Spirit will teach you all things. (1 John 2:27)
Pursue more education, courses, training, seminars. Find a mentor to train you. Be like a sponge and soak up all you can from successful people in your field of interest. How did they begin to use their gift or talent? What practical steps have they taken? Extract the precious from the worthless. God has a unique blueprint for your life to fulfill. He is a master teacher.
Be humble and accept help from others, even family and friends. Relationships are invaluable not only for the intimacy and pleasure they bring, but also for the networking they create. It’s always a good idea not to burn any bridges unless it’s absolutely necessary for your safety, sanity, or sweetness. It’s a very small world, and I’ve been amazed at how some people come back into my life years later (some I hope don’t, but maybe they feel the same way!). But sometimes, these are sacred connections. A good rule of thumb is: be as kind as possible to people. Don’t you appreciate good people?
Rudeness is not a good quality. It might come back to you later, especially if they find out that you are now a Christian speaker and writer. Most importantly, God is love, and we as believers want to be like him and show that amazing love to others. Our gifts are for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. We want to be like Jesus and be his hands, feet and heart in a lost and dying world.
Our gifts are like special presents, eagerly waiting to be opened by God. He has many beautiful surprises in store for us and others as we seek his face, open gifts, and then enjoy them with gratitude and use them for him and to bless others.
Copyright 2009 Beth Jones
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