Sunday, July 02, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Are you using your gifts?

When we were moving from Iowa, I called the guidance counselor of the high school Stephanie would be attending to discuss sending her paperwork they needed.  In the conversation, I mentioned she had been part of a gifted children's program and asked if she could continue at their school.  At which time, the counselor stated that "all of their children were gifted!" so they didn't need a special program.

I still get a chuckle over that comment for obviously not all kids are academically gifted.  However, I like the thought that all kids have some kind of a gift, even if that is not what she meant.  For not only children have special gifts but I believe God gives each person talents He wants us to use.

The Word tells us when Jesus went back to the Father, He gave gifts to men.  There are plenty of other such places in Scripture, one of my favorites being at the start of Exodus 31 when we are told of men who were specifically gifted in various crafts for the building of the Tabernacle.  The Complete Jewish Bible translates it... "every kind of artisanry".

I think that our primary area of gifting from God... and we have many... is that which we have to do whether we get paid for it or not.  It is a passion within us that brings us joy.  It is a skill that comes easily, that for which we were born. For me that is writing.  I never thought of it as a gift until that day it dawned on me that in almost every endeavor I have accomplished, writing was a part of what I liked the most. 

Writing is how I cleared my thoughts.  Whether writing out my week's To Do list at work or writing a memo to my boss or writing a letter to a friend.  I loved to write.  It took decades for me to realize that being a writer and being an author were two different things entirely.  One may be called a writer because they... write. Even if they never publish what they write.

You get better at what you do constantly, you refine the gift God has given you when you use it.  I can write without thinking (although sometimes I go back and read what I have written and realized I should have had at least one more read through before hitting Publish).  

However, if I had to write perfectly each time, I'd never write.  Which is why some people I know do not write. Or Cook.  Or paint landscapes.  Or sketch portraits  Or create poetry.  Or start a scrapbook journal.  Or play the piano.  Or bake cakes.  Or make pottery.  Or teach a class.  Or use their pressure canner (that one is for me).  Or... anything we feel we have to do perfectly.

God has given each one of us at least one gift and most probably many gifts that can used for His glory and to bring joy to others. Your God given gift is what you have to do, what you are passionate about at the core of your person.  For instance, I used to dabble in painting but I don't have the desire it takes to be very good at it... whether watercolors, or acrylics, or oils.  Instead I use that part of my creative gifting to scrapbook journal or create cards or other crafts.

I quilted for awhile but then lost interest in it because I realized I love quilts but not sewing.  I understood my love of quilts was more my love of using them in decorating... and not making them.  However, I have some quilting friends who absolutely have to sew and make quilts.  That is their passion and they bless other people with their God given gifts.

I know God has given me a gift of cooking and baking because I find such great joy in the process.  Yes, I do tell people I have the spiritual gift of cookies.  However, I also love the process of chopping onions and celery and carrots, pouring a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan, then browning the veggies until they are just the right color... then adding tomatoes or sauce or stock or water and a chicken or all kinds of options available. 

I think one area in which we don't realize our gifts are God given is the way society looks at giftings.  For if they are not used professionally, then do they really matter?  That idea was one I struggled with when I was younger.  For a long time I thought I should use my baking skills to be a professional pastry chef but then life got in the way and I ended up homeschooling our son and then I developed Type 1 diabetes and well... that wouldn't work!

Quite often I have to ask God to give me Truth, to help me cut through what has become embedded by what I was taught whether in school, or in magazine articles, or even in chatting with friends long ago.  For we were just coming of age at the time of the Women's Movement and we started thinking our lives were far superior than women before us.

I came to realize they understood how to use their gifts and talents far better than we did.

For they used the gifts God gave them for their family, their friends, their church, and just for the joy of doing something they love.  I knew women who were known for the meals they created for their families on a tight budget.  My husband still remembers one of his mother's good friends who was famous for her cakes at the church potlucks.  I have been blessed by friends who wrote beautiful lyrics and played them on a guitar for our small group, just beginning to understand the concept of worship.

I had a good friend who used to tease me about being the only person she knew who hoped there were kitchens in Heavenly mansions.  She was one of the most talented Bible study teachers I have had the joy of hearing, with the ability to draw Truth from the Bible to teach in our Sunday School every week.  She was just as good as any Bible teacher on TV but she was... ours.

Your gift may take you before kings.  You may write books that bless thousands.  You may play music for large audiences.  Your paintings may hang in galleries and your ideas may save your corporation millions.  You may design award winning houses or become a master chef.  Your communication skills may take you to large magazines or your wisdom as a leader may be just what God needs to run for political office.

However... for most of us, we will be asked to practice our giftings in our home, our church, or our community. For you see, God placed you just where He wants you...  at the moment in time He wants you.... gifting you in every way to accomplish the journey He has set before you.  Nothing less.  Nothing more.  Uniquely you.

So I finish writing today and I ask for grace to cover typos and less than perfect grammar.  I pray His Truth will be made known to you that you are so uniquely special to Jesus.  He came to win you back from the clutches of the Enemy at great cost.  You don't have to do anything or be anything special to deserve His love... or the gifts you were given.  


Anonymous said...

This is totally amazing. as it is right where I am in my life. I have been working through that feeling of not being enough..think I have had it since childdood, and then the doing doing doing more and more with many , music and piano and accordian by ear....and by music making people happy at our resort for many years with POLKAS..and singing....drawing and painting up there to sell paintings for people could take a bit of the lake home with them...and art work for classes at the Art Institute in Chicago..and used in Native American work in the schools...with beading and design and working to know we are all so gifted and to use the gifts to gloryfy GOD as when we do that we receive the five loaves and fish TRIPPLED or more than we ever dreamed comes flowing in to us.... but yes we must acknowledge GOD and put HIM FIRST and not other gods ie our own egos....lost of lessons and you have written this just so beautifully..thank you for using your talent this way to open our thoughts to our Father and be grateful and share the bounty of His Love...Love to you all with deep gratitude..Merri

Little Penpen said...

This is a great post and our pastor recently touched on this in a message. Sometimes we are made to feel that if we aren't singing in the choir, cleaning the church, teaching a class, keeping the nursery, etc that we aren't 'busy' enough using our gifts. But I do think that not everyone has those particular gifts. I do think we all have our own unique gifts that we need to identify and then present back to God, by sharing with others. I really enjoy your posts and am thankful for your gift of writing!

Anonymous said...

I just love this post. Most of us use our gifts, as you said, in the ordinary days of our lives, with our family, church and community. I for one like to clean, believe it our not. I once worked for a fire and water restoration company, cleaning up peoples soot encrusted items. I found it very rewarding :) I have cleaned at churches we've been in, I clean up after my husband in his remodeling business. When our children were young and we homeschooled them through high school, they always helped in the cleaning. We paid them, and it paid pretty well. I too feel it is one of my gifts. Nannie

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Smiling big, friend! I so agree!

Anonymous said...

Great posting! I work in schools with children who have special needs.Their greatest need is confidence so I tell them that everyone has a gift, be it for music, computers or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for using your gift of writing to share! For years (decades!) I felt I had no giftings. Now, God is revealing to me gifts I never realized we're there all the time, just buried under perfectionism and fear of failure! So, little by little, I am stretching my wings, although rather late in life. However, I love the second to last paragraph! Thank-you for the encouragement! That's a gift, too! 😊 said...

Yes, we are the special someone to our own families, every day. Maybe we will be the mom to a "bigger/more important" person in life, or not. Do our job and use our gifts to God's glory.

Keri said...

This is beautifully said, Brenda, and just what I need to hear during this season. Your words in this post speak to questions that I've been asking myself and asking God in prayer. Thank you.