Our Gifts, His Glory

The internet is a funny animal. It allows you to “meet” people you wouldn’t normally know and be friends with them without ever having hugged them or shared a coffee or heard their voice. One of my best “friends in the box,” as I call them, is Katie McNemar.

This girl is THE AWESOME, and she’s embarking on the great American Christian Adventure, by listening to God’s call to return to her home state and wait for further instructions. I’m in a perpetual state of admiration for this girl, whose blog you can read here and whom you may follow on Twitter here. You should, of course, leave comments here for the beautiful KatieMc.

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We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. -Romans 12:6 NIV

When I was younger, and before I knew Jesus, the gifts I had to give to the world were superficial, empty, and sparse.  I knew deep inside that I had a purpose.  I didn’t understand it at all, but I knew that I was born for something big.  Knowing that, but not knowing how to make it happen made me feel overwhelmed and unqualified at every turn.  Every time I looked at myself I couldn’t imagine that anything great could be done through me.  I didn’t even know how to answer a simple question like, “What kind of books/music/sports do you like?” I was an empty vessel, floating through the stormy seas of life without a Captain and without direction.

My life didn’t change drastically the day I got saved.  It took me another 3 or so years until I was really ready to give it all to Jesus and follow Him wherever He led.  The beginning of our journey was a little rocky, because I had a hard time identifying and feeling confident in using the gifts that God had given me.  Ever since I could hold a pencil I loved to write, but I stopped trying at some point because I didn’t think I was good enough.  It was so hard for me to start writing again; especially when I was writing about God.  I didn’t feel qualified to write about Jesus at all.  But I did it.  And shockingly enough to me, people read what I had to say and liked it.  Even through the fear, God gave me a peace to keep on going.

I’ll never forget when my Pastor gave me the opportunity to speak in front of the whole church one day.  I couldn’t understand why he would have ever been foolish enough to give me a microphone.  That day was a turning point for me.  I realized that the thoughts I had about myself were totally wrong.  I felt alive with that microphone in my hand.  I didn’t feel scared.  I loved speaking in front of people. It felt…right.  The same started happening with my writing.  The more I used the gifts that God gave me, the more confident I felt in them and the more effective I was. 

Eventually I started opening the first and second services at my church, having a book club at my apartment, and helping my brother and sister-in-law with the middle/high school ministry.  The opportunity I was given to use my gifts, allowed me to see the authority I had as a child of God.  Someone just had to give me the chance to do it even if I wasn’t perfect or if I messed up.

If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.- Romans 12:6-8

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We need to be more willing to let loose of our control and give people the opportunity to use their gifts.  I am sure that the first few times I had to get up in front of the whole church, my voice was shaky and I probably said a few silly things, but I never would have been able to get better if someone wouldn’t have believed in me and let me keep trying.  We need to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us, and we also need to be willing to let other people step out into the unknown and use their gifts.  The world needs us to use our gifts with a bold confidence that can only come from the Holy Spirit.  The closer we are with the Spirit, the more easily we are able to use our gifts.  If you are unsure of what gifts God had given you, all you have to do is ask Him.  He is faithful to show you and grow you in them.  After all, our gifts are all for His glory. 

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. -1 Cor 12: 4-6

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What are your Spiritual gifts?  How did you know what your gifts were?

If you have a few minutes, and are curious, this gifts survey might be enlightening: http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1

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30 responses to “Our Gifts, His Glory

  1. funny…your story is just like mine.

    can’t believe bailey didn’t get a cameo though!

  2. I love how you realized the more that you used your gifts the more you became comfortable with them.

    I kinda have slowly discovered them. I can talk to people and I can sometimes write.

    • You can “all-the-time” write!!! I love your writing!
      God’s timing is perfect. When God said I was ready to use my gifts, He opened doors for me to do so even though I didn’t ‘feel’ ready.

  3. Exhortation seems to be my main one. As for discovering this–it took others seeing it in me as a teenager for me to see it in myself.

  4. I’ve felt the same way in the past (not good enough). I feel God has slowly chipped away at that false self and made me more confident and secure in my identity in Him.

    When I’ve taken tests in the past, my giftings have been in the Administrative and Serving areas. Feel it’s pretty spot on.

    • Amen! God really had to work with me about my self confidence for a long time. Once that facade is gone, we can walk in the freedom we have as His children.

  5. Kristin, thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post for you today. You are such an inspiration to me. I can’t wait to take the survey and see what it says. 🙂

  6. This is SO good! It’s amazing what a difference it makes when you just have that one person believe in you.

    My most prominent gifts are in teaching and encouragement. It wasn’t really until I was given the opportunity to teach that I really understood how much I loved it. I always liked to read and study but when I had that opportunity to teach, I came alive.

    I believe our gifts are like muscles. If you don’t exercise them, they get atrophied. The more we exercise, the more powerful and confident we are. That confidence in the One who gives the gifts is what puts authority on them.

    I’m so proud of you, Katie Mae!

  7. Boom. Loved it. Two awesome people and fantastic writers uniting in bloghood.

    • you might think about having a two-fer on Awesometown someday.

    • An Awesometown two-fer might be waaaaay too awesome. If you want your site to crash from amazingness overload and all the Reese’s eggs in the world to melt simultaneously, then yes..definitely go for it.

      Thank you, Knox. You are the mayor of Awesometown.

  8. Beautifully written, Katie! Your transparency with the time it took for you to allow God to reveal your gifts is encouraging alone. Thanks for that.

    I would say encouraging and serving others are my two strongest gifts right now. Those are typically revealed through writing and serving our community.

  9. Katie, I’ve only discovered your blog this week thanks to Tony but it looks like we have much in common! Thank you for sharing this. I can definitely point to people who believed in me and nurtured my abilities, especially those that I never realized I had. My top spiritual gift is hospitality. I love opening my home in both planned and spontaneous ways, connecting with people and connecting them to others, and figuring out how to genuinely love people where they’re at. I learned how to do this by my mom’s and grandmother’s examples. I didn’t realize this was a unique gift, as it’s just how I was raised and what I’ve always done, until I took one of those spiritual gift inventories. The results made perfect sense!

  10. I can relate to stopping writing for a long while because I didn’t think I was good enough. Thank goodness for blogs! How did people write creatively without them? 🙂

  11. I have the gift of teaching. Not that I’m great at it, but God has put me in that position and I am beginning to “love it”. I have a passion for God’s word and what better way to show it than to teach it?

    I also have the gift of breakdancing. Too bad the church community is not ready for that…. yet.

  12. My biggest gift is teaching.
    In so many areas, I often feel so unconfident – partly because I don’t feel I’m “good enough” and partly because I don’t receive a lot of encouragement. I think I depend too much on others to build me up, or even approve, rather than seeking God’s blessings and approval. Maybe I just need to seek God and pleasing Him, rather than seeking the approval and encouragement from others…

  13. Mine is teaching. I found it when people didn’t boo me after my first talk. I was in high school and I felt like God wanted me to speak. I didn’t want to talk to my youth group so I made a deal with God. If it stunk and the students didn’t pay attention then I was going to be an ESPN personality. If God used it then I would be in ministry. I was a junior in high school and I have worked at a church ever since.

  14. I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, but it is one of my favs:

    >>>God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

    It is only through Him and the strength of the Holy Spirit within me that I am able to be helpful, loving, or even useful with my gifts. Otherwise, I just get conceited and egotistical about them.

  15. Great job, Katie! Administration, Exhortation and Teaching are my big 3. I learned through assessments, experience, and others speaking into my life.
    I’m very thankful to be part of a church where all are given the chance and encouraged to discover, develop and share their gifts. Where such an environment exists, so many possibilities open up for God to show up!

  16. When I first started dating my husband (I didn’t know the Lord at that point) (my Mother in Law led me to Jesus later) (It was awesome) he said to me once: “You have a servant heart.” I thought it was an odd compliment, and not the kind of thing I had ever heard a boy say before. I didn’t know it was Christianspeak. Now I know that God built it into my personality to begin with, but after I gave my life to him, and especially after I was baptized a few years later, God really began to work through this gifting in a supernatural way. As I go about my busy life it is my joy to keep my servant heart ready and open for any interruption of the Lord saying – do this – or -do that – which is usually in the form of some kind of service to a person. I’m always amazed at the mind-boggling ways God moves when I’m willing to do such seemingly mundane stuff when he asks me to.

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