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.
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
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
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