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Discovering and Using Your Gifts For God
Our oldest daughter Heather loves photography and for the last year, she has been pursuing that passion by buying a good Nikon camera, lenses and camera bag, practicing her skills on family and friends, starting a website and blog, and going on photo shoots. with professionals. I am thrilled to see Heather use her talents for God, and gather all she can from others who are succeeding.
We all have gifts, talents, and abilities that God has richly deposited in us for His glory. We do not need to hide our talents like the lazy servant in Matthew 25: 14-30, but draw them out of our hearts and minds, and bless others with them. God has great plans for our lives if we will only believe and obey Him (Jeremiah 29: 11). The acronym WATERS describes how women can discover and then use their gifts to further God’s kingdom on earth.
W. Wake up your appetite for God. I just can’t get enough of God’s presence; He is so amazing. Develop a hunger for God and His presence. He is the one who gives us our gifts!
God wants to use you, but do you want to be used? If so, how? Do you want an enriched, exciting life, living it to your fullest potential, or a mediocre, boring existence?
Psalm 37:4 says: “Rejoice (enjoy, enjoy) the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” What are your wishes? Take them to Him, and then as you follow Christ, He will make those things happen!
A. Ask God, yourself and others what your spiritual gifts, talents and abilities are. What are you really good at? At least three people have told me I would make a great wedding coordinator. I love weddings ~ planning them, shopping for them, decorating, organizing, serving in them. One of my favorite movies is “The Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez. So I’m playing with the idea for the future.
Are you naturally good with computers and a great artist? Then you would probably be good as a graphic designer. When you speak at retreats, do you get positive, encouraging feedback? Then you are good at communication. Your words carry weight and authority, so use that gift to bless others!
Do you love having friends over for dinner and spending time with them? Then you can have a gift of hospitality. Do you feel deeply or cry when people are hurting, and try to comfort them? You probably have gifts of mercy and compassion.
The spiritual gifts can be found in Ephesians 4: 11-12 (fivefold ministry gifts), 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 (manifest gifts), and 1 Corinthians 12: 28. Some churches or internet sites have tests you can take. to find out your spiritual gifts. Find out what yours are and start walking in that authority and anointing!
T. Tap into your creativity. Vicki Caruana says in her book, Giving Your Child the Excellence Edge (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton IL, p. 49), “A lot of creative thinking requires remaining detached enough from any one idea to allow others to be considered. That may not come naturally . to us, especially if we are used to censoring our ideas, as most of us are.”
In other words, thinking outside the box. Allowing your mind to go crazy. Telling the inner critic to shut up, and having the courage to write that story about what happened in your bedroom one night when you were 5, or that you had an abortion when you were 21. Driving past the “nice and safe” zone in writing and talk, be real, go for the jugular in your and your audience’s emotions.
How can you best use your creative skills? If you’ve been cutting someone’s hair since you were 12, enroll in cosmetology school and get paid for something you love. If you like to bake or cook, start a catering business. Do you think about horses first and last thing every day? Take riding lessons from a good trainer, and start showing in English horse shows. Sometimes our best creative thoughts come when we’re just having fun!
Creativity also means giving yourself permission to try new things and feel new sensations, like going on a hot air balloon ride in New Mexico or skiing in Colorado. Color outside the lines; use the big box of pencils with colors like Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown. Buy the new wardrobe for your wardrobe that you admire but have never dared to try before.
To set the wheels in motion, turn off the dvd player and walk around your neighborhood, really seeing it for the first time. Look, listen, smell, touch, taste. Too often we zone out and don’t even notice our surroundings. Do you know what kind of car your neighbor drives? However, do you even know what your neighbor looks like or talks to her? Have you ever noticed that around your block there is a home with Spanish-style architecture and an enchanting, almost hidden, outdoor garden like a miniature of The Secret Garden?
Go to a big zoo, and just look at the animals and people. Do homemade science projects. Read about strange things in space, like the roar that scientists say is coming fast to our galaxy. Start a flower or vegetable garden and play in the dirt. Reading good literature and listening to classical or some kind of relaxing music every day feeds our brain with creative, new ideas.
E. Exercise your gifts diligently. Muscles atrophy when they are not used regularly: “Use it or lose it.” Do we really want to bury our talents for 40 years, and wake up one morning, realizing that we are old, it is too late, and we are not what we once really wanted to be ~ an artist, a singer, a soldier, ah? missionary in South Africa, writer, dolphin trainer? As we discover what our gifts, talents, and abilities are and begin to cultivate them, they will blossom. They will also create inner happiness, and bring joy to God and others.
We need to prune those things that prevent us from maximizing our potential. Why are we wasting time working at the hardware store 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 coaching high school basketball? If you feel stuck in your job or role, relax. take action Pay attention to what is in your heart.
The Lord gives us certain desires, for good reason. Interestingly, these desires are often related to our spiritual gifts, talents and abilities, and ultimately to our calling. I have several friends who love working with children and are gifted at teaching. So they work in a Christian school, and are totally happy and fulfilled doing this.
If you are just starting out in your craft, take steps of faith. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Give yourself growing room. Set high goals and discipline yourself for more education, write that article, speak at the small church or work on your website to improve it.
It’s like getting into great physical shape. If you are 40 pounds overweight, you will not lose it overnight. Several years ago, I started making healthier choices to lose weight – eating more salads and less fast or processed food, drinking more water, taking vitamin supplements, using hand weights. Aerobic exercise is the main area where I need a lot more discipline to get down to my ideal weight. But I have to do something, instead of nothing. Start where you are to use those talents. And see how God will grow His glorious garden!
A. Achieve your dreams. Be determined to live a full, beautiful life, and not waste a second. Life is just pregnant with possibilities and adventure! One of our family’s favorite movies is “Secondhand Lions”. A young boy whose mother left him to live his own fun life dropped him off at a strange house to live with his two old, grumpy uncles who didn’t want him there. But eventually their relationship grew closer, and he learned a lot from these larger than life men. One of the lines we love from the movie is after the uncles died and left the nephew with all his inheritance (which was big). Telling another man about his two uncles, with great admiration, he said: “They really lived.”
Are you really alive ~ or just existing? Is this the life you really want? If it is not, when will you start?
Take the ceiling off your thinking, the limits you’ve conditioned yourself to, that come from the perceptions of others and negative self-talk. Listen to what you are saying to yourself. Our thoughts have a great influence on our lives. Learn to train your mind to think positive thoughts about success, instead of toxic, defeating thoughts. Cling to Scripture like, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me!”
Our daughter Leah has a little sign in her room that has a bright yellow star on it: “Wish on a star.” What are your three biggest wishes? My first would be to have more wishes.
What do you want to do? What do you love to do? Your passion is the key to understanding your gifts and abilities!
Marnie Swedberg summed it up for me on her recent Writer’s Radio Show with author/speaker Cindy Rushton when she said she never feels more alive than when she’s speaking in front of a large group of people. I really related to that! It used to scare me to death to stand in front of people and speak. I literally used to physically shake and stutter, and felt like I was going to pass out. To be honest, I still get a little nervous right before I speak, but as soon as I step on the platform, it melts away as God’s anointing kicks in – thank God for His grace and that precious anointing ~ I never want to do it without Him! And I LOVE it! I feel alive writing and speaking! This is how God made me!
What is it that God is calling you to do that is so much bigger than you? Nothing is impossible with God. And He wants to do the impossible through you and for you!
S. “Study to show yourself approved.” (2 Timothy 2:15) This means learning all you can, bringing honor to God and obeying Him. Abide in the word of God daily. Proverbs 4:7-8 says, “Wisdom is the chief thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Lift her up, and she will lift you up.”
Find daily quiet time with God, and let Him speak to you and guide you. His Holy Spirit will teach you everything. (1 John 2:27)
Follow more education, classes, training, seminars. Find a mentor to disciple you. Be like a sponge and soak up all you can from people who are successful in your field of interest. How did they begin to use their gifts or talents? What were the practical steps they took? Extract the valuable from the worthless. God has a unique blueprint for your life that He wants to fulfill. He is the master mentor.
Be humble and get help from people, even family and friends. Relationships are invaluable, not only for the intimacy and pleasure they bring, but also for networking. Not burning bridges is always a good idea, unless it’s absolutely necessary for your safety, sanity, or sweetness. It’s a very small world, and I’ve been amazed at how certain people have come back into my life years later (some I wish I hadn’t, but maybe they feel the same way!). Sometimes, however, these are divine connections. A good rule of thumb is this: be as nice to people as possible. Don’t you appreciate beautiful people?
Rudeness is not a sterling trait. And it might come back to haunt you later, especially when they find out you’re now a Christian speaker and writer. Most of all, God is love and we as believers want to be like Him and show others that wonderful love. Our gifts are for the glory of God and to strengthen His kingdom. We want to model Jesus, to be His hands, feet and heart to a lost and dying world.
Our gifts are like special gifts, waiting to be opened by God. He has many beautiful surprises in store for us and others, as we seek His face, unwrap the gift, and then with gratitude enjoy them and use them for Him and to bless others.
Copyright 2009 Beth Jones
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