Do you know what your "spiritual gift" is? Teaching, preaching, healing, encouragement, knowledge, discernment, administrative...Churches have a long list of these, and there is a whole slew of studies, questionnaires and the like to help you discover your gift, and how to put it to use. I've taken the questionnaire twice now. The top gift was the same both times. Some days I really like my gift, and some days I want to ask God is He sure that I'm supposed to have that one...
I have gift envy. I wish I was more organized. I want to be administratively gifted. I want to be able to hold an event that people respond to, attend, and enjoy. I wish I could plan a successful party. I want to be able to just start AND finish a project. I used to think I was good at this type of stuff. I used to think I was gifted at service. Truth be told, I scored high on service the first time I took the test. It was the second highest gift. I loved that. I liked being behind the scenes, setting up the food for potlucks, and cleaning up after. I was Ms. Dependable. "They" always knew they could count on me. Here's the truth and it isn't pretty: I thought it was the only way to get people to like me. Doing things for others was the only way to get them to like me. There, now you know. I was full of massive insecurity. And then I got divorced.
When my ex and I separated, I began shedding a lot of weight. The excess weight was a result of years of emotional stress eating. As the weight came off, the emotions buried under layers and layers of fat rose to the surface. I was in a season of aloneness (thank you, God!). I spent a lot of that time dealing prayfully with the issues that put the weight on in the first place. Now, as my new body emerges, so is the spirit I had buried there. Now I realize that I actually like attention. I feel no hesitation in getting up in front of people and talking. I am a social, extroverted person, and I won't be hiding in the kitchen anymore. (So that's more gift envy, actually: when others get asked to deliver talks, I hear little whispers in my ear...why not you...how come you weren't asked to speak? All I can say is: go away Satan, I need to HEAR what God is saying through that person to me!)
The second time I took the test, service did not even make the top three gifts. My gifts are encouragement, faith, and evangelism. I don't always like the encouragement part because it often attracts people to me who are horribly hurt and in a great deal of pain. I am empathetic, and often have the best of intentions for following up with them. But that's the downside of my gift. I spread myself thin, and forget to follow up with people. Since I'm not administratively gifted, follow-up doesn't come naturally to me. Hence the gift envy. There are times when my gift makes me feel downright lazy. I see others accomplishing things, and all I'm doing is standing there talking. (Never mind that the person in front of me is pouring out their hurt and pain...) God is good, because He sends the encourager encouragement too. Today I was paid a very high complement by the leader of my South African missions team. Let's just say, I've felt like I've been in the background for a lot of things involving this trip, and that I wasn't pulling my weight. After what she said to me, I no longer feel that way. I've decided to look at it differently: I'm allowing others to exercise THEIR gift. This one can arrange for us all to have t-shirts, that one is booking the flights and organizing teams to do various tasks when we get there, the third is pulling together fund-raising plans...the list goes on. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing: pitching in where ever I can, and encouraging them when the going gets tough. The envy is gone.
Take THAT satan!
Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap a great harvest if we do not faint.