When we receive a gift, on any occasion, we usually open it right away. Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, we don’t wait to open them. The anticipation is too great! The gift giver is expectantly watching your face for your reaction. Often you’ve spent time listening for clues to what they like, and you invest in purchasing the gift. You know what it’s like to find the perfect gift for a special person and watch in delight as they open it!
Do you have a gift you haven’t opened? I had a gift I left unopened for forty (40) years! When I opened my gift, it changed my life forever!
What I discovered when I opened the gift, was a bunch of really ugly stuff. I didn’t understand why the gift giver put all that garbage in with my gift. I need to tell about this nasty stuff so you can know how it changed my life.
Have you ever been around folks who drain the life out of you? Have you judged others to be more intelligent than yourself? Have you felt worthless and of no value?
As a young woman in the Midwest, I was a frequent visitor at the home of a girlfriend I adored her three children, and they called me auntie. I don’t know why, but one day my friend’s husband started calling me dummy. I would walk into the house, and he would say “Hi dummy.” I knew I was loved by this family, and we were close friends, so why did he call me dummy? To no surprise, this name resonated in my spirit because it confirmed how I saw and felt about myself.
The reality was I worked, attended college at night, and made “A’s.” The fault that was mine was the fact I didn’t ask questions that would answer the “why.” Sometimes we will forfeit understanding a situation, for emotional need or out of fear. It then becomes our “stuff.”
How God Liberate this Queen!
While living in California, I developed a love for hats, especially vintage hats. The love was so strong that my friend and I began to collect hats! We were in an antique store shopping and heard some ladies behind us laughing as one of them put on a full-length mink coat and was modeling it around the shop. We introduced ourselves and began talking and laughing as we modeled the hats! As one of the ladies and I were talking, we discovered we had a connection, and upon leaving the store, we exchanged phone numbers.
She called a few times, and through our conversations, I learned she was a “coach” for people who felt small or belittled themselves. God was positioning us for a long, hard journey, but one that would liberate me in so many ways.
Romans 12:3 (NIV)
“For by the grace that was given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
My “A” Gift
For sure I did not think of myself more highly than I ought, but I was on the other end of the spectrum because I didn’t value me as God did. I had a long way to go before I had “sober judgment” of myself. The discovery process was hard, and soon much of my “stuff” became visible, was pulled out and thrown away. Praise God!
I began to study and understand the stylistics of communication. These styles are biologically inherited from our parents and not learned. The desired outcome of whatever a Christian does is to look more Christ-like.
What Can We Learn Through This Gift?
The very first lesson we can learn from this gift is that even though this is an inherited gift we no longer get to ascribe blame to our parents but we take responsibility for our actions!
Our weaknesses and strengths will be revealed through this gift and acceptance of ourselves and others will be substantial takeaways from this gift as we learn
- We learn not only to listen but to hear what others are saying
- We learn to understand the organizational skills of others
- We learn who needs detailed information and who needs the big picture information
- We learn the emotional needs of others
- We learn to appreciate others for their abilities
Thus; the beginnings of humility and a sober judgment of ourselves and others grows.
My “A” Gift provided information that would help me understand other people and develop empathy for them. More so, My “A” gift would help understand me! Needless to say, I was excited and a heavy burden lifted from my heart. The understanding I gained from the “A” Gift, helped me look at me and others differently. Please know, I am still discovering all this gift holds for me.
Romans 12:3 …but rather think of yourself with sober judgment!
My “B” Gift
The magnitude of my “A” Gift was huge! It was as if I walked into a dark room and turned on the light. You’re blinded by the light for a minute, but then you can see where you are and what to do. Note; “this is one package with two gifts, wrapped differently. So I had one more gift to open.
The church I grew up in was a very active church. We seemed to be on the go all the time. But I have no remembrance of hearing about “spiritual gifts” or that God had given us a gift other than His Son, Jesus Christ.
As an adult and thinking about changing my career I became familiar with career assessment/tests. The career tests provided career options that might best suit my personality type. These tests and their results intensified my search for me.
While attending a church in Westlake, CA, the pastor introduced the church to Peter Wagner Spiritual Gifts Test. This test covered all the gifts from service to exorcism (now called deliverance). I was a little overwhelmed; however, the test was a thorough and comprehensive assessment test. Did I understand what was happening right away? No! But the gifts ascribed to me created more questions for me.
I did not set out to make a comparison, but now I was able to do just that. The spiritual gift assessment confirms the secular test results. Example: on both tests you score high in the abilities it takes to be in a leadership role. Thus, across the board, you can take a leadership role in your career and in ministry! Now look at the results of your style of communication, and you see your style of communication has leadership as one of your options is a career is a leadership role. Thus; leadership is confirmed, but you will want to explore your weaknesses in order to be an effective leader. After all, I am the analytical/melancholy one! And my career requires me to be detail minded with analytical abilities.
As a side note; Not all tests will give you areas of ministry/career. This is why I favor Discover Your Children’s Gifts, Discover Your Spouse’s Gifts and Your God Given Gifts, by authors Don Fortune and Kate Fortune.
Situations Where Gifts May Change
Isaiah 55:8 NIV “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
We must remember God is sovereign and knows how and where He wants to use us. In this situation, our obedience is all He requires. Also, your focus at the time may cause one of the dominant gifts to change. Remember junk in, junk out. Be truthful in your answers, so the results are helpful for you.
I began to see a change in myself, and how I felt about myself. At times I may still struggle, but am in a more peaceful place, and God is at work in my life.
These are general tips you may find beneficial.
- A strong support system – identify what you need and make sure you have these people in your support group
- Study – Bible Study, small group, listening to sermons – a way to bring the Word into our lives daily
- Mentor/Coach (the responsibilities of Mentor vs. Coach are different)
- Journal- you can see your progress through journaling
- Accountability Partner
- Set objectives for yourself
- Rest and life balance – to stay at the top of your game
I am still learning! Moreover, God is still getting all the Glory and Praise!
Again I ask, “do you have a gift you have not opened”?
Can you see Jeremiah 29:11 without Romans 12:3?
Discover Your Children’s Gifts, Discover Your Spouse’s Gifts and Your God Given Gifts, by authors Don Fortune and Kate Fortune and Katie Fortune https://www.discoveryourgifts.org/?getpage=The%20Foundation
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