In this blog series I have chronicled the major steps of the self discovery journey God set before me these past several months. Until now the lessons have been mainly internally focused on thoughts and feelings. In summary, God has shown the need for community, the power of an identity in Christ and the importance of boundaries.
The next step is about taking action! Part of understanding who we are is understanding the gifts God gave us to complete His purpose for our lives. I believe God gives us many gifts in life. Each person is given gifts to further the family of Christ and show God to the world. The three types of gifts I have noticed from my life are Spiritual, Physical and Experiential.
God provides His children with different spiritual gifts in order to promote teamwork and community. "A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. ... All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines" (1 Corinthians 12:7,11). Spiritual gifts lead us into certain roles and give us a predisposition for specific abilities or interests. The Family of Christ needs a mix of all these gifts:
Physical gifts often provide us the means for using our spiritual gifts. Physical gifts can be anything God gives us to use in this world. Many times He only gives them to us if we continue to be good stewards. Examples of physical gifts might be:
1. Our senses (taste, sight, touch, smell, sound)
2. Our emotions
3. Talent (writing, athletics, intellect, musicality, speaking)
4. Money or other resources
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells a parable about three servants who were given money to take care of while their master was away. In this parable we learn how important it is to use the items God entrusts to us. "To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29).
Experiential gifts are our circumstances, situations and experiences. Through our experiences, we connect with people and ONLY through our connections we carry out the purpose God has for our lives. Experiences can seem negative or positive at the time but they are all being used for a divine purpose. "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love" (Romans 5:3-5).
In my family gift giving can be a comical event. One of the funniest gift moments I remember was when my step dad wrapped a gift for my mom in toilet paper! We all had a great laugh. The present and the memory are cherished. God's gifts may not be packaged in the Tiffany's style wrapping we see in displays but there are always treasures inside.
In my past I have run from my spiritual gifts, been afraid of my physical gifts and ashamed of my experiential gifts but today, I am learning to embrace my God given gifts. One of my gifts is deep emotion which often leads to many tears or bouts of exhaustion after over excitement. The responsibility behind any gift can be challenging but God provides His word as a manual as well as a community, an identity and boundaries to keep us safe while we are learning our best application of these gifts.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gifts you have given me over the years. Please help me to find comfort and courage to use them in alignment with the purpose you have for my life so I can be free and joyful in the center of your will.