I have taken more spiritual gift and personality assessments than I can remember, desperately hoping that the result would tell me plainly what area of ministry I was supposed to be in, what church to serve in, and for how long.
Again and again I’d get frustrated, as the results were perpetually far too general to be of any help. I know I’m strong in serving and weak in evangelizing just by observing my own instincts. My “eureka” moment came when I took three assessments—spiritual gifts, strengths, and personality—in rapid succession and was faced with a picture of myself that hit the nail on the head.
I realized that the gifts that God gives us go beyond the scope of our spiritual gifts.
Don’t get me wrong: knowing our spiritual gifts is highly important as they govern how we can use our practical gifts to serve God. My sister and I are both highly analytical, but her chief spiritual gift is teaching while mine is serving. We use the practical gift of analysis that God gave us in different ways that match our spiritual gifts.
I put a lot of value into knowing your skills, gifts, and personality traits. Personally, I got a much better idea of how to submit these gifts to God once I knew what they were, and consequently, I received back so much more in blessings.
God made us for His purpose. He receives glory and praise when we use our unique combination of abilities for His plan. Doing so draws us into His presence and we begin to feel the blessings of God. I’ve always viewed it as a simple, but difficult, act of obedience.
Often, we spend our lives developing these strengths for our own hopes and dreams. I was a Communications major. Many of my classmates wanted to win a Pulitzer or produce a nationally televised program. Sometimes obediently using our gifts for God might dictate that we sacrifice these dreams. God might decide that your place to serve is as a communications minister in a church. Not exactly the Today Show, huh?
Sometimes, obedience requires sacrifice.
I went into college wanting to become a sports writer. What else could be better than getting paid to go to sporting events and then talk about it in 500 words or less? Through college I tried three separate times to gain traction as a sports writer, whether through my own blog or someone else’s website. In each case, I ground out article after article for months to have my entire readership be one person, my mom. Needless to say I was discouraged and finally willing to give up on that dream.
About the same time I started to really grow spiritually and became more interested in following God’s plan for my life. A year and a half later I began a communications ministry internship. Between a ministry training class I was attending and my day-to-day work, I started to get the impulse to write. Not about anything in particular but just what came to mind. December saw the creation of my own blog. I didn’t care if anyone read it or how long it stuck. I just wanted a place where I could write about things God was putting on my heart. If not for that blog, I wouldn’t have made connections with many other wonderful blogs and, perhaps chiefly, I wouldn’t be writing this article.
In years of trying to use my talents for my own purposes, I gained nothing. In a couple of months of using it for God, I’ve enjoyed a blessing of success that I’ve never experienced before.
This blessing has allowed me to overcome a lot of doubt and fear I had about my ability to get a job in the writing field. I still don’t know what kind of job I want, but I do know that writing about where God is nudging me is something I don’t want to stop doing because that’s how it works.
When we give all of ourselves—our abilities, personality, skills, and even weaknesses—to God, He uses them in ways we couldn’t imagine or predict. And we get hooked on serving God however that service might look.
Things really clicked for me when I followed God in using the abilities He gave me. Have you ever experienced this?
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