“What are you good at? Is there something you would love to do?”
I listened as the facilitator of our team-building exercise asked these questions. And when she asked us to go around the circle and share our answers, I panicked on the inside because I didn’t have an answer. So I listened closely to others share their dreams, hoping I might glean ideas for mine.
Here I was, thirty-two years old, with no idea of what I was good at or what I enjoyed.
I guess I never had the courage or time to think about it. Up until that point, I had basically done what others wanted, expected, or needed me to do.
After I fumbled for an answer and recovered from the embarrassment of my lack, we took a break for lunch. Sliding up beside me, our facilitator, Miriam, encouraged me to ask God what He created me to do and what would give me joy, if I did it.
We aren’t designed to be who others expect us to be, or even want us to be.
Miriam suggested I take time to discover who God created me to be by identifying my abilities, passions, and spiritual gifts. In the weeks that followed, I took her advice and started reading Scriptures about spiritual gifts and completed a spiritual gifts inventory.
Reading through my assessment, I recognized strengths and abilities that came naturally to me. And I remembered times when I had used them and felt filled up instead of drained out.
Looking back now, how I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish I had known the promise of Jeremiah 1:5, where God says:
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart.
Just like God called and equipped the prophet Jeremiah to be His mouthpiece to the Israelites, He has a specific call and gifting for each of us. And He established both before we were even born.
It’s so easy to neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice. It sounds godly, but in doing so to an extreme we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God has gifted us and set us apart — to serve and thrive.
Do you know what God has wired you to be good at and what you love to do?
One of the ways to discover God’s unique wiring is through our spiritual gifts. Unlike talents and abilities received at natural birth, spiritual gifts are received at spiritual birth. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, God’s presence indwells our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit. And, along with His presence comes a “present,” referred to as a spiritual gift.
Our spiritual gifts are thoughtfully chosen by our heavenly Father to help us fulfill His plans for our lives.
There are three main ways to discover our spiritual gifts. First, just start serving. A friend of mine was in the NFL when he became a Christian. Knowing God wanted him to serve but unsure where or how, he volunteered in the prayer ministry at church. Then one Sunday, his pastor asked him to share his testimony in the service, and that day he discovered his passion and giftedness for teaching God’s Word. Today he is the lead pastor of one of the fastest growing multi-ethnic congregations in the United States — but he didn’t start there.
Second, ask someone who knows you and has seen you serving. Friends and leaders in ministry are a great resource to help you find that place in the body of Christ best suited for you and your giftedness.
Finally, ask yourself: What gives me a sense of joy and fulfillment when I am contributing to ministry or something of spiritual significance? Then go do it.
God had a plan in mind when He made you. When you intentionally use your spiritual gifts, God will guide you toward the purposes for which He has set you apart — to fulfill His plans and dreams for your life.
Lord, I want to know the woman You had in mind when You created me.
I don’t want to grow old and never know Your purpose for my life.
Show me the gifts and dreams You have for me,
so I can offer what You want to give to others in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.