In A Thousand Words Or Less (Pt. 3)

So I’ve managed to start writing this blog before midnight tonight (yay, improvement!).

Lately the Lord has been impressing upon me the importance of embracing the gifts I’ve been given, and tonight at church I was reminded yet again.

First of all,  it’s easy for me to get caught in a vicious cycle of self-improvement. I spend so much time working on my weaknesses that I exhaust myself because I’m not doing what I love and succeeding. Instead, my energy gets sucked into a void that only feeds the idea that I’m not enough.

This semester, I want to make a change. I want to focus on my gifts and grow them. I want to invest in things that I’m passionate about, instead of trying to become more passionate about things that aren’t necessarily important to me.

Second of all, I need to learn what having a true servant’s heart means. Loving, giving, and serving are a huge part of the Christian faith, and using my gifts to serve others is one of the most satisfying things ever.

But, this Scripture sticks with me, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

In other words, I’ve started to question why I am serving, and who. Yes, I am serving others, but it’s under the headship and direction of Christ. When I get caught up in the principle of self-sacrifice I lose sight of the beauty and purpose of the act of serving others. I’m serving others as a reflection of Christ.

If I start looking at sacrifice as something I’m doing for the good of others, my reward will be their response, or the impact of the service, rather than the act of serving itself as a means of following in Jesus’ footsteps.

I know this is a really slight difference, but it’s the difference between using your gifts and growing and using your gifts and becoming exhausted by them. Humans fail us: their responses and happiness will never be enough to fuel us.

Thirdly (Is that an actual word?) I’ve struggled with a deep fear and shame of my gifts. This also goes along with Galatians 1:10. I automatically assume that, if I’m using my gifts the way the Lord is asking me to, people will enjoy and encourage my gifting (or at least other Christians will). Time after time I have experienced quite the opposite. Not only is learning how to use your gifts confusing, messy, and filled with a lot of mistakes along the way, but it will (eventually) step on peoples’ toes.

Gift of mercy? People will criticize you for being an “enabler.”

Gift of exhortation? People will say you’re too harsh, critical, or (HEAVEN FORBID) judgemental.

Gift of faith? People will say you’re irresponsible and blind.

Gift of underwater basket-weaving? People will say your baskets are ugly.

Okay, obviously the last one is a joke, and of course there are times when we can be the worst of those things, but honestly, our gifts (even gifts of service) are not for the people we are serving. These gifts are not of this world, and as we grow in them they will draw us closer to our Creator and simultaneously cause us to stand out like a sore-thumb.

Do what you love and love what you do, even if no one understands the significance and importance of your actions.

Have a great Monday!

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