There are numerous resources available today to help Christians discover their God-given talents, inventory their spiritual gifts and even determine their personality strengths and weaknesses. And at the conclusion of all that has been revealed in that process we’re then told things like, “Do what you’re good at,” or “You’re likely called to do something that comes naturally to you.” I’ve even heard “God wants you to be happy,” and “God doesn’t want you to be miserable as you serve Him.”
This year Girls Like Me (our women’s ministry) has been watching a video series called “Pulling the Thread” featuring Jen Hatmaker. In the series even Jen confirms this same line of thinking with the wonderfully profound statement “Calling is where your gifts and talents meet your burdens;” WOW, I couldn’t agree more! I believe God has given us gifts and talents for a greater purpose far beyond our personal advancement; and living a fulfilled life shouldn’t leave us depressed and disheartened as we serve Him.
That being said, I have also discovered that doing something I’m good at doesn’t necessarily require much—if any—faith. It doesn’t cause me to trust in God, be courageous or to depend on Him. I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing something I’m good at, I have a tendency to depend on ME.
I recently had the privilege of attending a Gala fundraiser for ZOE International, a ministry dedicated to rescuing children from human trafficking. I happen to personally know the founders of this amazing organization. Michael and Carol Hart are two of the most passionate people I’ve ever met when it comes to their mission and calling. Check out this incredible world changing ministry here.
Carol and I have something in common: we both share an incredible apprehension… okay who am I kidding… a real and unnerving FEAR when it comes to public speaking; and yet the positions we both hold, require us to do just that on a regular basis, THIS is what makes us kindred spirits.
For Carol, her preparations for something like the Gala event are not easy; they are put together in anguish and distress. The funny thing is, you wouldn’t know it when you’re hearing her express her heart about all that ZOE is doing. Why? Because she told me God has met her every single time, and yet - she still hates public speaking. Carol said, “It’s horrifying and unsightly to see me prepare – wimpy, whiney, panicked, and ridiculous drama!”
I understand that anguish and distress on a personal level. I have lost sleep, gotten migraines, experienced nausea and even considered running away before having to do any sort of public speaking. It sounds crazy I know, but public speaking makes me a little crazy!
I wish I could tell you I’ve said YES every time I’m presented with an opportunity to speak. Unfortunately that is not the case, but at this point I can tell you when I do say yes, it requires courage and faith. Courage to face this giant I’m afraid of and faith to believe God’s going to come through for me… again, just as He did before! When I talked to Carol after the gala, she told me, “Not even hurting children can get me up there, only my love for God can do it!”
So from where I’m standing, I believe God absolutely uses us when it comes to our natural gifts and talents, but I’m also convinced he likes to take the insecure, scared, weak-kneed Christian and empower them to do things they never thought possible. Carol and I are living proof of that.
- Pastor Debbie