|Image by Valerie Lynn Jones|
God created us each as individuals. Each with a purpose. Each with individual gifts and talents. Each with a unique personality. And all of that shapes how we ought to spend our lives, not only for our benefit, but for others, and especially to honor God. Yes, God delights in YOU and wants to use YOU for His purposes!
I starting sharing last week about how God has shown me to use my time wisely in light of who I am (as an introvert) and in light of His relationship with me. It's a personal journey so I'm sharing it in the context of "me" - but I hope you can adapt it for your own personal discovery.
These are the first two things that keep my schedule in check:
1. Personal Time in Prayer & God's Word
2. Keeping the Sabbath
Today is a look at shaping my schedule by...
3. Honoring God with my Gifts
I believe everyone has "a calling", so to speak. But it's not so much about that one big thing that we'll do one day that will make a huge impact in the world. (However, if God gives you a great vision - do it!) It's mostly about day to day living. Listening to God's voice, obeying His Word, every day. Out of that emerges an understanding of what we are called to today.
Today I am a wife, and I am called to bless and honor my husband in a way that best meets his needs.
Today I am an office manager for my church, and I am called to keep people/information organized and on task.
Today I am a homemaker, and I am called to complete my errands under budget and restock our closet with freshly laundered clothes for the week.
...the list could go on, but it's all about using whatever God has equipped me with to make the best of today. Because one day might come. And if I honor God with today, I'll be that much more prepared.
I learned that day-to-day living can get sticky, especially we try to fulfill the wrong calling. I remember a time I would get so overwhelmed with things I was "supposed to do" because I thought: If I'm good at it, I should do it...all the time...and maybe for the rest of my life.
And it doesn't help when others jump on board with the thought (although to be fair, they had no idea that's the association I made in my brain). Throughout my life, I've often heard variations of:
"You should do that more often!"
"You should make more of those and sell them - you'd make a lot of money."
"You should write a book!"
"You are really good at that...you should do this..."
I very much appreciate the compliments. Maybe I will do one of those one day. It's really up to God though. I've learned not to do it just because I'm good at it. There is no peace in that.
I have to do it because God told me to. That is when He blesses it - when He uses it for His glory. His glory, not mine, should be my sole desire in life.
So I've made of point of doing these three things:
1. Finding out my gifts - both spiritual gifts and talents/skills I excel at. I also pay attention to my limitations - there's a difference between development (or growth) and striving to make it in an area I just shouldn't be. Both can be challenging, but growth produces fruit while striving tears down or causes emptiness.
2. Submitting those gifts (and limitations) to God. He is trustworthy and faithful, pouring into my life everything I need to grow and carry out my tasks with purpose. It's a process that honors Him and blesses me. Can you think of a time you accomplished something by God's grace when you entrusted your whole being to Him? It's rewarding -- and empowering! I'm always energized to do more. And He delights in that.
3. Embracing Life's Seasons. Life changes! At one point I was student, now I am wife/homemaker/office manager/mentor, one day I'll add mother to the list... and each season requires new skills, a growth in giftings. Sometimes seasons end and sometimes God assigns our gifts to a new area. But only God knows the changing of seasons, and I have to trust and wait on Him.
Our time on this earth is precious. I want to invest it in things that have eternal value. Not just things I might be good at.
How about you?
If you have not figured out what your gifts are, I encourage you to do it...soon! There are many resources available to help you assess your gifts and limitations (I've listed some below). Prayerfully go through the process with God. He knows how He made you - and He will show you!
God's Word on Purpose & Gifts
1 Corinthians 12
Spiritual Gifts Resources
SpiritualGiftsTest.com - A place where you can learn about spiritual gifts, their purpose, how to use them and take a test to discover yours.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality - A blog by Pete & Geri Scazzero, pastors who developed resources on Emotional Health in ministry.