Why is it that we can struggle to be bold when it comes to using our gifts?
How many times have we taken a deep breath, fighting down the urge to duck and cover, to hold back when it comes to using our gifts? At times, hesitant to even speak our mind or express an opinion?
As if we know.
As if we are some kind of crazy-gift-experts, we look at our meager offerings and judge the fruit of efforts as…not good enough.
Haven’t we all felt this way at one time or another? More often than we’d care to admit?
Comparison asks the wrong question.
Comparison can cause some serious set-back making when it comes to using our gifts. Comparison can choke out passion to fulfill the desires God gift-grows in our hearts. Last time I checked…
We evaluate, measure, compare…often times using the mixed-up standards of this world to decide if our gift is enough. To decide if we are enough.
Fear steps in, ever ready to agree with our tentative spirits that yes, indeed, our gift is not good enough.
Timid and unsure of ourselves, we hold back.
Maybe we turn back. Maybe we leave it to someone who can do it better, bigger, bolder. At the end of it all, comparison asks the wrong question.
The right question is, what does God want to do through this gift?
Don’t hold back.
As I read and lay my soul down in the first chapter of 2 Timothy, I find I need the same reminders that Paul gave Timothy. I need these words of encouragement overflowing with the love and affection of a teacher for his favorite-student-become friend.
I think of the times, countless times, in this fledgling writing and ministry life, that I have raked myself across the coals of evaluation and comparison, turning to the responses and feedback of others to measure worth and value.
Stepping out in faith?
So here I am– on the brink of sending a book proposal into publishers who have requested a copy. Folks who are willing to take a look. Long shot in a competitive market.
Is my gift good enough to break out of volunteering at a job I don’t have? Work of four years in someone’s hands and maybe all they will see is what I lack.
This is the voice of timidity. The calculating voice of one afraid to fail. Weigh the odds before taking the risk… That defeating spirit of timidity lurks in the corner of my days, never far from my thoughts:
Maybe better not to send it. Easier.
That’s timid talk.
If you know this struggle in some area of your life, read these words with me. Read them loud. Read them to anyone who will listen. Read them until you begin to believe them.
For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
Whose gift is it really?
Somehow we tend to think of gifts as something we own once they are given.
My gift. My calling. My purpose. My responsibility.
Every gift is from God—it is His and He takes pleasure in seeing His gifts come alive in the unique personality of His children.
His gift. His calling. His purpose. His provision.
Deep under the surface, I tend to think of this gift in terms of what I must do with it, become through it, excel in it. Though I know better, this old thinking pops up too often. In reality, isn’t each spiritual gift an opportunity, a privilege, a front row seat to participate with God in something He wants to do?
A different perspective.
I think it is almost as if each God-gift is an open-ended vessel, placed within the secret place where spirit meets flesh—rather than a box wrapped up tight. A vessel that the fresh creativity of the Holy Spirit can pour through…when I don’t get in the way with my fearful evaluating… Not good enough… Put the gift away.
This, sweet friend—is not what God’s gifts are for.
God’s gifts are not for us to hoard and hide until we decide we are good enough.
They are to be used for the building up of the body of Christ. Sometimes it isn’t just the gift that needs kindling.
More often, it is the embers of faith that need to be fanned into flame, burning away all traces of fear. The holy-fire of passion embraces what God has given along with each gift–a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. In essence, He gives us what we need to step out in faith, using our gifts for His glory.
What’s holding you back from using your gifts?