Gifts and talents! One of my favorite things! In this post I am talking about every kind of gift, talent and ability you use in your life… Spiritual, natural, or whatever you decide to try to take on. Because no matter what we do in life, it can be done as unto the Lord. Everything we do should be done out of love. Colossians 3:23 says Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
I am a creative person. I love to imagine and create. It seems like almost any activity or craft type thing that I try, I end up liking and doing well enough that I would do it again for myself or someone else. The question is, how do I rank which ones bring value and substance to not only me personally, but most importantly to the Kingdom of God and to my family.
Let me start by telling you about my gifts and talents and other abilities. I love to sing, play instruments, write music, write Bible studies, journal, write letters, craft, sew, cook, do home projects, do hair, makeup and nails, dance and choreograph, teach classes in church, play with my kids, babysit, talk with people about things they are dealing with, pray with and for people, dig into and really study the Bible, decorate my home, refinish wooden furniture and other wood projects, crochet, draw, paint… the list could go on and on. And like I mentioned above, the more I try the more I like to do.
This is a lot of stuff. How do we find time for it all? Usually we don’t, except for when it’s called for. There are seasons through the year where I will work on certain things. I change my home’s decorations WITH THE SEASONS AND HOLIDAYS. I like doing it and I sometimes make some of my decor. Sometimes I work on dances for vacation Bible school IN THE SUMMER. A LITTLE BEFORE CHRISTMAS I like to bake and craft and make homemade gifts. I teach WHEN THEY NEED A FILL-IN. Beauty related things are PART OF MY JOB. You get the idea. There are different times and occasions for different things that we do in life. All of the things that we do don’t have to take up all of our time and energy.
The problem is we try to do too much at once. There was a time when I thought I had to do everything and be everything. ‘Yes’ was my answer to everyone no matter what the need was and no matter how crowded my schedule became. I felt like I could do it all and squeeze it all in. Finally, I realized that my family was paying for it. I had no time for home life because I allowed my gifts to suffocate me.
I had to let go of some of the things that I liked to do in order to develop the things that I believe are truly important in my life. It was a little bit hard and sad to let some of it go. That doesn’t mean that I can never do those things, but I did have to separate myself and set boundaries.
One way that I had to separate myself was by physically removing the items that I used. For instance, I loved to craft, and I had accumulated so many supplies over the years. If I wasn’t making something for the heck of it or to sell, I was working on a project for someone else who didn’t have time to do it for themselves. This is good, but it was taking time and energy away from my other priorities. I decided not to be the craft go to woman anymore. So I got rid of my supply stash. I kept a couple of important tools that I might need down the road for my family, but this was a good way to help me say no even if I wanted to say yes. Eventually it didn’t feel so bad anymore. And I felt free to grow in other areas.
There are different ways that we can set boundaries for ourselves when dealing with our gifts and talents. Like I mentioned above, physically remove the items that you would use. Temptation gone! Step away from a particular ministry that you feel you should not be part of. Don’t say yes to everyone who asks you to do that particular thing. If you don’t feel like it’s something you should be focusing on, I bet there is someone else who can fill that gap, even if you don’t see anyone. And learn to know when a little bit of something is okay, and set limits. Like how often and how much time can I give to this? Is this for me and my family or am I able to extend it to a few people.
For example, I had to create a set day for a particular ability. Friends and family were asking me constantly to do this thing for them, and I said yes no matter what day or time or if it interfered with my family schedule. I would get frustrated that no one cared about my time. But they didn’t know there was a problem because I never set any boundaries. Each one only knew that I was helping them once in a while. So I let everyone know what day of the week I was available. And most of them respected that. If that didn’t work for them, then I had to let them know that it was okay to ask someone else to help them. That was hard, but it was necessary. I had to keep my sight on my priorities, stay strong and keep my boundaries.
What does God say about this?
We all have gifts and talents. Each of us has a place to be used in the body of Christ. We are all ministers in one way shape or form. No job is too small, on the contrary, every job is needed for a body to function properly. It’s important to realize what gifts and talents you have, and when and where to use them. When we do this we can really develop them and and be a greater blessing to the kingdom of God. 1 Peter 4:10 says Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. And Romans 12:5-6a says …so in Christ we form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us… As the body of Christ; the children of our Father in heaven, we belong to one another to serve and be served.
Ultimately our greatest purpose is to glorify God. Everything we do should point to Him. And when we live our lives as such, others WILL be pointed to Him. Remember, it’s not His will that even one should parish. We are vessels for Jesus. We are on this earth to be love to others so they can see Him alive in us… Even the people that rub us the wrong way. When we love the Lord, we truly love people no matter what, because Jesus loves them. If we would give our time to use our gifts and talents to truly serve the Lord, other people will be blessed and know love.
So back to cleaning out and making room for your gifts and talents to be the brightest light they can be. I’ve put together a list of questions to ask yourself and to really pray about. God will reveal what is important and what needs to take up less of our time and energy. These are just some things that I will ask myself when I decide I want to get into something new or when I want to get deeper into something.
Questions to ask yourself and God when prioritizing your gifts and talents
- What gifts and talents do I already pour myself into, whether by myself, at church, or anywhere in life?
- What is my motivation for using this ability? Am I doing this for my benefit or for God?
- Is this something that should be part of my life at all?
- Does this keep me away from, or take time away from where I already know God wants me to be?
- Is there a need in my church body that I have the means to fill?
- What am I using only for myself that I could be using to add life to the body?
- Is God wanting to take this gift or talent in my life to another level?
These questions aren’t the law. These are just questions that I take to God. I want to use my gifts and abilities to the fullest potential that God has given to me. I want to be a blessing of light and love to all those around me.
Lord, you are good. You have given us everything we need. We are so blessed with gifts and talents among your body. Help us to see which abilities we should pour ourselves into. Show us how to be good stewards of these things. We don’t waste time and energy on one thing, when You want us to be focusing on another. Help us to let go of those things that we shouldn’t be wasting time on, so that through You our gifts and talents will flourish and be a greater blessing for Your body and kingdom. My desire is to serve You. Help me to love and serve others with the gifts that You have graciously made part of my life. I love you, Lord. Amen.
This post is part of a series of post called Clean Out My Life. Click here If you would like to read the intro and other posts in this series.