4 Ways to Find and Follow Your Gifts
“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” Mary Dunbar
10 second summary: Take 10 minutes today to think about the greatest strengths you have been blessed with, and how you’re using them to serve God and others. Is there something you can do today to focus more time and energy on your strengths? If you’re not sure where to start, take the quick free self assessment test below to identify and think about 5 of your biggest gifts. Pick 1 to focus on today.
Dare to find and follow your gifts
I just read an amazing article by Shana Schuttle in her Focus on the Family post “Discovering Your God-Given Purpose.” It has some inspirational and thought-provoking tips, starting out with the story paraphrased below:
A fisherman caught three trout from a mountain stream and placed them on a patch of grass. Before he caught them, he saw them swimming gracefully, completely vibrant and alive.
After being placed on the grass the man noticed they lost their vibrancy and seemed unhappy, staring at him listlessly. He told them not to be sad, and pointed them out to a neighbor. The neighbor joined the man in sharing with the fish how great it was that they were on a lovely patch of grass, and how wonderful life on land could be. You’ll like the grass, the men agreed, and they talked about how prosperous the fish could be on land.
The fish didn’t respond and looked dumber and more listless still. Finally a little boy walked by and asked the men what they were doing. “Put them back! They can’t be all they’ve been created to be when they are out of the water,” the boy exclaimed.
Finally the fisherman put them back in the water and after getting re-acclimated briefly the fish swam away effortlessly—like “a liquid ballet” filled with grace and beauty.
Are you a fish out of water?
Shana follows her story by asking if we ever feel like a fish out of water. If, like the fish, we feel like we’re dying inside. If the answer is yes, it may indicate we need to reassess our life and let it push us into “another, more satisfying ocean.”
Here are Shana’s 4 focus areas to help us identify and follow our purpose:
1. Listen to your dissatisfaction
Many of us were taught to think dissatisfaction is a bad thing, indicating lack of contentment or proper focus. So we tend to ignore it or try to push it away, but it may be a “road sign” from God reminding us that He has other purposes for us. So if we’re miserable in our current career or job (or another activity we’re spending time on) its possible God may have another plan for us.
2. Listen to others
Often God uses those around us to show us and reinforce our core gifts and talents. Is there something others are always saying you’re good at, things that make you light up, bring you joy, and seem easy for you but harder for others? Pray for wisdom and listen with discernment to those around you—they may see something in you that you have trouble seeing in yourself.
3. Listen to your gifts
Your talents and gifts are clues to your God-given purpose. Shana says, “The gifts God gives us are like little seeds planted inside us, but for them to grow we have to use them. This means that if you can’t identify which “Gift Seeds” God has given you, try doing new things that interest you. Through these new experiences, God will reveal more to you about who you are and how He has called you to serve Him.”
4. Listen to your passions
What makes you angry, joyful, excited, or passionate? Things that move you emotionally can be a sign of your God-given purpose. Pray and ask God to show you His purpose for your life, remembering that He wants you to discover and follow it even more than you do! Your purpose is not just about you (though following it will make you incredibly satisfied and happy), but it’s about serving others and what God wants to do through you. Shana urges us not to betray ourselves or God—“because He has called you to a purpose and wants you to walk in it—for others and for your own joy.” God is able and willing to reveal your purpose to you as you diligently seek Him.
Wow—great stuff! I know I’ve spent too much time in life in directions that weren’t my strengths. And as I grow older and closer to Christ I learn more each day how to identify and follow the gifts He’s given me and use them to serve others.
Follow your gifts
Following our gifts isn’t always an easy path, and it can be downright scary and tough sometimes. But I love what the quote at the top of this article says—following our gifts is “our privilege and our adventure.” It’s so worth it, and we need to do it! Leave no regrets behind, ladies.
No matter where you are on this journey, let me encourage you to keep on keepin’ on! Listen to that nagging voice of “perpetual dissatisfaction” if it’s been eating away at you, ‘cause as Shana says it could be a sign that God has something more in store for you.
Free spiritual gift quiz
OK so here’s another practical step that can help. A free spiritual gifts quiz by GiftsTest.com. I took mine today and it only took me a few minutes—less than 5—to complete. It reinforced things I know about myself, and said my top 5 gifts are Administration (the ability to organize multiple tasks and groups of people), Exhortation (the gift to encourage others our urge them to action), Pastor/Shepherd (gift to nurture and care for others and help them “mend life issues”), Faith (belief in God for his ability and strength in situations), and Giving (the ability to produce wealth and use it to bless others). So true, and I’m trying to better understand and use these every day! (Starting My Daily Ten is a step out in faith for me, and brings these all together…)
So how ‘bout you? Take the quiz here (follow the link then click the red Take Test button) and see what strengths it reveals or confirms in you. Explanations of your results and some great reference scriptures will be emailed to you, and I also enjoyed reading descriptions of various God-given gifts at SpiritualGiftsTest.com on their Definitions and Descriptions page. (I didn’t try their test, just the definitions).
Dare to find and follow your gifts
Summing up…take time today to pray and think about your God-given strengths and gifts and how you can use them. Dare to discover and activate them.
I know that can be easier said than done! But ladies, I know you can be brave and step out in faith into the areas He’s already made you a superstar. You’ll be amazed how you bless others and how He blesses and inspires you as you do.
What are your top strengths and how are you using them? I’d love to hear from you by email or in the comments below.
If you’re still on a journey to discover your gifts, did this help you? I’d love to hear in what way. Send me a quick note or comment so I can cheer you along and keep you in my prayers.
You’ve got this, ladies! I’m behind you, cheering you all the way!