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Embracing the gift you were given

Each of us was created with a special gift. The challenge is accepting it. Using it. Allowing it to be our greatest ministry.

Make no mistake, I’m no stranger to failure.

In fact, I try to remind myself of that every day to keep me humble. Not in a punishing kind of way, but in a know my place in this world sort of way.

I don’t ever want to get too big for my britches. To think I’m doing something or anything right and someone else is doing it wrong…or to look down on others who sin or give or live a little bit differently than me. You see, that is easy.

And it’s cheap.

To sit on the sidelines and criticize. Every one of us has a critic.

Sometimes they’re loud and sometimes they’re quiet and sometimes they live inside our own head.

And it’s easy to become focused on self. Whether we’re falling short or towing the line, it’s easy to compare my gift against yours and hers and think I don’t measure up. I could believe I couldn’t possibly do it as good as you – I could believe I could do it much better than you – or I could start to think I should be doing some other thing entirely.

That’s the thing about gifts, we don’t really get to choose them. They choose us. And sometimes we wrestle with the choosing.

Because perhaps your gift is more selfless or interesting or popular or cool. Perhaps your gift involves people and parties and excitement and fun and mine is introspective, brooding or melancholy. Maybe yours takes you traveling and experiencing other cultures and people and mine leaves me alone and behind the scenes. Maybe you get paid and I don’t. Perhaps, maybe, you, she, me, mine…what if, maybe I should, what am I doing here?!!

We live in a day and time when we’re pretty focused on self. Self improvement, self enhancement, self promotion, selfies, self. And as much as that’s hard and necessary and just a part of the time in which we were born, it’s also easy to lose track of our place in the world.

Our little space to do small things with great big hearts. Like remembering we are here to love others well. To use the gifts we were given. To encourage others to find theirs, and to lend our strength when another is weak.

This is what it truly means to be the body of Christ.

Because you see, I believe we are the Church. And God is in the street.

Sure we can head to a building to worship and pray for a few hours on Sunday {I love to}, but what do we do with the rest of our week? Where is God when our child is in the hospital or our kids are sneaking out of school, or our finances are falling apart or our hearts are just full to the brim weary and tired?

You see I believe that’s when God shows up in us. He is in the doctor who heals and the nurse who cares, the teacher who guides, the mechanic who gifts his services and the faithful friend who listens.

God is in the everyday, every hour moments of our lives when we allow Him to work and live and breathe through us. When we live our lives worthy of the calling we have received, allowing our life and our gifts to be merely a vessel to reflect His love and mercy and grace.

When we become so focused on our self we lose the perspective that time is eternal. We forget that our gifts have been given to us before the foundation of the earth. That we were born for such a time as this. 

And if we don’t use the gift that was entrusted to us — who will? Does anyone else have the exact tools we were given that is needed for this time in history? I don’t know. I don’t believe He needs us to fulfill His will here on earth, but I believe that He wants us to. He invites us to share in the glory that will be His when the end is here and the story is told.

And sometimes it’s hard to embrace the gift we were given. Sometimes it’s scary and it hurts and we’re afraid. Believe me, I am quick to shrug off my deepest passions and trend toward tamer topics. Because you see there are wounds in the places of my greatest passion.

And quite frankly, I don’t think it’s an accident.

God will use the places of our deepest hurt for His greatest ministry if we let Him.

Let me give you an example. Recently I submitted a guest post for a very large blog and I chose a safe, benign subject. It got rejected.

For about 5 minutes I felt sad and rifled through my purse for any spare chocolate I could find and then I said, heck with it. I wrote the boldest post I’ve written yet about my greatest passion and my upcoming book. I submitted it later that day thinking well, here I am. This, is me. The dark, the real, the subject I’m most afraid to talk about in my real life, and yet poured into the pages of a book that both thrills me to life and scares me to death.

Within 48 hours I heard back and you know what they said: they loved it.

Loved it?!

It reminded me that God calls us to be who we are. To stand boldly in our identity as the beautiful daughter He made us to be, imperfect and yet complete, with the passions He created in us before the beginning of time.

Whether they be popular or polarizing, they are ours. And I believe He has carved us through our experiences, trials, joys and heartaches to live out the testimony of this gift. And when we try to speak from someone else’s passion it falls flat.

We get rejected.

Because when we try to be another part of the body we challenge the authority of the One who made us. We compromise the integrity of the unity of the spirit. One body, with so many amazingly beautiful parts, each with a job that is absolutely necessary to the functioning of the whole.

We don’t have to know exactly what we’re doing or where we’re going or how we’re going to get there. The real followers never do. But when we run by faith, He is faithful.

Whatever your passion or your pursuit to get there, I encourage you to share your own heart and speak with your own unique, beautiful voice. Don’t try to be the hand when you’re so clearly and intricately made to be an eye. Your amazing, crazy idea, passion, dream, gift….we need it.

We need your passion, your vision, your joy and your pain. All of it. I need your strong to find my strong. I need your best to find my best. God planned you, created you, and knit you together with a mission for this time, this place, this season, this life. Use it. Be the Church.


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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Kay March 21, 2014, 1:33 pm

    Yes, yes yes!!! I love 1 Peter 4:10-11 “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever.”

  • Susan Bricker March 21, 2014, 6:44 pm

    Tammy, Amen to this writing! You spoke to me on so many levels. Congratulations and stepping out afraid and submitting your writings and getting them excepted! That is awesome. It is when we are stripped down to our authentic selves that we reach others, I believe. It is when we speak from our pure place ,our pure hearts, that we reach others. I too am in the process of writing a book, my first one (I’ve been writing for over 30 years). I am stuck in finalizing it , to where it flows, and I am struggling. Your words really called out to me. Wonderfully written! I love your style of writing, and it’s funny because our styles are actually quite similar. I love your blog and I feel you reach so many people with what you write. Thank you for reminding me that our gifts are vital to develop and share with others, through Christ. I was getting discouraged but you rallied me ! Thank you for that. I wish you well with your book, I know it will be a beautiful work.

    • Tammy March 22, 2014, 7:06 pm

      Oh Susan I’m so excited you felt rallied! YES! That is my greatest desire – to stir others in the pursuit of their passion! Congratulations on embarking on the incredible process of writing a book! It’s such a hard journey but an amazing one in so many ways. I wish you only the best as you finish what God has placed before you in your life and heart and ministry. Keep moving forward & let me know when you finish! Blessings!

  • Kristin Waters March 24, 2014, 12:16 am

    Tammy,
    What a soul-stirring post…”God will use the places of our deepest hurt for His greatest ministry if we let Him.” I am finding out exactly how true that is – it is only through the broken pieces(cracks) can the light shine. And as you also said, “We don’t have to know exactly what we’re doing or where we’re going or how we’re going to get there. The real followers never do. But when we run by faith, He is faithful. ” Your words have inspired me to keep running my race. Thank you!
    Kristin

    • Tammy March 24, 2014, 1:35 am

      You’re welcome Kristin! I’m thrilled it resonated and encouraged you to keep going. We’re all in this together. Blessings!

  • Ellen Hoffman June 19, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Nourishment and life.
    Your blogs could be my voice where I feel mute and ignorant to speak…you are saying it all. You have put words to the thoughts that have been circling in my head from my early girlhood.
    I started with your new book Pretty and then began reading your blogs.
    Don’t stop speaking words of life and truth boldly!

    • Tammy June 24, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Thank you so much for your words of encouragement Ellen! What a gift to me today. xo

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