Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Where are my gifts?


Ever feel like you pray and pray and pray and never hear your answer? Right now that is me and I am getting frustrated. I have been mulling over 1 Cor 12: 7-11 for weeks now.
"To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes."
I have been in prayer for a long time now over this verse. I keep asking God what I am doing here? What gifts has He given me to use for His glory? Which of these gifts has the Holy Spirit given me? I can go into excruciating detail as to why I have none of the above gifts, but I need to stop doing that.

I was talking about these gifts to my five year old son, and he said quite frankly, "Mommy, don't you know your gift is music? You are made of music!"  I thanked him, but to be honest I didn't like it. Why is music the only thing I am remotely good at? What does music do? I can't prophesize with music. I can't interpret tongues or discern spirits with my music. I can play some notes. Big whoop. I became angry. I felt like God has forgotten about me and my prayers. I told God such. I can't speak to people well because I am shy and because I am awkward. I have a difficult time with memorizing passages of the Bible so I can't quote in conversation. I have tons of holes in my knowledge of God (I am working on filling them in, but it seems the more holes I fill, the more holes I notice). I am just a weird, awkward woman without an idea of who I am and what I am capable of doing.

I gave up on that passage. Clearly that passage was not for me. Clearly I do not have any evangelizing gifts besides playing scales (because an A major scale and arpeggio always brings people to Christ, right? *sarcasm*). I felt like I should give up my conversation with God. He wasn't answering my prayers so clearly he didn't want to use me, right? I am not even all *that* great at music. There are so many people so much better than me so how is my "gift" even a gift at all? After a day-long pity party for myself I realized I was dwelling on my insecurities and through my fleshly sin I had invited the devil to start taking root in my thoughts.

I decided to meditate on something else for a while. Corinthians was making me go crazy. While I was in prayer and apologizing to God for my moment of weakness, a distant memory of eighth grade popped in my head. During our confirmation training, there were questions and answers we had to memorize. This particular one spun in my head. "What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?" "Bishop, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, right judgment (or counsel), courage (or fortitude), knowledge, reverent love (or piety), and holy fear." I realized quickly I didn't actually understand what all these words meant. Enter research phase. I found a great explanation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Catholicism.About.com. Do you know what I learned? I have all those gifts in me. I may lack confidence in knowledge and understanding, but I can work on them (and I have been). Even though I feel like I have been dished out minimal gifts, the Holy Spirit is with me and wants to give me any and all gifts I ask for. All I have to do is desire a real relationship with God.

So I have been trying. I have also realized I don't have to be angry about "only having the gift of music" to share. I also don't have to put myself down about my skills because at the end of the day that doesn't matter. If you are praising God through music being Yo-Yo Ma isn't going to make the praise any better. It is the heart of the player that matters. Music can change shape for individuals. For me it is worship, praise, thanks and adoration for God, but He is amazing and can take music inspire others with it in different ways.  One person can listen to music and be healed. Another can prophesize after listening to music. And another can be lead to service or be inspired to greatness.  I don't have anybody coming up to me and telling me their life has been changed after listening to me, but I don't need that. All I need to do is take what God gave me and give it back. He will use me if need be but I don't need to know about it. What will that do for me if I know I helped someone else? Honestly, nothing. If anything it could make my head big and then my heart won't be in the right place. I play music for praise and worship and for nothing else and I hope to remain humble about it.


I will admit that I still *wish* I had a *better* gift. I still feel like music isn't enough. I still feel like I am less of a Christian because I can't get up and tell my testimony to the world and I can't evangelize and change people's hearts and I can't spout out verses from memory. I guess my role is more of a supporting character than a lead. Let me teach my children. Let me play some music. Let me continue to ask God why he made me this way. Maybe one day I will understand, but for now I need to find peace in the way God made me. I am unique for a reason and only He knows.

Sirach 1:23-24 "If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the LORD will bestow her upon you; For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight." 

I ask for prayers. This is the real me. Insecure. Doubtful. Questioning.  I try not to be, and I try to grow as God calls me. Why does it have to be so hard? I know I am doing many things He asks of me, but I know he is calling me to do something else and I just have no idea what it is. I felt like it was the lack of gifts that was keeping me from hearing him but after getting this out in words I realize it is me. I am stopping God from answering my own prayers. I desire God's love. I desire to be bffs with Jesus. I desire a strong connection to the Holy Spirit. Somehow I am not listening. God has always smacked me in the head with answers but I think he is starting to be more subtle with me. I guess I am no longer a baby in my faith and He is expecting more. Pray that I am able to step it up. Pray that I open my ears and listen for His voice to lead me. I am a lost sheep that needs to stop hiding in the bushes. Jesus has gifts he would love to give me, I just need to take the steps toward Him to see what He has in store for me. 

A Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
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