“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
My cheerleader past self comes out in my present self every now and then. (Okay. More like every day.) I cannot stop myself from cheering on the random stranger running past me. “Keep it up!” Is my typical phrase, however I have been known to throw in a “Good work!” or “Way to go!” on any given day.
On this particular morning run I had an “Ah ha” moment about my “cheerleader instincts”. A woman with a dog was running towards me. I said my typical, “Keep it up!” and she smiled and said, “You too”. Directly after this quick correspondence I was surprised at my overall feeling. I felt joy from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet. And it was a crazy, giddy joy. I know if you could have seen my face it would have had a big grin on it.
So I contemplated what it was about that 2 second chat that made me so overjoyed? And then it hit me. I was using the gift God gave me. The gift of “Cheerleader” (as I call it) or Encouragement or also called Exhortation. And when we are acting in the gift(s) God gave us, there is incredible joy.
For a long time I was unaware of my gifting areas. I didn’t want to appear prideful and ask someone what gifts they saw in me. I didn’t think to ask God. And to be honest, I didn’t feel I was missing out by living in ignorance.
I will never forget a particular week when the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear from friends, neighbors, strangers the words, “you are really an encourager” over. and over. and over again. This was a turning point for me. A confirmation in my own spirit of how God had made and gifted me.
It all started to make sense why I felt so at home cheering the football players on at high school games. Why I also could never contain myself from yelling “You got this!” to my softball team mates at bat. Why motivating a friend towards their God given potential felt so life giving. It was because I was acting in my God given gift of exhortation and didn’t even know it.
I say this not to toot my own horn in boasting, because all the good in me is the Jesus coming out of me. But I tell you this in a, “I am thankful, and humbled for who God made me to be” statement.
So after this week of God revealing through others His gifts of grace to me, I decided to not shy away from my strengths. But to walk confidently in my new found identity in Jesus.
I have been praying lately for God to give me opportunities to use my gifts. It is a two sided blessing when the body of Christ is aware of, desires to use, and owns and acts upon their God given gifts. No joke, I feel beyond blessed when I GET to use my gifts to strengthen the body of Christ or GET to be a blessing to someone in a time of need.
So this is a call to action my Sister’s! The amazing thing about God is that He gives gifts to ALL His children. For a long time I would compare myself with others and feel bad that I didn’t have the gifts that they had, but this was only because I was unaware of my own. When we find out and are willing to use our gifts EVERYONE in the body wins! And we as Sister’s can work to “call out” the gifts we see in one another. Knowing God is using and has gifted her just like He is using and has gifted me.
So take this as a Cheerleader Ra Ra chant of “You can do it” and/or “Keep it up” in using your God given gift(s) to bless others. If you are unaware of the giftings God has given you (and the Bible tells us we ALL have been given gifts to build and strengthen the Body) step out and ask a close friend to share what they believe your strengths to be (you can read through the spiritual gifts list in 1 Corinthians 12). You can ask God to reveal them to you. Or for fun, here is a link to take a free spiritual gifts assessment if you have never taken one and would desire to (http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult).
My prayer is that we would affirm one another in our God given gifts. Regularly ask God to give us opportunities to use them. And intentionally think up ways of how we can be a blessing to others. And we know we SO get the good end of the deal in blessing, joy and purpose when we step out to give.
© 2012 Standing on Peace