July 16, 2011 by Heather Harris
I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual gifts lately. For instance, what mine are, how I can use them to benefit others, and why in the world God decided to give me the gifts that He did. In other words, I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about where I fit into God’s story. Looking back at a paper I wrote on this very topic in my Exploring the Bible class from my freshman year of college, I noticed how much my thinking on this has changed, even in just the past 3 years.
I used to think the only gifts God had given me were talent-related. I have always been gifted musically and artistically, and so, naturally I have tended to focus my energies on pursuing those talents for God, but what I didn’t realize before is the spiritual gifts God has given me in relating to those around me.
When I was younger, I was always drawn to and had a heart for those who were different. When I was in elementary school, I befriended a dwarf girl who got picked on because of her size. My best friend in kindergarten was an Egyptian girl whose parents sent her to kindergarten a year early so that she could learn English better. My teachers used to ask me to be paired with students who were mentally impaired, when we had partner projects, because they noticed my ability to understand and love the outcasts.
Though I know now that God has spiritually gifted me with loving people unconditionally, it bothers me that this other part of me, this ability to understand and embrace those who are different that was so prominent when I younger, has all but disappeared in my adult life. I believe God plants seeds in us, seeds that are gifts for us to nurture and cultivate, so that they can flourish in our spirits and flow outwardly to those around us. But I am afraid I let that gift God intended to grow in me die.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that with time and care I can once again grow that gift into something I can use again?
Stay tuned for a lot more posts and hopefully thoughtful discussions on this subject.