When I was growing up, my mother often told me,
Dee, you are not gifted, you are just a hard worker.
Over time, this definition of me has burrowed its way deep into my being. I have lived with it for a lifetime. I tend to ruminate on it, making it a measuring stick for my value as a person.
- I have to DO, to BE.
- I never really arrive, after all, work is never really done.
- I’m more comfortable working alongside someone, than conversing with them, sharing my inner being.
- I feel like I need to do work to earn love – with family, friends, and God.
- I hesitate to try anything that I don’t think I can work hard enough to achieve. I fear failure and personal rejection.
- I miss out on the joy and freedom that comes from being comfortable being me, instead of doing me.
- I get caught in the loop of works, focusing on what I can or cannot do, instead of focusing on the power of the God that works through me.
I love my mother and there were many ways she influenced me for the good. But, after she died a few years ago, I held onto this concept of myself. Recently I’ve been deconstructing it through the eyes of God.
The word “gifted” can be defined in 2 ways. As an adjective (having exceptional talent or natural ability) or as a verb (endow with, provide with a quality, ability, or asset).
If I shift my perspective, I can see that, I AM gifted. God has endowed me with HIS gifts.
- And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable GIFT! (2 Corinthians 9:14-15)
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourself, it is a GIFT of God—not of works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 3:23)
- 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. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
- Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Through God, I am gifted with grace, salvation, eternal life, a personality with spiritual talents, and the Holy Spirit. I accepted THOSE gifts a long time ago when I chose to follow Jesus. If I hold onto the thought that I am NOT gifted, I insult God. It is a lie that I tell myself based on the old tapes that run in my head.
Does all of this mean that I am completely released from working hard? No, I don’t think so. But it does mean that my value does not come from working hard. There is merit in just being me, a grace-covered believer. And, when I do the work set before me, I am gifted – God is giving me to someone else and equipping me to serve them.
The perspective shift, gifted (adj) to gifted (v), changes the focus from me to God.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect GIFT is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:16-18)
By the way, YOU ARE GIFTED TOO.