Character

I‘m part Italian, which means I have an inclination to the emotional and dramatic. I am passionate, and vocal, and I talk and worship with my hands. (We were joking last night at choir practice about the number of times we’ve clocked one another in the head or butt or back as our hands have flown up in worship when we’re in close quarters!)

I also struggle with being a little myopic – and by that I mean that sometimes things seem so utterly obvious to me I wind up irrationally frustrated by people around me who don’t see the same things I do, or see them differently, without any reference to other contexts or perspectives. Sometimes I’m right about what I see and how I see it, and sometimes I’m wrong. In neither case am I shy about sharing my opinion, whether the person I’m talking to wants to hear it or not.

Talking hands
This tendency of mine has brought me great heartache over the years, and I am sure it has resulted too in missed blessings, missed wisdom, and missed experience. But it’s also resulted in opportunities to speak powerful truth into the lives of people who needed to hear it – and have truth spoken in return. It’s resulted in life-changing epiphanies and deepening friendships and a growing realization of the work God is doing in my life and the lives of others. And it has resulted in the emboldening of enemies who have wanted to do me harm.

So when I took a spiritual gifts assessment a year and a half ago, I was both surprised and not surprised to learn that my two primary spiritual gifts are exhortation and prophesy.* The intervening months have been an interesting journey for me, as – among other things – I’ve been brought face-to-face with the ways I have been a poor steward of these gifts and the ways I need to incorporate them more completely into my life and my service. As I continue to dig deeper for a more complete understanding of God’s call on my life, it’s fitting that our pastor is currently offering a sermon series on the Book of James (“Mirror Image”), which is entirely about how we are to live our lives as Christians.

My life at the moment is entirely focused on restoration and healing – my own, and not others. It feels sometimes like selfishness but I know deep down this time is essential if I am to move into the next phase of my life as an effective, powerful, free and grace-filled daughter of God. The truth about sin is that it damages the people God loves, and I bear the scars of sin in my life – my sin and the sins of others. But since I’m being honest, I also bear wounds which I have not allowed to heal, wounds I have nursed and licked and fussed over so they are continually raw and painful – and though I have covered them up, the slightest and often inadvertent touch brings me to my feet with my teeth bared and my heart breaking all over again.

lensbaby look dog
In those moments, other people get hurt, other wounds are opened, other scars revealed. It’s been vital that I surrender, that I let God in to do the work and clean up the mess I cannot tackle alone, and guide me into the life and the plan he established for me before I ever drew my first earthly breath. My word for this year is “fearless” and it has manifested itself in so, so many ways – the first and most important of which is trusting God utterly. The last couple of years have been an e-ticket ride – and I confess I do not like e-ticket rides. But looking back I see how God has been peeling back layers of things that intervene between me and him, and I am aware of a growing eagerness for the next season, a willingness to step into his promises without hesitation, even if I cannot yet fully see where each step will take me. That’s how God builds character.

So this is healing. And hope. And God is faithful.

* “Prophesy” as a spiritual gift does not mean to predict the future. For a good overview of spiritual gifts, I encourage you to read this excellent article from Ministry Matters and these brief descriptions here. To take a no-cost assessment of your own, please visit this site.

Hands photo by Miss Pupik on Flickr. Dog photo by Kristin Charles-Scaringi on Flickr. Both used by permission under a Creative Commons license.

3 replies
  1. Juli
    Juli says:

    Beautifully honest! I for one have been the recipient of that prophetic gift and I am forever grateful that you allowed God to use you. There are alot of times in life when the truth is painful however, that does not make it less TRUE. I admire you willingness to be open and honest in your faith journey as your words move my heart to dive in deeper. Father so longs to heal us and make us whole and all too often the only thing standing in the way of freedom is our own fear…

    Love you lots!!! Thank you for sharing…

    Reply

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