Tuesday, March 29, 2016


The "Curse" of Our Gifts

This morning on facebook a relative posted a short video about the spiritual application of a pizza box. It's a two minute clip about how we as believers are vessels of Christ. Keep it in mind as you read this post because, as I'm sure you know, we cannot take credit for our gifts. James 1:17 reminds us that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
  A few years ago at church we all took a spiritual gifts test. The goal was to identify our strengths so we can utilize them for service. I found it super-interesting. A couple of people were asked to speak briefly about their results and they said something that resonated with me and I'm guessing you get it, too.
They said that they know it's a blessing, and they are thankful for their gifts, but sometimes their blessing felt like a curse. That's why I sometimes refer to these things, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, as "blursings" because they feel like a combination of a blessing and a curse.
My friend has the gift of administration and she's amazing. Creative and organized, she is a master at making everything beautiful. Dozens of times I've heard people (myself included) say they wish they could just let her do whatever she wanted to makeover their homes. She likes things clean and organized and she's very very good at it.
But, for her, there's a downside. Disorder and mess bug her. Some people could overlook a messy bookshelf, but for my friend it would probably stress her out a little.
Then there's another lady. She spoke about one of her main gifts. The gift of mercy. Oh boy. When she said that this blessing sometimes felt like a curse I knew exactly where she was coming from because I have that one, too.
Several years ago I played "Truvy" in a stage production of "Steel Magnolias". When Shelby, regretting asking Truvy for a short haircut, begins to tear up, Truvy begs her to stop. "Oh sweetheart don't. Please don't cry or I will too. I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence."
Yep. I may not actually cry, but no one suffers in solitude if I'm around.
I'm glad I'm a compassionate person. But being compassionate means that there are times when my heart aches because of valleys I'm not actually walking through. If you are in the valley and need someone to hold your hand awhile, I'm your girl.
Don't misunderstand, I'm thankful for my gifts. Along with mercy, a couple of my other gifts are discernment and wisdom. I'm so grateful for them. I think if I had had a choice I would have picked those gifts.
But here's my point. I think that there's a reason there's some pain in the gift. What good is mercy all by myself, kept hidden? What good is wisdom if I don't share it?
Is a gift really a gift without some amount of sacrifice? Is it really worth anything if we don't grow, develop, and use it to bless others?
These gifts are meant to be manifold. Paul said in Acts "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
Haven't you noticed that sometimes the best way to lift your own spirit is to bless someone else?
Let's embrace the sacrifice. Like Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
Like when you knit, bake, clean, create, write, craft, or just give your time. When you sit and listen and let your presence chase away loneliness. The time you spend. The risk you take in being vulnerable, the inevitable hurt we invite when we love one another. It makes it sweeter, and richer, and more. The sacrifice of our "blursings"'is all part of the gift.

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