Own Your Gifts

latestThank you, Sir. I think I can be brave enough. — Lucy
I’m sure you could. Battles are ugly affairs… These are tools, not toys. Bear them well and wisely. — Father Christmas
(quotes from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

Much like the young children from the beloved C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, we’ve all been granted gifts to use in pursuing our callings. But the more I think on it, the more I’m convinced we all-too-often overlook the reason behind it all. It’s not so much a calling we yearn for; it’s a sense of purpose. And until we have it, we remain restless despite our callings.

According to Google definition:
A calling is a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.
A purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

To have a calling without a purpose leaves me incomplete. I might have a bent toward a certain way of life or career, but without a reason for choosing that particular path, I’ll remain aimless in accomplishing anything of worth. I am a wife, daughter, friend, mother, writer, intercessor… these are all callings on my life. But my callings are not interchangeable with my purpose; they are merely vehicles to achieving that purpose which is larger than all of those identities combined.

Despite the seasons of my life, my purpose remains consistent: to love God and to love others as myself. But how that looks morphs and changes throughout the years and is dependent upon my roles being played out in the lives of others. To one, I am wife. To some, I am mother. To others, I am friend…

As I live to fulfill my purpose each day, I must ask myself a few pertinent questions:
How do I best show love to my husband?
What does it look like to honor God while encouraging my family?
How do I support my friends as I urge them to remember God’s faithfulness through the trials of this life?
How do I impact a lost and hurting world?

In short, how do I fling my arms about my Savior and humanity at the same time?

The answer?

Be brave enough to be here now.

Stop and linger long as you intentionally make time for relationships. With God and with His people.
Set goals for the future, yes, but live in the moments that are.

When we choose to linger with God, we cannot help but be saturated with His Spirit. And when we are filled with His Spirit, we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hands prepared to move and to act and to serve in obedience, wherever we are. Right here in this moment of everyday life we are living.

The Spirit of God has dreams for you, friend, and they come with gifts to equip you to fulfill those dreams. It’s time to open the packages in your hands and trust you are the owner of them. To be brave enough to accept and to bear them well and wisely, for these gifts are not meant merely for you alone, but also for the people whom you encounter this side of eternity.

At the start of this New Year, I encourage you to own your gifts, beloved. Use them up. Drain them dry for His glory and for the benefit of all who need to be touched by the love of God you have to offer.

Your gifts might not look the same as the packages being opened all around you, and that’s okay. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy and Susan and Peter all received different gifts because their callings were all unique. What they were each meant to accomplish looked very different even as they worked toward the same goal. If they would have been caught up in comparing their gifts instead of using them, then the entire kingdom of Narnia would have suffered and remained in bondage to a perpetual winter that was never Christmas.

Likewise, people need what you have to give as much as you need what others have to offer. Someone needs your love today. Your prayers. Your encouragement. Your faith being expressed from your uniqueness. Believe it, then be brave enough to bear your purpose well and wisely when the time is at hand. Don’t allow the comparison trap to keep you clenching your gift tightly, fearful of how it might look when you finally allow it to slip from your fingers into the life of another.

Once we start sharing, we’ll see the power in the gift. We’ll see the impact it can make. We’ll feel the difference of transformation taking place before our eyes and within us. And we’ll yearn to pour the life He has given upon all who come near.

So move into your purpose, dear one. Reach out to your spouse first thing in the morning as you are filled with God’s grace to partner together under the influence of the Spirit’s leading. Come alongside those teenagers you loved enough to birth, and continue to stick with them to birth something real and beautiful as they grow. Stretch out your hands to your friends and clasp them in prayer over that next cup of coffee. Wherever you are, at any given moment… be present.

Be real.

Be you.

Make it your intention to live with the intent of fulfilling your purpose.

Because you have one, and it’s beautiful.

And it’s needed.

People are waiting for you.

I think you can be brave enough.



Up Close and Personal

What does it mean to do life together?

This question has challenged me to think deeply, exposing things within my heart that are both frustrating, yet clarifying, as I take a good look at myself.

How do I live with others?

How does that play out within my own marriage covenant and within the four corners of this home I share with my ever-growing children?

While there are many definitions for life, perhaps mine could best be summarized in two short statements: be real and live closely. There is no place where the real me shines more brightly than at home, which is not always a positive for the other members of my household since the real me is sometimes agitated, impatient, unkind, selfish, and occasionally downright mean.

This is a part of the reality of a life lived closely with others.

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