My whole life I’ve wondered what my gifts are. What is it that I – Becky – am uniquely good at? I’ve never had an answer to this.
In Christian circles (where I’ve lived almost exclusively) the term “spiritual gifts” and “gifts of the spirit” are used frequently. The idea, I think, is that after God was no longer around physically in the person of Jesus, he sent us his Spirit and would give people abilities to connect with this Spirit through certain gifts.
The Bible has a few lists of these spiritual gifts including words like healing, prayer, prophecy, and speaking in tongues. Frankly, whenever I read these lists I feel forgotten – like God passed over me when he was doling out gifts.
I’ve never fit into one of those lists.
When I think about what I’m good at, it’s not really the “spiritual” stuff. Like I’m pretty good at word games like Taboo and Outburst. I also seem to do pretty well at exaggeration and hyperbole. When I tell stories, details don’t matter to me nearly as much as conveying the overall point and feeling of the story. (This particular “gift” happens to drive my literal-minded husband crazy.) I also am good at forgetting things. Of course this is both a blessing and a curse.
But these things seem silly and unimportant, spiritually speaking.
A new thought crossed my mind this morning, though, that perhaps in all my years of wondering whether I have a gift, I’ve overlooked something. It’s something that comes quite naturally to me and I’ve never considered until this morning that it might actually be a gift. And the thought is blowing my mind.
Is it possible I have the gift of transparency? Really, the idea of transparency being a gift seems preposterous. And it is so counter cultural to the world I was raised in.
Church – and the Christian life in general – has this tendency to present a front. And as I recently realized, I have gotten very, very good at faking it. Throughout my life, I have learned to fit into this Christian culture of false authenticity. I can outwardly portray brokenness and vulnerability with the best of them while inwardly feeling disconnected and disappointed and forgotten. I’ve tried for years to fit the mold of what I thought a Christian was supposed to look like.
But when I think about the things I’ve shared that have resonated most with people, they are the ones where I share my junk. My questions. My doubts. My fears. The most “unspiritual” posts, if you will. When I’m open about my struggles, people get that. They connect with it.
And I seem to have the weird ability to put this mess into words.
We go to a church which is unique in its wholehearted embracing of the messiness of Christianity. Our leaders always speak from a place of vulnerability, which makes it easy to listen to them them, trust them and learn from them. I’ve been in my job at that church for a year now, and I can’t help but think that maybe this job and this church at this time in my life has a specific role to play in my journey to discovering my life’s purpose.
Because the fact is, I’m not just contemplating a gift, but a purpose. In my discovering a gift, I can’t help but wonder at the idea that my life has a purpose – an unavoidable calling to use this gift. Why else would I have it? I wasn’t created with a gift to have it mean nothing. It’s there for a purpose.
I’m created for this.
So, you, my blog readers, are a crucial part of this journey. For it is here on this blog that I am beginning to explore the idea of a gift of transparency and how that might play out in my life’s purpose.
You are my sounding board. Your feedback is invaluable. Your encouragement gives me the courage to keep exploring the unknown.
So thank you for your part in my journey.
Oh, Becky! I could make a whole list of your spiritual gifts! And near the top of that list would have totally been the way you serve and help people through your writing. Absolutely. I always read your posts because of your transparency, and because I think you are really serving and helping so many people with the honest and authentic way in which you write, and live. Your writing helps people’s hearts to heal. That puts you under the healer category for sure. There are so many beautiful ways through which you will express your life’s purpose. My purpose is Love and I’ve known that for a little while, but have of course struggled with finding where it fits in today’s job-centered culture, and then ultimately finding that there are just so many ways through which I will serve my purpose and they change all the time. I’m so glad you are recognizing this as one of your key gifts because it really is. Authenticity is kind of a rare thing these days. And vulnerability? That is so hard for most people, myself included and you are very good at it. I look very forward to your blog posts because they are unlike anyone else’s. I don’t really read that many blogs consistently, but I always read yours. Your journey is so beautiful and so honest! Gifts can be so simple. You never know how profoundly you can affect someone’s life just by being you. Just the way you arrange your words or the words you say to someone at the moment they need to hear it…those things are completely significant and can change everything for that person. And you do! Your unfoldment is like that of a flower and it is totally captivating to witness! I’m excited for you, as I know how good it feels to discover what your purpose really is. And I love you, Becky. You are truly a special person, with so many spiritual gifts that are easy for others to see!