Family · Spiritual Musings · women's ministry

When It Doesn’t Come Naturally*

*I wrote this in January, ’06, but was reminded of the principle in my recent visit back to Maryland.

Isn’t God kind to endow various gifts to people? I am related to exceptionally gifted women. My mother is highly administrative. The women’s ministry at Chesapeake amazing, complete with weekly Bible Study (child care provided), quarterly ladies meeting (food provided), amazing ladies retreat every other year, and the Christmas Breakfast which draws more unbelievers than any other church event. My mom’s gift of vision and administrative ability is a distinct means of grace to the ladies at Chesapeake. My sister, Karyn, is an amazing interior designer. She has such a gift of making things beautiful. Anytime she stays at my house to watch the kids, when I come home, it is “re-accessorized”. It’s amazing what she can do by just clustering this, or shifting that. My sister-in-law Abby, is the voice of songs such as Everlasting, Jesus, My Only Hope, and many more on the Sovereign Grace worship cd’s. Her voice is more than beautiful, it is anointed! My sister in law Emily is a great writer. In particular, she writes skits. I am amazed at her creativity, humor, and depth revealed in each and every skit she writes. Again, it goes beyond talent to something anointed by God. My mother in law, Debbie, is a gifted choir director. She directed the Christmas Cantata this year, and her grace and musicality, combined with love for worship made for a powerful performance.

I love seeing God use different people’s gifts to bless the church, but lately I have been thinking about what happens when God calls us to something that we are not naturally gifted in. It was triggered by a post by Carolyn McCulley. Carolyn was answering a question someone asked about counsel for introverts who want to grow in hospitality. Carolyn wisely answered beginning with the following:

I hope it encourages you to know this, but some of the best people I know at drawing others out are actually introverts. They’ve submitted themselves to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, so there is a Spirit-controlled aspect to their natural personality, if you will.

Somehow, Carolyn’s comment has resonated with me ever since. There are some areas where God has given a measure of gifting or capacity and those things feel natural to me. There are many other areas, however, that don’t feel like such a good fit. For example, I am not naturally gifted in home management. But I have seen how by submitting to the Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (not always a pretty picture, I assure you) there is to the glory of God alone, growth in this area.

Seeing how God can work through the Holy Spirit to cause ability beyond what is natural gives me faith to step out where I might have feared to tread before. It also helps me to want to submit more to the Holy Spirit’s work, instead of wish I were naturally a little more cut out for certain things. Gifts given by God do most definitely glorify God – my family is a constant display of this truth. But it is beautiful in a different way to see ladies walking with “a Spirit-controlled aspect to their natural personality,” like when someone who doesn’t feel comfortable cooking brings a meal to a new mom; or when a shy caregroup leader’s wife leads her growth group; when a “comfortable behind-the-scenes pastor’s wife” gives a teaching (mom); or when a more “spontaneous” lady submits to the routine of housework; when a night owl learns to rise early for devotions, or a non-reader makes it through the Bible – what beauty!

Where have you seen the Holy Spirit work in/through you where your natural personality/gifting are lacking?

“The Lord God helps me, therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7

7 thoughts on “When It Doesn’t Come Naturally*

  1. For me, it’s motherhood. So bad, huh? I am just not creative when it comes to being with my children. I mean, I have no problems taking care of them, but so many other moms put me to shame! I took 20 minutes yesterday to purposefully read to each of them in my lap and while that may seem like something really fun, easy or silly to try and do, it was “work” for me. What would be normal or easy for me to do, would be to clean, decorate, organize, sit down and look at a magazine, read a book and let the kids play! After all, they are 3 and 5, they don’t need me to look at books…BUT, I know that God has called me to be their mother and not a Recruiter/Wife/Homemaker only. That part is hard for me, but I constantly need to be reminded that they are a gift and that they do need me — and that definitely requires effort on my part.

  2. its good to know that some things do come naturally as my own brother is an introvert and i really wanted him to change for the good but now i believe some things can come naturally……

  3. I saw this as I responded to an idea my daughter (12) had to put on a talent/variety show for a friend we know that is now living in an assisted living home. My daughter’s heart to bless him in this creative way, plus my own heart to be used of the Lord, helped me overcome my own fears and insecurities to do this. One of my precious memories from this time is seeing my littlest (6) run down the hall as he was returning to his apartment, giving him a big hug and offering to open the door to his apartment for him. My heart was for the children to be a blessing, and to be blessed in their giving of their time and talents. In the end, I too was blessed in the times the children got together with friends (a few friends joined in the event, which made it even more of a treasure of memories), and served the elderly in this unique way from their hearts.

  4. Thanks for reposting this! There will be some big changes in my life this coming year and wow can it be overwhelming when I think about how un-gifited I am in some areas:o) I’ll have to keep reminding myself that if God has called me to do something he’ll give me the ability to do it, and that I may just have to work harder at the things that don’t come as easily to me.

  5. Because I reek with pride I can often think I’m sufficiently gifted in certain areas and can ignore the areas where I’m less gifted but where God desires to sanctify and grow me to reflect a new ability. I pray he’ll show me those new areas He would like me to press in to and grow in so I’ll avoid my wide comfort zone and do those harder things that will no doubt bring Him glory.

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