Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Not Your Job? Why Your Gifts, Talents and The Way You Are Wired is Not All There is To It

Have you ever felt like the butt of one of God’s jokes? Not in a mean way, that would be un-God-like. But like God was teaching you a lesson, and at the same time saying to the company of heaven, “Y’all watch this.” 

The Set Up
When I was a Youth Minister in Dallas, we went on a Mission Trip to Tierra Nueva just outside of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico south of El Paso, TX.  It was in August. It was hot. And when I say “hot,” I say that as a life-long Texan who is used to 40 day stretches of temps over 100 degrees. But even by that standard, it was hot.

The second year we were there, I was lying on my bunk one night. There was no air conditioning and the walls were made of screen material so the breeze could blow in – the 92 degree breeze. Unfortunately, the dust from the desert all around us could also blow in. By morning, my nostrils and mouth would be pretty well coated in la tierra de Tierra Nueva.

The Complaint
There I am on night number two. I am hot, tired, dirty, sore, sweaty, dehydrated and feeling a high degree of irritability. We had been building cinder-block houses all day long for people living in poverty, so you would think I’d be feeling good about our accomplishments and what we were doing. I did not! I was miserable and wanted to go home.

The Response
So I prayed one of those why-am-I-doing-this-God? prayers.  And to my surprise, I felt like God answered me. God was saying; “You do not enjoy this because this is not what I wired you to do. This is not in the wheelhouse of your gifts and talents. Missions of this kind are not really your thing and I did not create you so that your heart would naturally gravitate toward things like this.” 

What a relief!. I responded back to God saying, “So I don’t have to do this anymore. I can operate in my areas of giftedness and leave this to those who you did create for this kind of thing!” And God replied back, “Oh, no! You are going to be doing this a lot.” 

The Twist
I was confused. So I asked, “Why? If this is not really what I’m into or what my heart gravitates toward, then why make me do it?” God’s response was hard to ignore. 

As clear as anything I have ever felt from God, I believe he said to me, “This may not be your thing, or the kind of activity you have a heart for, but I have a heart for this and for the people being served. So as long as it matters to me, and they matter to me, and as long as you are my child, it is going to matter to you too. Got it?”

The Awakening
I got it. And I think some in the company of heaven may have chuckled and said to God, “You got him good!” But the message was loud and clear. There may be things God has for me to do that are absolutely in my wheelhouse. But that does not mean I get to live there all the time. The world is bigger than the limits of my gifts, talents and abilities, and I need to spend some time and energy there too, simply because the people there, and the God who made us all, is also with them. And who knows, but maybe I will grow and expand the limits of my own little world. So I get it now.

Last Thought
May you get it too. On those occasions when God calls you out of your areas of comfort, giftedness and passion, may you be able to lean into his grace and trust in his goodness to give you strength. May you see those times as opportunities to grow in your understanding of how deep, how high, and how wide God’s love is to those he has created.  And may you always know that you are a treasured child of the Lord, Most High.

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