Chasing Contentment

Monday, November 14

What are we supposed to do when it feels like the very gifts God gives us to use for His glory also make our hearts heavy at times?

I believe He gave me gifts of nurturing and empathy and an ability to see needs and work toward easing hurts. In no way do I believe I succeed at this, but I do believe that He calls me to work toward it using the gifts He knew would fit my personality best. He did, after all, create the personality along with the gifts.

Before it dawned on me that these might actually be my spiritual gifts (even though I don't see them listed specifically in the big spiritual gifts list in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11), I was more than once embarassed when someone made reference to how well I kept in touch with others. In this day and age, keeping up with others puts me more in my grandmother's generation than in mine.

So something I'm good at (thanks to my God) sometimes makes people aware of not being so swell at it. Why is it that nurturing those around me makes people uncomfortable? My friend, Craig, has the gift of preaching, but people don't say, 'gosh, I'd preach more often but I've been so busy lately,' to him. Why is it that this particular gift makes people want to apologize for what they see as their own shortcomings when it is less about shortcomings and more about different gifts?

It is only within the last several years that I began to see these traits in my personality as gifts from God rather than just part of me like my brown eyes (I was going to say black hair but that changes with my whims so it didn't so much fit). Once I did, I began to see that I couldn't expect other people to nurture the way I nurture. Different gifts.

And yet, I admit that through the years - and, unfortunately, sometimes still today - I've gotten my feelings hurt because I felt like people didn't care about me so very much. I know that isn't always true, and yet, I think we all yearn to feel like we are special and valued.

Mike did something that slighted me in a small way that felt like a really big way last week (he and I have talked about this, so I'm not outing his actions here). I felt like he didn't respect something about me. In the end, it matters most to me that those dearest to me make me feel special and valued, as I think, it does to all of us.

During those times when my feelings are hurt and my heart is heavy, my very human reaction is to say I'm not going to do this or that any longer. If I change me, then my heart will be a little harder and thus, harder to hurt. But that's so very wrong of me!

If I change who I am, then I'm telling God that He was wrong in the way He created me. And I can't very well do that. How ungrateful would that be?!

I've been thinking about this a lot this weekend, and I've come to the same conclusion I always do ... that this is who God made me to be... that there is going to be some heartache (both on behalf of others and for myself) if I'm going to wear my heart on my sleeve. And I think that heartache plays into the ability see to the needs people have in their hearts. And I think God expects me to use His gifts. And so...

I have a phone call to make tonight and an email or two to send and maybe a meal to offer. And a prayer of thanks to say to the One who created me just like this.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, November 14, 2005  ]


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