Why We Can’t Do All the Things

This post is part of a new project that I’m working on. Visit Jess Alston’s website to learn more about the Dig Deep Podcast.

I’m not the one to naturally ask, “Can I get you anything else?” I’ve learned and practiced a bit over the years, a little spit-shine technique to show just a dash of hospitality to all of those who have walked through my chipped-paint front door with an upside-down door handle.

This week, my lovely Dig Deep women came over for dinner. I’ve practiced enough to know I should tell them when to arrive, open the door for them, offer them some hot chili. But those with the gift of hospitality quickly surfaced. You know the type: they effortlessly lead the conversation to include the quiet one in the corner, ask for dirty plates or seconds when they rise, and can just anticipate what’s needed after only a slight sniffle or shuffle.

Peggy taught this week about our unique spiritual gifts. She gave an example that I hope I never forget. If you were on a bus filled with Christians and it broke down, how would you respond? It might reveal something about your gifts.

Some people start asking for the insurance paperwork, while others start collecting donations to fix the broken. Some people start praying, while others gather people around to tell jokes to change the mood.

I know this much: I would not jump up and start fixing the broken bus. But, oh God, do I love the fixer people in my life. I need them. Quite literally.

I’m totally the one who starts analyzing how we could fix this problem next time. What have we learned here in this mess? How can we make sure this doesn’t happen again? I’m a lesson-learned, growth kind of girl.

And, yes, I’m also the one who wants the gifts that everyone else has. (Guilty.) Like with hospitality, I’ve watched and practiced over the years, yet it’s not my gift. I try to be the keep-all-the-paperwork-safe-and-orderly person. I want to be naturally generous and throwing my money to loved ones in need. I want to think of prayer first before I resort to, you know, fuming. I want to tell a good joke instead of moping.

Sure, I can practice and learn a little bit. But I’m not built to do all the things. And, sorry to say, but neither are you. It’s why we all must work hard to fill our buses with good people who shine in their unique gifts. We need each other.

Here’s the rest of what I’m still processing after this week’s Dig Deep:

  1. When we’re using our true gifts, we’ll feel energized. If you’re anything like me, you probably say yes to a lot of commitments that you shouldn’t. Suddenly, you look up, drowning, and you realize that you aren’t even trying to tread water on certain projects. Because they take you three times as long. And you dread them. Join me in the journey to recognize our true gifts and say YES to using them to serve others.
  2. Father, of all the gifts, why did you give me THIS one? Peggy shared about remembering that feeling as a kid when that gift you so desperately wanted (needed!) wasn’t under the tree Christmas morning. Maybe your best friend even received it. She had this beautiful, raw question, “What was my father thinking when he gave me that gift?” Oh, how we’ve all been there, I’m sure. The place of questioning our calling as we limp alongside, desperately trying to keep up with those who have the gift we keep pretending that we have.
  3. Every instrument in the symphony is needed. I hope that you’ve experienced this before, maybe on a short-term trip where we put individual gifts to use right away for the most efficient problem solving. It’s truly a beautiful harmony when we yield to those with different gifts than us, handing over the microphone or stepping back for their guitar solo.

The New Living Translation of Romans 12:6 says it like this: “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”

So, yes, we cannot do #allthethings well. Some things we can take notes on from our gifted friends to learn a few pointers. But we’ll feel most energized when we accept the mercy of others, a little “God wink” as some call it, and make space for using our gifts to truly thrive.

Romans 12:6-8

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