Give Your Gifts

April 18, 2013

You might not even know what they are yet.  You might have a hunch.  You might have a burning desire to do something, but you feel overwhelmed.  By the problem.  By the enormity of the solution.  By the drop in the bucket that you being engaged would make.  Here’s what I want to say to you.  Start.  Take a step.

Whatever it is, if you wait until you have it wired, you’ll never do anything.  You, the overachiever, start.  I live in the Land of Overachievers.  So, this is most people that I know.  Just start.  Take the next step.  You’ll figure it out as you go.

  • Start that business that will press your suppliers to develop more ethical practices.
  • Write that book that calls women to the truest, most beautiful version of themselves.
  • Pick up that paint brush and give it a go.  Put your first painting up for sale.  See what happens.
  • Engage with that ministry that reaches out to refugees.  Give it a go and see what happens.  You’ll never know if you don’t take the first step.

My pastor recently said that your calling is somewhere in the mix of your giftedness, your wounds and your passions.  So, let me ask.  What are you already good at?  What subjects make your heart pound?  What makes you angry?  What is the subject that, when it comes up, you feel tears beginning to sting your eyes?  What do you want?  There is a problem out there that, if you could be involved in the solution, it would make your heart sing.  What’s that problem?  Then, what are your wounds?  Abuse?  Devastating mistakes you’ve made in the past?  What friend or family wounds have had impact in who you’ve become?  Do you have a learning disability?  Have you felt helpless from some wound?  What are you already good at?  Do you write?  Do you have a God-given strong sense of justice- of righting wrongs?  Of defending the weak and those in the margins?  Do you rock as a speech therapist, as a physical therapist?  Do you have a gut feeling that you would make an amazing pediatrician?  Do you have a gut hunch that God might be able to use your gifts as an artist?

The world is broken, and we all need you.  This is God’s beautiful and amazing plan of redemption.  This is what Jesus prayed in the Lord’s prayer when he said “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  That means, let’s make it more like heaven down here on earth.

Take heart, friends.  Have courage.  We desperately need your gifts.  You probably don’t have the whole picture.  Most of us don’t.  I know I don’t.  So, just take the next stop.

The journey will likely be a rabbit trail.  You might have to crawl down some rabbit holes to see where they go before you can know where you’re headed.  It’s not a mistake to take a trail, and then find out that you’re on the wrong trail.  You can’t know until you try.  If it’s not right, course correct. Try the next thing.

Here’s what I’m finding.  Nobody really knows what they’re doing.  When I was at the Freedom Summit in January, this was my main take away.  There are these huge related problems of human trafficking and poverty.  For those that are innovating, it started with confronting a problem that stopped them in their tracks.  Then, what?  You try something.  Justin Dillon said that he didn’t know what he was doing, and he thought, maybe I’ll go make a film about artists who are engaged in the problem of human trafficking.  That’s where we get the rockumentary Call + Response.  Sean Litton, who is the VP of Field Operations at IJM, talked about his task to start a field office in the Philippines.  He recalls landing and Manila, and thinking “now what?”.  He figured it out.  He just took the next step.

Friends, I think that in many cases, that’s all we have.  We have the next step.  The world is broken.  We need you to be courageous.  Take your next step.  Are you putting the puzzle together without the box lid?  Yes.  Will you have the whole thing wired before you start?  No.  Might you fail?  Absolutely.  Is it worth it?  I think it is.  Because, if you fail, then you’ll know what it’s not, and then you’ll be a step further along your journey.

I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you.  Because frankly, my journey scares me.  I have no idea where we’re headed.  But, I do have the next step.  I think you might know your next step, too.

Are you stepping out?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.  It helps me to be more courageous.

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2 Responses to “Give Your Gifts”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    I love the phrase “putting the puzzle together without the box lid”! I’d say that’s life!

  2. Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

    Yes! But, I think that some choices are safer than others. I’m not sitting in judgement of “safe”. Safe isn’t necessarily bad; it’s just less risky. I’m thinking the standard career track. Climbing the corporate ladder. For instance, there is a sort of map to take if you want to be a Chief Marketing Officer at a large corporation. In that case, you kind of do have the box lid. There is not anything wrong with staying on the map. But, sometimes, people are doing it because it’s safe and it’s expected- not because it’s truly what they want. In that case, I think it’s worth it to step off the map and to pursue work that better feeds your soul.


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