Something I've been trying to do lately is really listen to God's whispers. If I feel an impulse or God tugging on my heart, I'm trying to follow through on it. Keeping that in mind, I've been noticing a certain topic come up time and time again over the last month or so. I have absolutely no idea how I made this far in my life without giving the idea of spiritual gifts any considerable amount of thought, but God has been flashing it onto the neon signs and billboards of my life of late. Seriously every time I listen to a podcast, a sermon, open a book, whatever, it's ALL about spiritual gifts! Or at least that's what God wants me to get out of it. So needless to say I have felt the need to scour the Internet for a decent spiritual gifts test.
Now, I love God's timing on this whole spiritual gifts soul searching intervention. I have to make some pretty big decisions involving graduate school over the next year, and I've been praying for guidance for what I should go into. Before I found and took the test I felt pretty confident that I already had at least idea as to what my tendencies might be. I guess taking the test would just be an affirmation of the gifts I've always had, but perhaps never embraced. So my results were as follows:
-two way tie for second: administration and writing
-three way tie for third: leadership, pastoring, and faith
-two way tie for fourth: teaching and exhortation
I may have mentioned before that I have spent a significant amount of years teaching Sunday school--especially considering that I began teaching at a relatively young age. I have had people tell me that I have a knack for it and that I should go into teaching, but for some odd reason I always resented that idea. It's hard to describe why I felt this way. Looking back on it now, I think the responsibility of creating curriculum seemed intimidating to me. What's more I think I was mostly intimidated by the leadership and authoritative role I would have to play. I know I've mentioned before that I am incredibly passive, but what's strange about my personality is that I also have this out of the blue competitive streak. These seem like really contrasting traits, but they culminate together in me to create this terrible fear of failing.
We spoke about failures and success this past weekend and I couldn't help but to think of my own definition of success and failure. I set the bar high for myself, and so do the influential people in my life. I have always been pushed rather hard to meet expectations and goals. I joke around sometimes that my childhood had elements of the one Amy Chua describes in her controversial article, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior". I mean my mom drilled me on flashcards and made me do those "get ahead" educational workbooks for every summer I was in grade school. But the thing is that when I don't meet expectations or the bars set in place for me, I consider that a failure. And in all honesty, I don't take it very well. So when a compliment is extended to me it suddenly becomes an expectation. I really enjoy teaching and I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I relish the fact that I'm actually really good at it. Once I realize this the pressure of expectations is suddenly on.
So though, I am incredibly intimidated by the idea, I can feel God calling me back into the teaching arena. I feel confident that this is what I should do, or at least it's something I should explore. I think I overheard that there might be an opportunity to teach for the high school group, so perhaps I should think about that--or at least sit in on the planning discussions for the lesson. I almost feel silly explaining this over the course of this lengthy blog, but I just feel like God is really pushing me to explore my spiritual gifts--especially the teaching and leadership gifts. So I would love some prayer about this and some guidance on this one. I'm so intimidated, but at the same time I know that I can't ignore these feelings because they've been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while now. So I guess I'd like to wrap this up by saying that I am thankful that God has given me these spiritual gifts and that I can feel his presence in persuading me to use them. Now I just need the confidence and the strength to live up to them.