One of my big missions is to inspire single women (in particular, but not exclusively) to identify and develop their unique gifts within the church. But I already hear a lot of single women asking, "What if I don't have a gift?"
Actually, you do. You've just bought into an incorrect definition of "gift." The real definition is super simple.
Most people define gifts as some great vision and driving purpose in life. You just know what your gift is and you pursue it with fanatical passion.
I'm one of the few people who actually fits into this definition. I've known I was a writer ever since I can remember. I've never questioned it. It was my motivating passion all through school, college, and beyond. I'll probably die with unfinished works. Writing is my gift and the pursuit of it has influenced every facet of my life.
But not everyone has this wonderful sense of overarching purpose to their life, even if they have a solid identity in Christ. They're good at a few things, or maybe just mediocre at them, and when they look into their future, they have no clear goal outside of having a family and "serving God" (whatever that means).
If you're one of those people, that's okay! You do have gifts to pursue and develop within the church, gifts that will bless and edify people, gifts that will give you joy and bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
What are they?
They're the things you like and that you're good at.
This sounds oversimplified on the surface, but let me explain.
One man I know enjoys taking candid photos at events and blessing his friends with prints or items featuring their special moment.
A woman I know, who never felt "gifted," enjoys crafting jewelry and organizing games and decor for special events.
Another woman has a very practical mindset and uses her administrative skills to help plan and execute projects.
None of these people are in jobs remotely related to these hobbies and skills, but these are all things that they automatically volunteer for and do just because they like to and they can.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)
So... what are you good at? What do you like? Now find a way to do it in the context of the church, whether one-on-one or in service of the whole body. Your hobby, skill, and natural talent has suddenly become a gift.
Now, you may already be doing these things in the church and it may feel like a drag. Some people have gifts so obvious that everyone in their church and social groups wants a piece of their time and energy. Or maybe you know you're good at it, but it doesn't feel fulfilling.
So here's my challenge to you: Pray about it. Pray for the Lord to give you eyes to see the gifts He has given you and how to best use them. For example, I love to write. There are a million ways for me to apply that gift to things church- and ministry-related, to make money at it, but there are only a few ways that my skills offer their best qualities to others (and bring fulfillment for me).
As you're praying, actively look for new opportunities. Step outside your comfort zone. Do the think you've been avoiding or the thing that sounds like it's "not for you." You may have been limiting the scope of your gift, and you may discover fulfilling applications for your gift that you never would have considered.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
You may discover in a year's time that, practically speaking, you are doing pretty much the same thing as before, but that now there is a richness in this prayer-soaked, adventurous, God-focused gift that you never thought possible.
A final note: Gifts are meant to be given. God gave your gifts to you for a purpose, and your gifts are a means of blessing your family in Christ and of overflowing God's grace onto those outside His family. Whatever you offer, offer with the faith of Abel, who came willingly and gladly with his sacrifice because he was convinced that the Lord was worthy of his best.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4)
So: What are your gifts? How have you used them in the past and how would you like to use them in the future? Drop me a comment! I'd love to cheer you on!
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.