During my years of ministry at the crisis pregnancy center, my role included training new volunteers. Following one of these training sessions, the volunteer turned to our client and asked, Would you like some help carrying those baby items to your car? Upon hearing this, I felt very humbled. I had performed this volunteer function for two years and it had never occurred to me to offer this type of assistance. I immediately judged myself as being an inferior servant.
Later, the Still Small Voice reminded me of my spiritual gift survey. That my strength lies in what is known as the speaking gifts of prophecy, teaching and exhortation. I had found my mojo in a counseling role with our clients. I enjoyed formulating good questions to help them self-discover solutions to their problems. I loved praying with them. And I enjoyed training new counselors. My spiritual gifts of serving, giving and mercy that make up the serving gifts only reach to the moderate level. I thanked God for reminding me that I don’t have to strive to be the best at everything, only the best version of who he intended me to be.
Surveys show that those of us who score higher on tests for authenticity are happier, have greater self-esteem, and are more satisfied with life. To live authentically, what we say and do must line up with our inner thought life. In order for that to happen, we have to know who we are and what we believe. Spending too much time living inauthentically damages us. We need to listen to our own voice, stand up for ourselves, and not be so easily influenced by others. We must listen for God’s voice directing us toward his intended purpose for our lives. If we find ourselves trapped in situations where we can’t be the person God intended us to be, we need to make a courageous effort to change our circumstances.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5
Before Jeremiah was born, God had a specific purpose in mind for his life. He sent other prophets to Israel and Judah, but Jeremiah’s territory extended more widely to the outlying Gentile nations. He was given the tough task of informing the people there that their sins had stirred up God’s wrath and they would suffer the consequences. God also chose Jeremiah to deliver the good news that their repentance would bring them a brighter future with a promise of their return from captivity. One day they would be freed by Divine grace. Jeremiah was called to play a special part, appointed for him, in his nation’s history. Even before he was conceived, Jeremiah and his mission were known to God.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16
Here, David speaks of the formation of the first man, Adam, as a work of some kind of intricately detailed tapestry woven with diverse patterns and colors. He points to the mystery of the birth process that is repeated during each and every human conception. God approaches the formation of an embryo in the womb with intention. Adam’s life, David’s life, and each of our lives was planned out by God before we ever came into being.
Are you living a life of authenticity? If you’re not sure of your spiritual gifts, there are many online tools to assist you with this and some of them are free. Most importantly, developing your relationship with God will keep you on track and moving in the direction he planned for your life.