you can’t earn a gift

I can’t earn a gift. 

But I’ve been trying to do this for most of my life. I listened to what people said about what I was good at. As any typical first born kid, I sought the approval of my parents and authority figures. I cared what they thought. As different adults in my life complimented me, I took notes deep in my soul on what they thought I was good at. I had my marching orders for what to do with my life. I wanted to be good at life so I would just do all the things people said I was good at.

But there was a flaw in my thinking at a young age that I haven’t questioned deeply until recently.

Because I put stock in what others thought and discerned about me, the source of wisdom felt outside of me. Which meant I had to keep earning and striving and performing and succeeding so people would still think I was good. If I stopped “being good at something,” what was left?

[cue anxiety entering stage left]

I was so afraid to slow down, in fear that there was nothing underneath my effort and speed.

But when I finally chose to slow down and get quiet, I found something else entirely.


Turns out I can stop running, numbing, pretending and there’s a whole new world underneath all of it. I’m slowly peeling away layer after layer of myself that I thought I needed. And to see all the pieces of myself lying on the floor that I thought I needed still takes my breath away.

As I pick up the pieces that still have a place in my story, I’m realizing something that seems so obvious yet I didn’t understand until now.

The things I’m good at are a gift from God. I can’t earn them.

What a blessed, sacred, holy, miraculous gift. Life changing for my very being.

The things God has given me to do in this life are a gift that I get to steward and care for. I get to arrange them so they can do the most good in the world. And if people happen to benefit from that work, then that’s icing on the cake.

I can’t believe I get to enjoy the creative process and make things and send them out into the world. Is God this good?

Apparently, yes.

Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 1 Corinthians 12 MSG

Friends, name your gifts. The things you LOVE to do in this world. And take a moment to thank God for them. You didn’t earn them for good behavior or a great performance review. It’s a gift you’ve been given. And you’re supposed to use it. Maybe not in every season. It’s okay to take a break. But then get back in the game. 

Don’t shrink back or stay small. The world needs you and your gift.

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