gifts, influences and confidence 

The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. (1 Corinthians 12:7)

Something i’ve always really struggled with is the concept of God having a plan for each of our lives. I really struggle to make my brain comprehend, or be comfortable enough to not comprehend, how this can be.  The cell material on the Wednesday of summer school was titled “playing my part”, and it got to me so much that i legged it out of the room at the end and hid in my room in tears for 20 minutes. This was partly because one of my friends has been dealing with something for some time and was particularly struggling last week, and i felt absolutely helpless. I was doing and saying everything i could think of, but it made no difference, and the stuff in cells that day made me really upset that i didn’t know what ‘part to play’ in helping her. On top of that, we were spoken to about being what God has made us to be, and using our gifts. Again, this is something that always stresses me out because i have no idea what my ‘gifts’ are, or how to use them. I don’t have a high opinion of myself and i find it very easy to find the negatives in most things in life, but particularly when it comes to myself. So when given a sheet that asked us to describe our ‘shape’ – (Spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences) – i instantly became really negative and down on myself. When trying to think about what ‘gifts’ i have, both spiritual gifts and otherwise, i couldn’t come up with anything at all. Literally everything was negative – bad at communicating, too quiet, awkward, not very good at anything at all. Now granted it was Wednesday and i was relatively sleep deprived by this point, so my negativeness was probably exacerbated by that, but still, i couldn’t come up with anything. I desperately want to follow God’s plan for me and do what he wants me to do and be a good Christian, but i don’t know how, and I didn’t seem to have any of the spiritual gifts that were listed. 

So I was extra quick to argue last week when someone said to me that I was a good example to others. ‘No I’m not – I’m useless’ was something close to my response. I really struggle to understand how to listen to God, or feel him, or follow his plans. I want to live out my life for him but I don’t really understand how. Then Matt explained that actually, I already am. Several people came to me last week wanting to talk. They needed advice or support and came to me for help. His point was that this wasn’t just coincidence or because I happened to be about, but because God shows through me. God is in me, and has made me exactly the way I am, for his purpose. He’s using me without me even realising it. And if this is true, it terrifies me!! 

Another thing that really struck me last week was when during the talk from a guest speaker about social media, he asked if anyone had a blog. I kept quiet, but I heard several people, maybe even as many as half a dozen, say my name. Not only that, but a handful of people said to me during the week that they missed reading my blog coz I hadn’t posted in a while. And on top of that, I’ve had so many comments and messages from people, including some people I’d never expect, after my post last night..about how they liked it and how encouraging it was. I was so surprised that 1, people actually read what I write on here, and 2, that people actually liked it and got something from it. I’ve always thought of communication as being something I’m bad at, but maybe by writing on here, I’m utilising a gift in a different way? 

As I’ve written before, the thought that I could actually be any kind of influence on people really scares me. Firstly, I find it really hard to comprehend that anyone would look to someone like me for an example, that’s honestly beyond me. But the fact that I could influence people without realising it scares me more, and really makes me consider the way I live my life. When I think of the people I look up to and who encourage and inspire me most, it really really scares me to think that people could be looking at me in the same light. 

I don’t have much confidence and 4 different people have spoken to me today about it and said they wished I had more. About a year on from when they first quoted this at me, one of my favourite people told me again today that the lyrics of “Read all about it” remind them of me – 

“You’ve got the words to change a nation but you’re biting your tongue, you’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence afraid you’ll say something wrong…” 

And it’s true. Even posting these blog posts absolutely terrifies me. I read over them so many times, my heart pounds out of my chest, and if I’m honest, I even filter which friends the post shows to on Facebook, because I’m never brave enough to let everyone read it. But I’m coming to realise that I maybe need to be braver, more confident, and worry less about ‘saying the wrong thing’. As I said in my last post, I need to recognise when God is working in me and using me, and I really think this could be at least one way God is using me to help and encourage other people. This could be part of his ‘plan’ for me. Couldn’t it? 

“So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what God wants.” Ephesians 5:15-17

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