One of my greatest natural gifts is prudence; I have a natural inclination for structure and organization as well as an ability to get things done. My other greatest natural gift is leadership energy which is manifested in my competitive nature, ability to take charge, and expectation for success. I’ve known these things about myself for most of my life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began using these strengths to bring growth to certain areas of my life, helping me thrive in the environment and role the Lord has placed me in. It feels great to know what the Lord has designed me for.
Even if you’re not sure about your own natural gifts, there is still probably a part of you that wants to thrive in this same manner. I believe the Lord puts the desire to understand our own natural abilities within us so we’ll work to maximize the talents that He’s given us. In today’s post, I want to share some tips with you to help you discover your natural gifts and talents.
What practical and natural gifts do you have that can significantly impact your church or organization? The gifts we possess make up a large part of our personality. My giftings are the things that come naturally to me. I've received my giftings partially from my DNA, but they were also developed during my early years of childhood as I learned to interact with the world around me.
Paul challenges us not to neglect our gifts; or, in other words, he tells us not to fail to use our gifts for the benefit of others. In Romans Chapter 12, Paul appeals to the members of the congregation in Rome to use their abilities to benefit those around them. Our gifts are available to use in administrating, teaching, serving, encouraging, exhorting, ministering, helping, leading, as well as many other areas.
What natural gifts and abilities do you have and how can those gifts be used in a way that will bring honor and glory to God? You must also consider how your gifts can produce life-giving fulfillment as well as positive results in the church or the organization in which you serve. Think about the things that you naturally do well. Just as importantly, what do you struggle to do and find yourself spending unnecessary time and energy on? In other words, what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?
It takes a tremendous amount of humility to focus on your unique giftings because you must acknowledge the things that you don’t do well. You must be able to recognize your imperfections. No one likes to admit to their weaknesses, but we all have them. It’s important that you become aware of the things you do well and the things you struggle with in order to increase your authenticity and effectiveness as a leader. When you recognize your strengths and weaknesses and admit to them, you become true to yourself as well as others. Recognizing your own abilities also creates opportunities for other people to openly acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and operate in their giftings.
Think about what the Lord has equipped you to do. I encourage you to be honest and ask yourself the following questions. Make sure you write your answers down to get the full benefit of this exercise.
1. What do you enjoy doing?
Your answer to this question should come easily. Do you enjoy leading? Do you enjoy serving, encouraging people, assisting other leaders, exhorting, counseling, brainstorming? Do you enjoy figuring out why something isn't working so that you can make it better? Think about the tasks that bring you joy at work or in ministry.
2. Of all the things you do in your life, what has a significant impact on others?
When you listen to people’s problems, do you help calm their anxiety? When you have the opportunity to manage money, are you and others blessed financially? When you organize events for your church or organization, does life seem less chaotic? When you get the opportunity to speak in front of groups of people, are you eloquent? Are people moved to change their lives when they hear you speak? Of all the things you do in your life now, what has a significant impact on others?
Most people usually know deep within themselves what they’re good at and what they aren’t good at, but sometimes it can be quite difficult to bring this knowledge to the surface of a person’s mind. I don’t want to overwhelm you with this question, but think about your weaknesses as well. What do you secretly wish you could give up in your life that’s not making an impact? You may do something well, but it may drain your energy and leave you feeling empty when you’re finished with the task. I realize that we all have to do things we don’t enjoy for the sake of our jobs. That’s life, but there are tasks that you probably want to try to move away from if you’re able.
Also, think about whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? An ambivert is someone who possesses a mixture of both introverted and extroverted qualities. Knowing this about yourself is important when considering your natural gifts.
How do you hold up in social situations? Are you able to be with people for long periods of time without feeling tired and drained or do you need routine alone time to re-energize? Do you have a high volume of ideas? Are you a visionary? There are many questions you could ask to help you determine what your natural abilities are. All of these questions lead back to the primary question, “What do you do that has a significant impact on others?”
3. What do you secretly believe you can achieve but you’ve never attempted?
I encourage you to be honest and ambitious with this question. Think about the idea that there’s a possibility you've never used one of the natural gifts that the Lord has given you.
One of my recent coaching clients spent most of his life as a music minister in various churches. He spent nine years in full-time music ministry and was very successful. His interpersonal sensitivity and leadership energy allowed him to thrive in those roles, yet he wasn’t maximizing some of his greatest gifts. After spending some time with this client, it didn’t take long to realize that he was made to pastor a church.
Just a few months after this realization, the Lord opened the door for a pastoring opportunity, and he and his family relocated and took on the role of senior pastor at a local church. Now, four months into his new role, he’s excited and thriving in a way that he has never experienced.
What do you secretly believe you can achieve but you’ve never attempted? Of course, there are all kinds of assessments available that can also help you realize your natural giftings, some much more impactful and even more expensive than others; but, hopefully, as you wrestle with some of these questions that I’ve given you, you will start to recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
If you haven’t read my previous post that explains the differences between natural and spiritual gifts, I encourage you to go check it out! God bless.
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