Devoted Blog

“Are you a Christian woman, ma’am?”

September 6, 2017

A Blog on Knowing Your Gifts By Macayla Nicolaison

I guess that question could be asked in a variety of situations and contexts, but that day it was a divine situation, in the context of a reminder, a confirmation, that the Holy Spirit can use me, and is.

After consistent periodic internal prayers for wisdom and discernment, I was ready to move mountains and to be more than who I was and where I was.  I unconsciously started to slip into the comparison struggle and instead of reflecting on what God was saying, I pushed on, praying, but trusting more in my natural abilities than relying on the Holy Spirit to use me to impact those around me.  Any intentionality to seek and see your spiritual gifts used and grow can only come from first a willingness to be still.  I am awful at being still.

To say I am bit analytical would be sarcastic. What I begin to initially reflect on is often rationalized away before any emotion has a chance and caution is so used in any spiritual explanation that by the time I get the nerve to “spit it out,” the prompted reflection is gone.  My biggest fear is failure.  I hate getting it wrong.  I have been wrong a lot, and it does not make me hate it less. God has given me those people to love me regardless and mirror His Grace, and God gave me, like you the Gift of the Holy Spirit. I see the Holy Spirit as the friend who helps me “spit it out” and reminds me, even if I think it is wrong, God can make it right.  My failures may be more for others and it is not all about me.

One day sitting with a client and mindfully recalling the power of open-ended questions I had learned in various trades, I intentionally was going to do this by the book. I started asking open-ended questions to gather as much information from the one-word bearded informant across the table.  While trying to think of the next well-crafted question and internally telling myself to not give advice and to “Keep your mouth shut.”  I began to desperately try to read into the few nuggets of information I had mined… Sigh.  “God help me help this guy.” Scouring the line items of numbers that did not add up, I paused, and I asked what was a bold question.  It was more like a leading statement with a timid question style-like flair at the end.  The kind of statement-question that spears the heart, and depending on the guards posted to defend, the stab could produce unknown reactions.  Did I start a war or build a bridge with this guy?  Either way, it was too late.  I said it.  And while I began chastising myself inwardly for being unprofessional, I witnessed the “look,” that can only be described as a relaxed revelation that Jesus can hear you.

Something heavy dropped. The secret was out there. I was right! And my client knew I had no business being right.  Especially being right on such a personally intuitive statement followed by a mere inflection of uncertainty.  Then he sat up and asked, “Are you a Christian woman, ma’am?”

If I wanted to impress you the way I was going to in draft 5, I would say I humbly walked back to my desk praising God for speaking through me.  But this is draft 12 and any ability to impress you with this has now turned into simple honesty. Instead, I proudly strutted in my heels back to my executive desk feeling good. What a good little Christian attorney. I had helped. I was not just discussing another way out of the problem but may have helped cauterize the source that was creating the problem with my question asking skills. I… I… I…  I grabbed my phone to check the time and noticed a trusted friend texted me and was taking the risk of asking me to write this blog about knowing your spiritual gifts.

And I broke. Yep, the full on ugly cry like I am now while trying to spit this out.

So I started writing.  I did all this research on how to recognize your spiritual gifts.  I took all the spiritual gift tests and read all about the various gifts in the Bible and in various commentaries.  I didn’t want to get it wrong.  But after draft 15, I ended up here.

Knowing your spiritual gifts begins when you realize you are chronically less than you could ever be without relying on the help of the supernatural. Pray some prayers, be still, then trust the Holy Spirit and those He has placed around you to pull out your gifts and help grow them.  I finally spit it out.

God, thank you for your incessant grace and patience. Forgive me for thinking that I do anything cool and worthwhile without You. Help me to see more of You and less of me. Holy Spirit take over and use me to do the supernatural, to move mountains, or to give some guy on a Monday the “look.”