I know I have struggled with that before. As a writer and speaker, I worry constantly that my willingness to share my own lessons will come off as self-promotion or bragging. I have had to undo that lie in my own life, and to embrace those things I have been uniquely equipped for. Interestingly, as I have done that I have found my own passion for my gifts growing, and I am finding a sort of fire in my bones in the areas that I was once shy to admit I was good.
We have been lied to, I am afraid. I think we have been hindered in our good work because we have been told that to embrace our talents means we are showing off, or being prideful. I get it. I have had my own judgmental thoughts. But, I am starting to see through those lies nowadays.
It helps that I am surrounded by amazingly talented and gifted women. I see their gifts so clearly, even if they don't. I see the writers, the speakers, the singers, the teachers, the wives, the mothers, the forgivers, the counselors, the grace-givers, the poets, the motivators, and the healers. And, I see them shyly consider that they may be unique. And, they are.
You are. You are amazing. Your gifts are so perfectly fitted for your work.
The thing is, if we do not embrace our equipping, then we won't fully embrace our good work. To understand what work is needed from us as God's women, we need to take a look at what tools we have to do that work. If one was handed a set of sculpting tools, they would assume there was sculpting to be done, right? If one was given a basket full of kitchen utensils, it wouldn't be so they could build a house. Unless we are honest about what our strengths are, how can we know which good work to do?
Understanding what our gifts are allows us to sift through the mess of opportunities, to determine the good stuff from the best stuff. There will always be houses to be built, but if all we have is a spatula then we probably aren't the ones to do it. Clearly, building houses is good to do but it is not ours to do, and its not ours to use our resources trying to do.
It helps to both keep us humble, and to appreciate our gifts when we remember that we were told in Ephesians, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 (NIV). We were created specifically for the work that needed doing before we were customized for the task. If you were handed a bunch of yard equipment, it wasn't because you were an expert landscaper to start with. It was because the yard needed tending, so you were given the tools you needed to fulfill the task.
Can you write really well? Then there must be words that need written. So, write.
Can you speak in a way that engages people? Then there is truth to be spoken. So, speak.
Can you host like a pro? Then there is hospitality needed. So, welcome.
Can you love people really well? Good, cause we need that in our community. So, love.
Can you listen beautifully? Then let people know you are willing. Then, be quiet.
Its not bragging to say, "I am really good at this!" - because it helps us identify what we were created for.
What are you blessed with, sister friend? What can you see you are good at? What passions can you embrace, because it just may be a clue to the job that you were created for? Do tell.
And, if you don't know - ask. It is quite possibly clear to others what tools you have in that apron, even if you can't see them. :)