The NaBloPoMo prompt for today wasn’t one I could really respond to as it was about new fall TV. I honestly haven’t seen but a couple of the new fall shows so it would have been really hard to write to. Instead, I’m going to write about a topic I’ve been wanting to dig into a little more.
A few years ago our church provided everyone with an opportunity to take a spiritual gifts assessment. I found the results fascinating, and somewhat baffling. What I thought God had gifted me with, barely even registered as a blip. But, the more I thought about what the test told me, the more I realized how accurate it was.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Spiritual Gifts, don’t think you are alone. Until our church did this, I had never even heard the term. I found this phrase that I felt provides a great summary.
The subject of spiritual gifts recently came up in our growth group at church and I found that many of the women had never taken a test. I wanted to encourage them to do it and started looking online for a free test I could point them to. I found the website GiftsTest.com. I didn’t want to blindly point them to a test I didn’t try first, so I took the test myself. Below is a graphical representation of my results.
My first gift is mercy and it’s described like this: The gift of mercy is the divine strength or ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in any way.
Here’s how another website describes this gift: “Those with the motivational gift of mercy are the “heart” of the body. They easily sense the joy or distress in other people and are sensitive to feelings and needs. They are attracted to and patient with people in need, motivated by a desire to see people healed of hurts. They are truly meek in nature and avoid firmness.”
I wrote yesterday about how I had been feeling all the hurt and anger someone I don’t even know personally might be feeling. I am an overly emotional person when MY emotions are the only ones I have to deal with. Throw in my ability to feel others’ emotions and you have a recipe for huge bouts of depression. Throughout my life I’ve always believed this character trait was more of a flaw than a gift. I’ve heard news stories about tragedies and spent days crying for people I have never met. A friend can share an injustice that was done to them and I feel their pain as if it was happening to me. I’ve been known to cry in my bed for days for people I love if I know they are hurting.
Before I knew this was a gift, I’ve actually begged God to take this away from me. For years I had no idea what would happen to me in those times, or why I felt like I did. I assumed for so long that something was wrong with me. I really had no idea.
I’ve noticed over the years how I seem to have a knack for drawing truth and honesty from people. People I love, random people, and people I barely know. I’ve thought it was odd, but have always tried to give my attention and offer up advice when I can. However, one of my biggest struggles is that I often cannot find the words I feel I need to say in order to make the confessing person feel better. What I’m learning as I read more about this gift of mercy is that in most cases, my gift to give is just my presence and attention. My gift is not to resolve or rectify the hurt of others, but to simply share in their pain, to provide compassion to them, and to just let them know they are not alone.
I can’t even begin to express my joy when I found out this is not only a gift God has given to me, but it’s a gift I can use to help others. There are multiple places in the bible where the gift of mercy is discussed. In Galatians 6:2, Paul wrote “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” I can see now that my ability to help a friend carry a hurt is so much more than I ever thought. As a recipient of this gift, it is my responsibility to come alongside those who are hurting and help them carry the cross they bear. As daunting as that seems, I find comfort and strength in knowing that God is always beside me, lifting me up as I use my gift to lift others.