I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is to think that using our gifts should be easy.
If you are a gifted writer, inspired writing should just flow out of you.
If you are a gifted caregiver, you should instinctively know what another person needs and wants.
If you are a gifted speaker, you should delight in the opportunity to speak in front of an audience.
Not at all.
Meet Bruxy. Bruxy is the teaching pastor at my church. This means that most Sundays, he gets up on stage and delivers a message to about 2000 people live, and a few thousand more who attend other sites or listen online.
While the message itself is always intensely researched, well planned and poignant, the way he delivers it is crazy engaging.
He’s energetic, passionate, and hilarious. One of my favourite lines from a message was “dude has glory!” when talking about Tony Danza.
Just see for yourself.
See? He’s a fantastic speaker! Completely charismatic and engaging. There’s no doubt that this is a gift.
But he’s honest about the struggle to speak. Every. Single. Time.
He’s shared a few times that he panics on Saturday nights thinking about Sunday mornings. That it’s a mental battle for his introverted self to get up on stage.
Every. Single. Time.
That’s hard to believe when you watch him on stage. You would never know it’s hard. It appears to be so easy. But it’s totally against his natural tendencies.
And what if he didn’t fight those natural tendencies? What if he said “speaking is too uncomfortable for me, so it’s clearly not something I’m designed to do”?
Then there would be hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who would not be following Jesus.
Then there would be thousands of people with deep questions about God stuck inside them.
Then there would so many lonely people seeking community with nowhere to find it.
But Bruxy realizes that using a gift God gave him isn’t always a comfortable experience…and he speaks anyway. And lives have changed.
It’s a flat out lie that when we’re gifted at something, it’s easy to do. And if we believe that lie, then we stop using our gifts.
Often using our gifts means we need to step outside of our comfort zone. It means facing criticism, failure and hurt feelings. We’re led to believe that somehow using our gifts protects us from that stuff. And while it does no such thing, it does give us reason to push through.
Because you know, in that deep place of your heart, that you are supposed to use these gifts. You can’t describe it, but you know the world will miss out if you stop.