Gifts and character

Our staff “retreat” started tonight (not really a retreat, because it’s at the same place we usually work). We shared dinner together, read Luke 15, and began to farewell leaving staff.

It’s so helpful to hear the reflections of the other girls, comforting and rebuking. It was also encouraging to share what we were most encouraged by in them, too, and good to hear the different things that stood out for different people.

It’s also really hard, though, because in times of lifting up others, I can’t help but compare myself to them, and feel that in some of the ways they really served someone else, I saw the complete opposite in myself and felt like I’d failed in those areas.

Which reminded me of the struggle I had in the first half of the year about gifts and the body of Christ; it seems that I am still struggling with this, it just looks a little different. I struggle on two fronts – in the gifts and abilities that I have, and don’t have, and the character/personality that I have, or don’t. I struggle with the tension of knowing that all parts of the body are valuable and have something to contribute, and that if we were all the same, “where would the gift of hearing be?”,  but also that, at least in MTS, we’re encouraged (or I feel, strongly suggested) that we should work on the things that we’re not good at and become things that we weren’t before…

A big part of me keeps fighting against this, that God made me like this, and gave me certain gifts, and didn’t give me other certain gifts, so why should I have to grow in areas I am obviously not gifted in? And then I feel guilty for thinking like this. And it becomes a big cycle of again feeling completely inadequate, feeling overwhelmed, getting defensive, etc. Then I justify my defensiveness by going, ‘I shouldn’t be comparing myself, or being compared, to others. It should be about Christ and his character.’ But then, how much do I look into or pray for this?

I think I need to do some deeper reading into gifts and growing and maturity. If anyone has any thoughts on where in the bible I should be looking in my quiet times, I’d love to hear (I just finished Joshua and Matthew, so I could go somewhere different for a while).

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