I'm not one to worry or overthink things. Can I be honest? Is it safe to share raw truth? I can be kind of critical of people who are. If you are in my days and minutes, and you are a worrier, you probably aren't shocked at this confession. I've rolled my eyes at you, and I've made jokes. They aren't mean; they are trying to be funny, but also... I don't have a lot of patience with worry.
A couple of years ago, we adopted the world's perfect dog.
He is so sweet and gentle. His one problem is that he is scared of literally everything. We suspect it is rooted in trauma, but no matter how safe he is living with us, he is still full of anxiety. For example, this morning, he freaked out *for the third day in a row* over a pressure washer in our neighbors' yard. He barked his head off until I yelled at him to hush. As he turned to obey me (because he is perfect), he noticed the umbrella I had opened to dry out on the other side of our fence and LOST it. Before I even realized what stimulated the new fear, I rolled my eyes and yelled at him to hush.
It hit me that a low-key reason we have a dog is for alarm and protection if there really is a bad guy. Yet it never crossed my mind that a menacing person was on the side of my house. Raleigh barks at dumb things and is scared of even more, so I don't trust that his bark is anything more than just another irrational freak-out.
As I closed the umbrella to preserve years of his life (insert eye roll), I was struck with a profound thought. What if the worriers of the world actually have been given the gift of discernment? Unpack this with me. We don't talk about spiritual gifts enough and it's ridiculous. We should be the most eager and excited people group when someone gets saved; maybe we should have a ceremony like Encanto: celebrating and honoring the fact that the Lord gives special gifts to His children. We should be intentionally digging, constantly pondering: what gift of the Spirit has the Lord given this new baby Christian? How can we nurture it, disciple it, and empower them to walk boldly and with wisdom in light of the gifts from their Father? Sadly, most of us have exactly zero clue what gifts we have been infused with or, worse: that such gifts even exist. Many Christians walk out their whole lives oblivious to the power available to work in them through the Holy Spirit.
But the enemy knows.
What if the gifts are so clear to him that he works overtime to cover them with confusion? What if he sends other people to speak death over the part of us that God intends for good, until we are so ashamed of it that we try to repress it? What if he can convince us that it's dumb, that it's weird; until it's the thing we can't help but do, but we minimize or downplay it. Or on the flip side, we spastically embrace it and let it spray all over the place with no discrepancy because "that's just the way we are."
What if there is more? What if we stopped living recklessly with the things that make us different? What if we spent some time still before the Lord, asking Him if the thing that makes us feel weird is His gift that needs to be refined? What if we found someone else with that gift and asked them to disciple us. What if we stopped partnering our gifts with sin?
Back to the example that launched this pondering: I see Raleigh, who was created to be a protector for our family, live in fear. Therefore we don't trust his alarms. If you are someone who worries, what if you confess that you live in agreement with fear? What if you asked the Lord if the father of lies has hijacked your gift of discernment? What if when you sensed something, you set your mind not to fear, and bring it before Jesus instead of letting it run loose. "Lord, is this you alerting the Spirit at work in me to something that isn't right? What should I do with this revelation?"
What if the things in us that we struggle with the strongest are actually battlegrounds for our purpose? What if we started to take those thoughts and behaviors captive. What if we spent time letting the Lord clean out the dirt, dust, and junk that has snuck in, and let Him refine us by renewing our minds?
One of the things I was the most insecure about for YEARS was how weird my thoughts were. I felt like people just stared at me like I had three heads anytime I shared a deep pondering . One of the glorious parts of my testimony is the day a friend wrote me a note and put it in the mail. She told me how much she appreciated my ideas: they were different from anything she had thought or heard before, and they often made her stop and think. I can tell you exactly what that letter unlocked in me. It's this. The outpouring of my testimony. I don't know that I would be writing anything beyond my journal if she hadn't encouraged me that the blank stares may actually mean I was walking in my spiritual gift, and that makes people pause; they need time to take it in, they need a minute to process when the Lord reveals something new. I would have agreed with the enemy that my thoughts were stupid, and people's stares were because they wondered why I was opening my mouth to say something so obvious, yet again. That's where I was. That's the lie the enemy had graffitied over my story.
I hope there are layers of encouragement in this pondering. It's been so long since I've written, and it feels amazing to share with you all again. I want to nudge you to speak encouragement to someone in your life. I think the amazing things in us are often more apparent to others. It's so hard to see it in ourselves, maybe because it is so intricately woven in us that we don't recognize its uniqueness. This need is the perfect example of why we were made for community.
Today, spend time praying for the Lord to nudge your heart to encourage someone in their gifts--even if they seem the most confident. Ask Him to open your eyes to see someone often overlooked. I bet there is more power packed in the least of these than any of us even expect.
Then ask Him where you have let the enemy hijack your gift and use it for destruction or distraction. Reclaim your territory! This is Holy ground, and in Jesus' name, the enemy must leave. It's time to walk by faith, not by sight. It's time to act like you are the child of the King. We are redeemed for more than just surviving. We are warriors!