to know your gifts

sometimes i over-analyze things. actually, most of the time i over-analyze things. it can be anything, really. a trip to the grocery store, our monthly budget, a quick remark someone makes to me, a message i believe God wants me to share, how certain events will unfold and what the absolute best way would be to go about them, what people must think of me, and the list goes on.

i think and i think and i think. i'm always inside my head. my husband will ask me what i'm thinking about, and honestly? one million things. it would take me a whole day to adequately answer him. in the car, i'm thinking. at home doing my daily mom duties, i'm thinking. always always processing. this is how i get myself into trouble with believing lies. there's a lot going on in my head so if i'm not super careful, lies slip in just as easily as anything else.

always analyzing and processing and thinking... must be my INFP [introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving] personality, right? that's absolutely part of it.

but did you know that God gives us each spiritual gifts?

if we have accepted Christ and trusted Him for our eternal salvation, and if we are allowing Him to be Lord of our lives and leaving room for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we enjoy certain spiritual gifts from the Spirit of Christ Himself. each person has different gifts, and each person may have a combination of a few. this is what makes us all unique, and vital, to God's family, to the body of believers.

i've taken a spiritual gifts test a few times. and i think each time i've had an idea of what i already believe my gifts are, and so i've answered the questions accordingly. i've answered them according to what i really want my gifts to be, instead of objectively looking at my life and deciding what i actually DO, instead of what i wish i did. does that make sense?

so the other day i was reading through leslie's post, here, and clicked her link to a spiritual gifts test. this time i made the commitment to answer the questions very objectively, as if i was on the outskirts of my life, watching and observing my tendencies, making a true evaluation of myself.

so i took the test. and it may or may not be a surprise to you [and those of you who know me personally] that my top "scoring" gift was Perceiver. you may know it as "the gift of prophecy" which really doesn't mean "predicting the future". here are a few things it says about being a perceiver:

    The first motivational gift in Romans 12 is the gift of perceiving. The Greek word for this gift is "propheteia". In scripture, we can see specific traits and behaviors of the gift of perceiving. They are: 1) the ability to interpret scripture, 2) to reveal information to others, and 3) an ability to speak the mind of God.
    Perceivers have a keen sense of right and wrong. This is a form of discernment that we have seen in Christians and non-Christians alike. It is because of this sense of right and wrong that perceivers hold very high standards. They tend to be perfectionists because of their high standards and often become their own worst critics. In some cases, perceivers do not realize their gift and they can become very critical of other people or situations, which emerges as a pessimistic attitude.
   The primary function of this gift is to reveal information the perceiver has discerned in a way that will help others. This information is not always positive and well received. As a result, perceivers sometimes appear direct, blunt, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others particularly when sharing this information with people possessing different motivational gifts. This is a classic case of the gift being misunderstood because their real intention is to help people.

and that's why i always want to share things with you guys. God speaks to me through His Word. and that revelation, combined with the Spirit who gives me His supernatural gift of perceiving, combined with my ingrained personality's way of looking at things, gives me a unique little perspective here.

the only downfall? well that same INFP personality i was born with, that means i analyze everything and process things and have some pretty well-thought-out wisdom? it also means i analyze how you'll think of me, down to the last detail.

when God is teaching me something, it consumes me. and eventually it has to make its way to paper. often, that happens in my own personal journal. but quite often it also happens here, in this space, where you can see it. it happens here where i'm forced to be organized and concise and a little bit more polite in my approach. that's good for me. my journals are raw and sometimes chaotic and rambly [and you thought i was rambly here]. 

the problem is that i fear your reaction to what i'll say here. i fear that if i don't have complete mastery over an area that i feel led to share with you, that you'll think of me as a hypocrite when i demonstrate that i often fall short.

let's say, for example, i had written a post about gossip. oh wait, i wrote one here. and a lot of people in my real life commented to me how it had an impact on them. and immediately i wanted to take it back. not because it wasn't true, but because what happens the next time i engage in gossip, the next time i push for more information and all the juicy details, the next time i'm careless? they'll think me a fraud. they'll think that what i shared, i didn't really believe.

my beliefs don't always translate to actions [or lack of actions]. i wish they did, but i'm human too. and though God gives me a unique way of interpreting and synthesizing Truth, i still mess up. everyday. i want to get to the point where this fear, or preoccupation, no longer whispers to me. where i'm not constantly checking every word i write, to make sure that i am doing exactly what i'm "preaching", everysingleday, without fail. because that's not possible for anyone, not even the most noted pastors and evangelists and writers and speakers. we share Truth because we know it's true, but it doesn't mean that we have demonstrated or will demonstrate complete mastery or compliance with the things we've shared. we will mess up. and the enemy would love nothing better than to just keep us silent by making sure we stay fearful.

i think this is why God, so often, admonishes us in His Word to speak the Truth in love [ephesians 4:15]. to share with gentleness and respect [1 Peter 3:15], to let our conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt [colossians 4:6]. we never want to get so dogmatic that our next mistake proves us a hypocrite. does that make sense? if we can share with humility and grace, it makes us a lot more credible as a human, who definitely messes up, but also might know some Truth. so i guess my purpose here is four-fold.

1) i'm encouraging myself to just go ahead and share, even if i know it's in an area i still struggle and something i don't have complete mastery over.

2) i'm encouraging all of you [and me] to cut our teachers and pastors and book writers and role models some serious slack!

3) i'm reminding myself [and you] to use my gifts very wisely. to deliver messages with love and humility and compassion and respect, completely aware that i don't have everything figured out, i just know what God says about it. and His Word trumps any other justification we could make, any logic or common sense or street savvy or worldly wisdom that's out there.

4) i'm also helping myself [and you] to feel relieved that you're normal. there's a word, a definition, for people like you, and people like me. you're not the only one who thinks or feels like you. when i feel compelled to think or speak or act or share, it's because God made me that way and has equipped me that way. that's freeing to me. go find out what your spiritual gifts are and be relieved that you're supposed to be just the way you are.


  1. Aly! So I'm catching up on the past few months of your blog and I can relate to many of your posts SO much! Love your writing style. Do you still have your old email? I think I have it but would love to catch up that way :).

  2. yes pleeeease email me! alysonrallen (at) gmail

  3. what a BEAUTIFUL post... going to check out the spiritual gifts thing now... i am a thinker too... to my detriment most of the time. this was such an eye opening thing to read... thank you for your words :) xo

  4. wow, i'm not even joking when i say that your posts just blow me away!
    sometimes i wonder how you KNOW all this stuff and how you REMEMBER everything.
    you truly do have a gift Aly and i'm so thankful i found your little blog.
    please continue to share whatever God puts in your heart, you bless your readers so much when you share :)