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I am married to a man who is naturally gifted in many ways. One of the gifts that I find myself most envious of is his ability to absorb and retain information without effort. Remember “that kid” in school who just showed up and got an A? That was my husband, and his gift of recall still serves him well today. One prime example is when he sits down to work on genealogy. He can scan information about an individual for mere moments, then turn to searching through various documents to find more information. He’ll be able to recall their birth and marriage dates as well as the fact that their sibling’s name was Martha, not Mary, and Martha was older, not younger than they were. The amount of detail retained just boggles the mind! And he doesn’t even realize it in action. It comes so naturally that he carries on, completely oblivious, while I inwardly turn green in my envious state. 

I have a friend who is excellent at asking questions. And they aren’t the questions akin to the kind your three-year-old asks to no end. Rather, they are the kind that no one has asked you before but it suddenly means all the world. I’m thinking of the questions that trigger a whole trajectory of other questions, or that inspire a deep reflection you didn’t know you needed. And the beauty is that she asks them in a guileless and genuine way that makes you trust her enough to respond. She truly wants to know for the simple fact of seeing you as a person and growing a connection with you. She, too, has no idea of her gift until someone points out how impactful her question was to them. 

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My sister just related a story about learning to scuba dive in Mexico and gaining a fun new nickname in the process. She spoke of finally getting to go out in the ocean after the hours of training and in-pool trial runs. She felt a freedom as she plunged below the waves and she felt like she belonged there. She waited as her fellow divers “found their buoyancy” before getting to venture off to her heart’s content. Once above water, the instructors voiced how impressed they were at how easily she “found her flippers.” They named her “mariposa del mar” (butterfly of the sea). She took to the water naturally, instinctually. They had no way of knowing how much her soul connects with both butterflies and the ocean. The name was fitting. 

I also have a friend who, when confronted with a difficult situation, asks herself and others, “What Spiritual Gift do you need to help you in this situation?” I think it is a beautiful question because it suggests that: 1. I can get through this hard thing I’m facing! 2. I can develop what I need. 3. This situation will make me better. 4. My gifts come from a source greater than myself. Just like a mother adapts to motherhood, a new teacher adapts to the rhythm of the classroom, the new kid in town settles into his new school, etc., we can adapt and grow as well. 

Do you possess any spiritual gifts? What types of gifts do you have? Here are some questions to consider as you ponder: Are gifts the same thing as talents? Is it easier for you to see the gifts of others more readily than in yourself? Why is that? Is there a gift you wish you had? Could it be developed in you with effort and time? Would it be a difficult process for you to list some of your gifts right now, or are you already thinking of a few? Are you a good listener, good with children, a naturally calm influence, or can you sing like an angel? Do you keep an organized home, easily see the needs of others or quickly learn the latest technological tools? 

As you start to see the gifts you hold, I challenge you to fully own them! Give yourself room to be good at that thing because in that strength lies the ability to serve. I firmly believe we are given these gifts in order to give!! We all hold different pieces of greatness that we might bring them together to lift all. For in the balance of give and receive, a fullness of joy is found.

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