Monthly Archives: October 2013

Gifts and Talents and Stacking Chairs

Although I’ve taken a bunch of personality and placement tests, God teaches me all the time about what I am gifted at, what I need to be doing, and even the things that I don’t love but that need to get done.

For instance, I love to sing and act and be on stage, so at church, I help coordinate worship for the kids’ services and I act as the host on stage for the Saturday service. However, we also need people to pull curriculum and schedule volunteers and get the room ready– I don’t have the spiritual gift or talent of stacking and unstacking chairs, but I am needed there just as much as I am needed on stage.

While I love teaching, I don’t love teaching elementary school. But a school I went to trying to get work as a sub needed an elementary teacher. I teach several kindergarten classes and I work with middle schoolers. Not my favorite ages. And at church, we needed someone to lead the 3rd and 4th grade small group. Although I would rather be teaching college English students and youth small groups, I am needed here. And I have the skills to teach at this level. God is providing more of the patience, thank goodness, but I think I am learning about patience myself in these roles (keep praying for me!).

Although I end up stacking chairs and filling in with younger students, God still opens doors for me to function in my specific gifting. I do teach older students when I tutor. I am applying to be a Graduate Teaching Assistant. I work with youth on Wednesday nights. God knowns my heart and he provides what I need; I even have a role in a musical coming up this winter. I love being back on stage, singing and acting. And you know what’s funny? If I hadn’t taken this teaching job in Cedar Hill, I would not have been in the right place to do the show.

So I love getting to be back in theater. And I love working with youth and teaching writing to older kids. But my other roles are important as well. God has provided for me through this job working with mostly elementary students. God is stretching me and teaching me, and he is using me to provide what TCAL needs to. Sometimes, I need to fill in the gaps that I can and pray for God to bring along a better-suited person. But sometimes, he is making me into that person. Other times, he has me waiting there until he can move me somewhere else.

I think what I’ve learned through all this is to be content where I am and see how I can grow there, to look for how I am needed, and also to look forward to what God is doing in my life. Because he promised to have good plans for us, and he promised to never leave us. And he told me to do whatever I do as if working for him. So I strive to run the race set out for me and walk forward in faith. And I am content where God has placed me for now.

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Singing for Freedom

This week, Paul was preaching about grace and it was awesome. I know I spend so much time thinking I can get things right myself, that I can be perfect on my own, and that when it all falls down, I have totally failed. And while I do fail at running my own life, it’s not because God expects that from me.

Instead of preaching a gospel of “do- Christianity-better,” TCAL preaches grace and freedom: grace, goodness and salvation freely given from God to people who don’t deserve it, and freedom, from the ways of the world, from the treadmill of self-improvement, from emptiness, and chains. It’s awesome.

I’ll be talking a lot more about this freedom and what it means to me personally and theologically, but for today, I just want to celebrate. So celebrate with me! We are free!

Free from failure.

Free from unfair expectations.

Free from having to fix it ourselves.

The list goes on and on, but I also want to celebrate with a song:

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Back to the Basics

So I know I am supposed to read my Bible and pray every day. And I mean to, I really do. But somehow, I don’t.

I end up going to church and Bible study like four or five times a week. I listen to Christian music in my car. I pray sporadically when I think about it, and I read about Christianity and theology and such online. Shouldn’t all that be enough? Does God really want even more of my time?

Yes and no. God wants me, not necessarily my time spent doing things about him. He wants to talk to me and he wants me to talk to him. Because God desires relationship. And God works in us through relationship. This means I need to be talking to him and listening to him and devoting time to spend with him. So yes, he wants my time. But not if it’s not focused and purposeful.

And yes, God talks to me through music on the radio, and as I learn more about him, I can’t help but feel closer. And coming together with a community of believers, whether I am serving or attending, puts me in God-designed fellowship and relationship with other believers. The more I’ve learned in all that blog-reading, the more I’ve realized the importance of being in community and surrounded by other believers.

But I also need to be alone with God. I am more introvert than extrovert actually.

And I’m coming back to reading the Bible.

I’m setting aside all my questions about feminism and Christianity, about Biblical interpretation and translation, and about the Biblical way to do church and faith and life with God, all the questions that cropped up when I began to look into why I believe what I do.

Instead, I am just reading.

I’m not deconstructing or structuralizing or any of the fancy lit crit things I’ve learned in Grad school.

I am soaking in the words about the Word.

And I can feel something changing. I’m not sure what it is yet. I feel softer, more teachable. I feel more in tune with God’s heart, and I’m frankly amused by some of what I’ve missed before with my reading-for-instructions or critical-reading methods. Like when Paul tells Timothy to drink some wine for his tummy aches (vs 23). And sends greetings from real people who knew Timothy and Paul and sent their love. I am seeing the real people behind the Holy Text, and it’s that much more profound.

I quite like reading my Bible. I think I am going to make this a habit.

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