As I look out over the ocean and watch the waves crash ashore, I wonder what makes them do that. Although I could learn more from a book or online, I already know that the energy that drives them is deep-rooted and their power is strongly tied to their reason for existence. This cascade of thoughts brought me back to the principle that “a person’s greatest place of pain is their greatest place of power and their area of weakness is their area of gifting.”
After weeks of musing this notion, I have learned that deep-thinking, perception, introspection, reflection, and intuition are the stronger parts of my power center. A calm demeanor and a warm, welcoming smile are spokes in my gifting wheel. Speed and seeking results to the exclusion of relationships are certainly some of my weaknesses. And pain, well we will get to that.
Although I believe there is much more searching to do in dark places to discover my treasures, the few I have found are helping me to uncover my purpose. Based on what I know today, I believe a large part of my purpose is about loving His people. As Force Family 5 tells us in Let it be Love, “I’ve never seen a soul set free through an argument. I’ve never seen a hurt get healed in a protest. But I’ve seen sinners turned to saints because of grace. It’s love, love that lights the way – Love that lights the way. Let it be our arms wide open, bigger than the words we’ve spoken. Let it be our heart for the broken, If we’re gonna light, light, light the way to You. Let it be love…Nothing but love…It’s love that lights the way. It’s not about the stand we take, but the grace we give. It’s not about the name we make, but the life we live. Heard about a King who stepped down, took my place; True Love gave His life away. It’s love that lights the way.”
How are those talents unique? How can they be used to achieve my purpose? The answer begins with prayer and an intentional shift to a relationship orientation. Galatians 5:13-14 tells us, “13 Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. 14 For the whole law comes down to this one instruction: “Love your neighbor as yourself,”” (The Voice)
Now….let’s examine this a little closer. We’ve all heard it, “we were not built to be an island.” Humans have an intrinsic desire for connection. However, typically those that are closest to us hurt us the most. How can we gain power from pain inflicted by those who claim to love and care for us? Well, here is an example of how it may work: an older relative teases us relentlessly about being overweight as a child (that’s a point of pain). In our youth, we learn how to control our conditions and circumstances in extreme ways, i.e. over-eating, anorexia, bulimia, etc. Thankfully through maturity, that control turns into positive influence – relating to, gently guiding, and teaching those around us to more constructive outlets (that’s power).
What about the connection of weakness to gifting? For instance, speed like most other things, has a light and shadow side. When it is used to blow past people for the purpose of preventing or controlling connections to other humans, it is a weakness. For a while, this weakness seems to work in our favor because we move about unimpeded while capturing meaningless results. Then illness or some other misfortune stops us dead in our tracks and we have to heavily rely on another. In our stillness, we look into the eyes of our helper and connect with her. She teaches us, through patience and grace, that we are all reliant upon each other in some way for something. In the quiet of a night during our convalescence, we wrestle with the lessons given to us. We roll a little deeper and begin to peel back the layers of emotions covered that caused us to speed through life so fast that the seal of feelings between us and those around us could not ever tighten. What we learn in those dark moments is that we have a trough full of love, disguised as wisdom and ideas, that is eagerly and anxiously waiting to be shared. Until that precious point in time, we simply were never willing to risk being vulnerable enough to examine the real truth. Instead, we had relied upon the deception of fear (False Evidence Appearing Real), something that prevented us from giving away the gifts provided to us for the benefit of others. Our biggest take away is that exposure doesn’t kill us, but instead makes of stronger. Ecclesiastes 7:18-20 tells us, “18 Avoid both extremes. If you have reverence for God, you will be successful anyway. 19 Wisdom does more for a person than ten rulers can do for a city. 20There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake.” (GNT)
Let’s look at another example: Someone close to us always uses a quixotic approach to life’s issues. At every turn, there is a great hype at the presentation of another dream pursued. Each pursuit causes continuous and major setbacks. The ripple effect of the nostalgic impracticality causes the innocent to ride mediocre waves that violently crash ashore. If this is our plight, anytime we feel the slightest bit of instability, we use the art of disengagement to prevent others from hurting us. Unfortunately, life is full of rocky roads and unstable ground. When we push back at the slightest hint of a tremor, we learn not to see relationships through (that’s weakness). We never learn that tenacity or perseverance while loving others are tenets that are helpful to our lives. As we move through life, we realize that others’ idealisms are medicated approaches to situations that lack meaningful connections and/or true sense of community. The decisions made to eradicate loneliness turned out to be more like a seaward bound rip current – a powerful swell that grows while the ignorant and unsuspecting are violently tossed about in their wake. To cope, we turn inward. Others simply see a smile and don’t understand the emptiness and anguish behind it. To the owner, it begs for relief.
Through reflection, we discover that a smile is worthless and deceptive if it is given without love and with an expectation of something in return. On a leap of faith, we suspend judgment, slow down, smile, and ask a question of someone else that allows them to share authentically and connect with us. Miraculously, we gain a new perspective on our gifting and we see love through different lenses. Among the Thirsty says it so well in That’s what Love Looks Like, “Maybe it’s a Father working through the long night; maybe it’s a Mother trying to raise her kids right; maybe it’s a prayer on a long drive home. Maybe it’s a soldier fighting on the front line; maybe it’s a preacher laying down his own life; maybe when You gave Your Son to die – That’s what love looks like.”
So stick with me! I am definitely on a roll and am headed deeper than ever before. I won’t promise that I will take you where no man has ever gone before, but I am committed to exploring this adventure fully. Proverbs 2:1-11 says,“My son, if you accept what I am telling you and store my counsel and directives deep within you; 2 If you listen for Lady Wisdom, attune your ears to her, and engage your mind to understand what she is telling you; 3 If you cry out to her for insight and beg for understanding; 4 If you sift through the clamor of everything around you to seek her like some precious prize, to search for her like buried treasure; 5 Then you will grasp what it means to truly respect the Eternal, and you will have discovered the knowledge of the one True God. 6 The Eternal is ready to share His wisdom with us, for His words bring true knowledge and insight; 7 He has stored up the essentials of sound wisdom for those who do right; He acts as a shield for those who value integrity. 8 God protects the paths of those who pursue justice, watching over the lives of those who keep faith with Him. 9 With this wisdom you will be able to choose the right road, seek justice, and decide what is good and fair 10 because wisdom will penetrate deep within and knowledge will become a good friend to your soul. 11 Sound judgment will stand guard over you, and understanding will watch over you as the Lord promised.” (VOICE)