For years I felt bad about some of my personality traits – really bad. People around me criticized the fact that I felt too deeply, thought too much and was overly sensitive. I grew to be ashamed of these aspects of my personality.
I tried everything. I tried to not let myself care about others. I tried to not let people in. I tried to not think too deeply and I tried to ignore the needs and hurts that were all around me. None of this worked – I began to stop having joy and my smile left me. People began to ask me questions like “are you alright?” or make statements like “you don’t look like a happy woman”. Then through a series of circumstance changes in my life, God began to show me that I was allowing others to put a lid on my gifts and I was quenching the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. These people really didn’t mean harm – well, most of them didn’t. They just didn’t and still don’t understand that these are gifts not curses because it is so different from anything that they feel or experience.
Now, I freely give my gifts. Do I get hurt? Yes, absolutely! Do others judge my motives? Probably. Is this a lonely place? Yes, it is. Just a few nights ago, I was on a bike ride with someone who is very significant in my life. I was sharing a burden that I’m feeling for another family and they explained that they just don’t understand or relate to that kind of compassion. They don’t view this as a positive thing but I am learning that if Jesus is pleased with the way that I love and give of myself then what others think really just doesn’t matter. It really is that simple.
Have I ever turned these gifts into a curse? Oh yes, most certainly I have. These very same gifts can lead me to become overly self-focused and to get my feelings hurt too easily. They can also lead me to the temptation of being resentful when others don’t reciprocate. The point is, beware because as human beings we are sinful by nature. We have the tendency to turn good to evil.
There is good news though. Jesus died so that your sins can be placed on Him. The book of Romans tells us that there is now no condemnation for those that have put their trust in Jesus’ payment of their sins. If you haven’t already, go to Jesus’ cross and let him put your sins on His account and then use what He gives you to glorify Him.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from God above.
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