“What are some areas that you feel under appreciated?”
I didn’t want to answer. As I thought about how to respond, I heard voices telling me that I was whining, complaining, and attention-seeking; I heard a voice tell me I was needy and self-serving.
Those voices were lying to me, of course.
As someone whose primary love language is Words of Affirmation, I tend to want a bit more verbal or written encouragement than someone who thrives off of, say, Acts of Service or Physical Touch. So for me to answer a question about which areas I feel most under appreciated in means my mind will automatically shift to the things I need (or want) more encouragement in.
I’m a servant of God. I’m not a servant of the world or of man. This is something I check my heart on often, as a necessity. God created me as a servant with a purpose, and I believe a big part of my purpose is to create (through writing and through artwork) in order to speak truth to hearts. I believe spiritual gifts are meant to be utilized, not kept to ourselves; they’re meant to be shared in order to serve others. Just as His truth — the truth of His promises and grace and the truth of the cross — are meant to be shared, and not kept to ourselves.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
If we can agree that we’re meant to use our spiritual gifts to serve others, where then can we agree the line is that draws the difference between showcasing our own skills, and showcasing God’s love through a thing He gave us the strength to say, or do, or make?
That line is different for everyone, and YOUR line is invisible to everyone except to yourself and God. My line is invisible to you; your line is invisible to me, because we don’t know each other’s hearts, truly; and the key is in our hearts.
It says in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
So when I’m sharing a spiritual gift with the world, where is my heart? Actually, let’s track back even further. When I’m considering or planning or preparing or writing — BEFORE the work is finished and BEFORE I share it with anyone, where is my heart then? Where is my heart during the process? Am I “serving others” to please man? Am I “serving others” to appease man? Or am I serving others to serve God? Am I sharing my gifts because I enjoy them for the mere fact that they’re from God? Am I sharing my gifts because I want people to see what miraculous works God has done?
So I answered the question, “What are some areas that you feel under appreciated?” And it kind of ruined me for a minute, because I listened to those lies. Those voices telling me I was needy and self-serving.
But then the truth creeped into my heart, and I realized that it’s okay. It’s okay to serve without recognition. It’s also okay to serve and be recognized! The matter is in my heart. When my heart is focused on God, my works are too, and that’s what’s important.
When I’m serving and sharing my gifts, whether I hear or read those coveted words of affirmation or not, I’ll be okay, because I will remember these things:
- It’s not about me, anyway. It’s about God. If I shared the message He gave me to share, then I don’t need to worry. It’s okay.
- My reward is in heaven, and affirmation from man won’t get me to heaven any sooner or get me a better place there. So it’s okay if all I hear are crickets.
- I ENJOY this work. It’s called a spiritual GIFT for a reason: I share it with others, but I get to enjoy it, too. It’s okay for me to love what I do.
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