We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
--Romans 12:6-8 (Read Romans 12)
If you asked me to point out people equipped to write a devotional on discerning your purpose, I never would have volunteered myself. From “what do you want to be when you grow up?” to “what are you going to do with that degree?”, I’ve always scrambled for an answer. A lifelong process of discernment has often left me feeling purposeless, directionless, and simply, lost.
I, like many, could easily identify where I fell short and areas which were of no interest to me. I was never meant to be an athlete, and I hated math from the day we started to learn long division. But it still felt like there were an overwhelming amount of activities that I enjoyed, and I was okay at all of them. Although I still couldn’t tell you a ton about my purpose, occupational or otherwise, the Lord has revealed to me some key aspects through knowledge of my gifts.
Like the above passage in Romans implies, the Lord gives us gifts individually, gifts to be used for His glory. I only realized that this actually applied to me when people started to point my gifts out to me. Even then, I could name spiritual gifts that I had been given, but I couldn’t seem to connect them to everyday life, let alone my future. When we read this passage in Romans, it’s easy to disconnect the gifts that Paul names from ourselves and our purpose. What does it even mean to have the gift of mercy or encouragement or giving? And how could these gifts translate into a career?
Over time, God revealed to me a gift of discernment: the ability to see things the way they are. The Holy Spirit works through me to communicate truths about people and situations. Although this can sometimes get me into trouble if not utilized correctly, acknowledging this spiritual gift and others has brought me closer to the purpose for which the Lord has designed me. Combined with other gifts, the Lord has taught me that my gift of discernment makes me well-suited for situations in which I can listen, evaluate, and respond with truth. Because of this, I hope to pursue a career in social work or counseling.
The spiritual gifts that God has given us directly relate to our individual purposes and the work that the Lord has set out for us.
Every person in relationship with the Lord has been gifted with talents and strengths that directly relate to kingdom work. Heads up: kingdom work is designing medical devices or bridges, just as much as it is being a preacher. And your spiritual gifts actually may play into both. If you’re fuzzy on what a spiritual gift even is or which gifts you have, I highly recommend taking this survey.
This week, dive into a search for purpose by starting small. The very first step is asking God questions about yourself and noticing the way He’s made you. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family what gifts they see in you. Others often see us shine, even when we are living in doubt. You have a purpose specifically designed for you by the One who knows you best. Set aside fear, and ask Him what it is! The Lord has given you all kinds of gifts that He wants you to use in accomplishing His purposes! Ask Him how you can begin to live into these gifts in small ways on a daily basis. Ask Him to help you grow in gifts that you lack and give you opportunities to glorify Him.
—Savanna Lattanzi is a CCO Associate in partnership with Bellefield Presbyterian Church.