When I started seminary in South Dakota they made us pay money to take a whole battery of tests, including a spiritual gifts inventory. I’ve taken them before. Often these tests determine that I am “pastoral.” I also found out that I was an INFP on the Myers-Briggs. However, last summer when I took it again, I was an ESTJ. Go figure?
I like taking these types of tests. I don’t treat them as the end all clue to my uniqueness but they are fun to take. I wish sometimes though that the Holy Spirit would administer a test and tell you the results. Surely, that test would be accurate. Surely, you could plan your life’s work and mission around such a test.
If you read my blogs at all, you’ve probably picked up that I have a fair amount of frustration. I am an excellent teacher, love to teach, but have no class to teach. The spiritual gift test is right, I am pastoral, but I have no sheep to pastor. I am an excellent preacher, but I have no place to preach. I am a good writer – for that at least I have the blogs. I am an excellent administrator but I have no place to administrate. I’m frustrated.
I’ve been told to be patient. I’ve been told to wait on God. I’ve been told God’s timing is perfect. All those wonderful things I’ve been told are true and correct. But like the woman who desperately wants a child and her biological clock is ticking, remembering my age is like a blaring alarm going off in my head. I am getting old. As I woke up this a.m. I had aches and pains. How much longer can I wait?
My husband has said to me several times in the last few days, I don’t know whether to pray for a job for you or not. Sometimes I think you want one and other times I’m not sure. I replied with no one will hire me because I’m too old. If my experience is truth, I’m right about this. I then said to him, I just want to feel like I matter. I want to feel like the gifts that I have and the intelligence God gave me, are useful. In other words, I want to take this love I have for people, this pastoral gift and use it to bless people.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to minister to a wonderful group of women. I told my story and shared my life with them. Then I prayed with them. For 3 more hours, one after another they came to me one by one. I prayed, I prophesied, I gave them the jewelry off my neck, I cried, we hugged. It was a wonderful evening. I said to a friend that I loved each one of those women as they came for prayer. God gave me gentle and affirming words. Even when there was a correction in the word, I delivered it as gently and affirming as possible. My friend, said: “That’s the pastoral gift in you.”
I think my greatest gift, if you want to call it a gift, is to be real. I take it as a great compliment when people say to me “your real.” I’m being real on Kingdom Bloggers today. I’m frustrated. I think of a song I heard as a kid:
"I've a yearning in my heart that cannot be denied, It's a longing that has never yet been satisfied. I want the world to know the One who loves them so, Like a flame it's burning deep inside. To be used of God, to sing, to speak, to pray; to be used of God to show someone the way. I long so much to feel the touch of His consuming fire; to be used of God is my desire."