Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Grace on a Thursday: Facing what I am not

My friend Shauna - you know her, right? (she has this amazing blog) - had an incredible mother. I never got to meet her, but I've learned things from her nonetheless. Her daughter has carried on so much of her beauty.

A story about Cindie I may never forget is how when faced with her limitations, she'd gracefully state, "Well, I have many other fine qualities." I imagine she'd smile at the same time, fully unphased by her shortcomings, and fully satisfied by the gifts God had given her.

I, on the other hand, don't love to linger over my shortcomings. I'd rather focus on my strengths, quietly ashamed of that which I am not, and secretly wishing my weaknesses would just disappear.

So when I heard that Cindie would have such an attitude - one characterized by a deep understanding of grace - something in me craved it. Her example opened my eyes and made it seem plausible that perhaps I may be able to free myself from the self-inflicted pressure to be great at everything.

Now that I think about it, I don't think I'd previously realized what a life of striving I'd been living.

Recently, I took an online spiritual gifts test. You answer questions for a few minutes, and then it tells you what you are most likely gifted in (according to the motivational gifts listed in Romans 12), and by default, that which you are not. I have to ask myself, Do I spend more time thanking God for the incredible gifts He's given me in order to be effective for His kingdom, or do I spend more time staring at the figures that say I AM NOT gifted in many others? It is a real dilemma for me some days.

So today, as we could all use some grace for ourselves this Thursday, can we try something together?

In the comments, I'm going to share with you my few gifts, and the few I certainly do not have, based on that gifts test. I'll be practicing Cindie's motto as I type the weaknesses: "I have many other fine qualities!" And through grace, I'll be thanking God for my strengths as well as my weaknesses, because those are the areas in which His power can especially shine. Amen?

If you have a few minutes, go here and take the test yourself. (It's short) Then, share your results with us in a comment. It will give you percentages for each of seven gifts. The highest couple are your spiritual gifts - strengths given to you by God himself for serving and loving the world. And for that which you are NOT, we'll know you have many other fine qualities! 

(I'm hoping you have a chance to play along; since blogging sometimes feels like I'm talking AT you, I like to find ways to get to know YOU better. And don't miss the chance to read the analysis of each gift below the results. It's certainly helped me understand who God made me to be.)   



  1. So I had a three-way tie for first place...Perceiver, Encourager, and Teacher. I totally resonated with the descriptions. My two lowest were Server and Giver! Seems bad, huh? But I can also see what beautiful things God has given me, so here I am saying, I may not think to serve you or give to your cause, but I have many other fine qualities! (And if God was pleased by who he made me to be, then so am I.)

  2. My top two were perceiver and teacher. I'm not too surprised by this...I've always known that I have a lot of prophet in me and understanding how the prophet operates in the local church was totally freeing for me. It helped me to understand why I am the way I am and why I react the way I do, because God made it so.

    My husband, the pastor, who is very, very pastoral and shepherding, and I laugh over our differences. He wants to make sure everyone is okay and I want to make sure everyone is right with God and hearing his truth-even if it makes them uncomfortable. I've learned balance in this area and he's encouraged me to be a bit more kind and loving.

    I came out lowest in showing mercy, but I have many other fine qualities! And I believe when I am surrendered to God, I will operate in mercy when God needs me to.

    Thanks for the great link and insight today!

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  4. Ack, technical difficulties. Sorry for the delete! You got my meal planning instead of just my comment. LOL

    Loved this test! I found the descriptions to be very helpful and timely for me. My top 2 are server and showing mercy (although I think giving should have been right up there too). It's no wonder I've had the struggles of balancing my time/life. I tend to easily give away my time, to the degree that my own family is neglected. But I've already started making changes for the better…Just this week I called it quits on my business (for once and for all) when my daughter asked “Mommy, what’s more important to you? Making clothes for other people’s kids, or making clothes for your own kids?” She had heard a few too many times “I’ll get to yours as soon as I’m done with this order.” Nothing like a wake-up call from a very wise 6 year old. Just this week, I was able to start helping a friend who is about to lose their home, get more work hours in by providing free childcare for her. This test was one more confirmation that I’m doing the right thing. Serving in this way is truly where my heart is. Sewing as a business was truly for selfish reasons and I desire to be less selfish so I can be free to do God’s will.

  5. P.S. I may not be the table teacher, small group leader or front-line person you are looking for, but I have many other other fine qualities.

  6. Thank you Leslie...I love taking these tests. It helps to find out more about myself and understand more of what makes up "me". Perceiver was the highest score followed by server and teacher. My lowest were giver and ruler. I definitely feel it was accurate... whew, and the perfectionist thing is a constant struggle for me. I am a work in progress...:)

  7. perceiver was my highest rated gift. it was a whopping 20% higher than the next rated gift. with that being said, i AM a perceiver! everything it said in those paragraphs is true about me. it actually helped me realize a few things about myself that i hadn't thought of as "gifts". thanks for sharing!

  8. My top two were the server and showing mercy, then I tied in the perceiver and encourager. My lowest were the giver and the ruler, but I have many other fine qualities ;]

    I actually thought the server, showing mercy, and encourager were spot on. The perceiver I had never thought of in that way but definitely line but.

    And based on the wording in the ruler I am absolutely not surprised I got the lowest there because I definitely don't contain many of those qualities.

    This was very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  9. So, my top two highest are "Showing Mercy" and "The Giver"...interesting...there are three tied for third place. Server, Encourager, and Ruler. After reading the descriptions...I think that's pretty accurate! As I read through the areas that are my weakest, I can think of people in my life that carry those as their strengths. My husband, for instance, is a Ruler for sure and a Perceiver! I love that God shows His grace to us by partnering us with people whose strengths are our weaknesses!! Isn't that so good of Him!! Thanks so much for this!!

  10. 1. the perceiver 65%
    2. the teacher 65%
    3. showing mercy 64%
    4. the encourager 60%
    5. the giver 60%
    6. the server 55%
    7. the ruler 35%

    I guess this means my most room for growth is in the ruler department. I completely agree, although reluctantly in a public forum. My worst trait is probably setting a good example. I do try, but I wish it came naturally to just BE a good person and example. I feel guilt for having to try in the first place. Thank you for this great test. I copied/pasted the entire results page, so that I can read and re-read it, while I work toward balancing some of those traits into shared strengths!

  11. My top was actually giver, but according to the description, I don't agree. I love being frugal and giving to people in need, but I am not gifted with hospitality at all, so that doesn't fit. My husband is though. :)

    The other top 2 I agree with are teacher and showing mercy. I feel like myself when I am teaching or helping someone through a hard time. I feel like I am being who God meant me to be... I feel alive.

    My lowest is ruler. I have had problems with my gifts in the church setting, because people tend to put me in a ruler situation because they see I have teaching gifts. They are very different though. I don't have the ability to lead and administrate, and I have failed greatly trying to live up to the expectations of others in this capacity. I can't lead small groups or large groups or administrate events or children's ministry, but I have other fine qualities!! I can teach them God's word and empathize with them. :)

    Thanks for this post, Leslie. I needed it. God has been teaching me a lot in the past couple years about who He created me to be.

  12. I had a two way tie for the perciever and the server, which makes a lot of sense. I'm really big about being there for people. My lowest was the teacher, which also makes a lot of sense, since most of the time I feel like people should be able to figure it out.

    I'm really glad you did this, it really made me look at my stregnths and weaknesses in a different light.

  13. i just emailed you. i am a perceiver. sometimes i wish i wasn't as much! :) but i know God's given me that gift for a reason.

  14. hey Leslie - just wanted to pop over and say thanks for your precious comment on my blog post - it meant A LOT to me for real. :) Its good to know other people worried about this love growing more with multiple children, and that it only gets better...and like you said, I am praying that it will also be beneficial for my first. :) blessings to you today friend!

  15. I turned out to be a Ruler with a secondary Encourager (which prevents me from seeming too bossy to most people). ;) In business, you always want to be aware of your weaknesses. However, if you spend so much time trying to improve your weaknesses that you ignore growing your strengths, then you end up mediocre in everything and helpful to no one. It's the same in the church! If you were great at everything, think of how you would be robbing other people opportunity to serve in their unique way. God allows us to be so pathetically weak in areas so that we MUST rely on our sisters and brothers in Christ just to get by. That's what the body of Christ is.

  16. The Perceiver: 55 %
    The Server: 90 %
    The Teacher: 45 %
    TheEncourager: 85 %
    The Giver: 65 %
    The Ruler: 50 %
    Showing Mercy: 48 %

  17. The Perceiver:80
    The Server:75
    The Teacher:50
    The Encourager:95
    The Giver:35
    The Ruler:70
    Showing Mercy:68

    I really love that phrase, "well, i have many other fine qualities." this encourager NEEDS to work on living in encouragement of her own {maybe that is why i am so tender to encouraging others}.
    i do have many other fine qualities. i do. i have the gift of hospitality, and i love people, and i love giving others a sense of belonging/community. i do, and i am made in His image in that way.
    i could tell you a lot of things i am not. i could rant those off quickly, but i'm not going to...because i have many other fine qualities!

    this is a great post leslie. i love me some grace on a thursday {or grace on friday in my case}.

  18. well, if i remember correctly from when we did it a few months ago i was a ruler, perceiver, giver.
    which is nice to know and be validated in.

    i have learned that the most unhappy people are the ones that don't know themselves and accept who they are or who can't understand or accept who other people are.
    its very stressful and uncomfortable to be around these kinds of people.
    and it's even more stressful and uncomfortable to be one :)
    i'm gonna try to obey my mother (for this is right ;)
    and remember that i have many other fine qualities and also remember that other people do too....
    thanks les.
    thanks momma.

  19. 1. encourager 2. mercy shower and 3. server. the only thing i scored all the way to the right on was talkative and social. which is just like my 3rd grade report card. which made me laugh ;)

    my "not so fine qualities" = ruler, teacher

    thanks for sharing this, leslie!

  20. My top three were Showing Mercy, The Ruler, and The Encourager. All of these made quite a bit of sense to me. My bottom two were The Teacher and The Giver, though on other tests I've taken, Teacher has been much higher for me. The Perceiver was right around the Encourager for me. Very interesting...

  21. thanks for this post, leslie!!

    i scored 100% perceiver, giver, and server.
    i will continue to fine tune and use well as seek the lord for greater strength in weaker areas!

    ps...thanks again for your encouragement a couple weeks ago. had a girl meet me for coffee last night and it was gteat!!