Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"do not neglect your gift" in 2014

2014 is here--and it has been for a couple of weeks now. Did you notice?

As I did in 2012 and 2013, I planned on taking part in the blogging world's replacement of new year's resolutions with "One Word." I even had a post all written out, ready to go for the Faith Barista's link-up on January 9th.

It was a good word, too--one I picked out somewhere around Christmas after I heard a song that really stuck with me. I was excited, mostly because for the first time I had a word in advance. I hadn't put it off until the last minute (or even a little later!). I was ready.

And then January 9th rolled around, and I couldn't post it.

My word, chosen in advance, just didn't seem like the right choice. I struggled with that for a few days, to be honest. I really wanted "One Word" and I really wanted to post what I'd written. After all, that was the whole point in writing it.

No matter how I tried to convince myself, though, I just couldn't make myself type it up. I tried to come up with a different word, with a bunch scrolling through my head like that old screen saver:

broken...grace...beauty...strength...patience...love...

all good words, but still not right.

Then Sunday morning I came across a verse. Paul was writing a letter to Timothy, a young leader needing encouragement. It wasn't a whole verse that stood out, to be honest. Instead, it was the first five words of 1 Timothy 4:14
"Do not neglect your gift"

The words stood out for me.

Lately, there's been a lot of attention on "God-sized dreams." There's even a website that has sprung up out of it, along with the book that started it off in the blogging world. I've even written about it myself, throwing my dream of writing into the mix.

It's an amazing community of women who are purposing to encourage one another to follow their dreams, reminding each other that our God is the Creator of dreams.

For me, though, something important got lost when I started focusing on the dream.
"Do not neglect your gift"

In Romans, we're told that as believers we have all been given gifts. In James we are reminded that "every good and perfect gift is from above" (1:17). In 1 Corinthians we're told that the gifts we have been given are for us to use--for others, and for God.

The gift God has given me is not for my own personal enjoyment; it's for the fulfillment of His plan.

That's not to say we shouldn't chase dreams. I fully believe that God places certain dreams in our hearts to guide us in the right direction. For me though, my dream of writing has become just that-- mine.

So for 2014, my focus is going the be on using the gifts God has given me for His purpose.

"Do not neglect your gift"

How about you? What gifts have you been given, and how can you use them for God in 2014?

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy