The following is derived from chapter 6 of my new book, Discovering Your Destiny.
Our gifts are a part of our unique identity, and one of the indicators of what we are called to do. Therefore, it is important that we gain a good grasp and realistic perspective on what they are and what they are not.
Since gifts often come naturally to us, we may not recognize that we are operating in a gift. For example, you might have a teaching gift and not realize it. You are able to communicate information in a way that makes sense to people, but you just assume that everybody has this same ability. Or perhaps you are a natural leader, and don’t realize that not everybody is able to lead others in the same way.
There is grace in the areas of our gifting. Romans 12:6 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” Gifts are given based on God’s grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor, but it is also the divine enablement to accomplish something. So, when you are operating in a gift, you are empowered by God’s grace to function.
This is one of the reasons why it is important to understand who we are and who we are not; what our calling is and what it is not; what our gifts are and what they are not. If I try to step into a gift that I do not have, I am no longer operating in the grace of God. My wife is highly gifted in organization and administration (among other things). She makes it look so easy! But if I tried to function in an administrative role it would be a disaster. I don’t have the grace to do what she does because I don’t have the gifts that she has.
How can we know what we are gifted at? While there is no single answer to this question, below are some common ways that gifts are discovered.
Just as God will speak into our destiny and calling, He may speak into our gifting as well. God communicates in various ways; it could be through the Scriptures, dreams, prophetic words, or otherwise. But as you grow in relationship with Him and learn to discern His voice, your gifts will become more evident.
Sometimes we learn about our gifts through experience and trial and error. You might not know that you have a gift for music unless you try to play an instrument. My sister has an incredible gift in painting, but she only discovered this when she took an art class in high school. Gifts and talents don’t always just “fall out of the sky” on us. They are often discovered as we walk through life and try different things.
Sometimes we can help identify our gifts by pausing to reflect on different seasons and scenarios to determine where we thrived. When you take time to reflect, you can look back to determine what areas have brought consistent fruit and impacted people’s lives.
Other people, especially mentors, can help call out gifts in us. Some people are especially able to see gifts in people, either through prophetic revelation or through insightful observation and wisdom. Gaining feedback from others can help us to have an honest assessment of areas of strength as well as weakness. It is important for us to have a realistic view of our gifts, and sometimes others can see things that we cannot.