It’s a typical day. You’ve packed lunches, folded mountains of laundry, managed the kid taxi like a champ, and wrangled all the little people into bed. Now, you’re tired and maybe a little discontent. Sure, you got a lot of stuff done today, but it didn’t feel particularly special. You don’t realize it, but those same gifts and abilities that kept your family going today will become your superpowers.
Today you managed people, coordinated schedules, mastered conflict resolution (several times), facilitated learning, and planned menus for a small army, in addition to your personal activities. More than just the tasks you do each day, the way you do them is key to uncovering your gifts and abilities.
Your gifts and abilities are more than luck
Some days feel ordinary like a carbon copy of every other mama—a Stepford Wives kinda thing. You feel anything but special. The truth is, you want to remember all the ways you used to stand out.
Guess what?! You absolutely are not ordinary, even if we do a lot of the same things. You have a set of gifts and abilities meant especially for you. By design, no one else can see the world and change it like you.
The difference between gifts and abilities
Have you ever thought about how some people seem to be perfect for a certain job? Some of our friends are natural leaders, they see the world 3 steps ahead of where we are today. Others see the details of today in a way we rush past. Only a few can catch a momentary glimpse and know something’s wrong. You were made this way too, even if you don’t realize it yet.
The core of who we are is a gift. Our lives and experiences color who we become but at our heart, we have gifts meant to help us fill our role. God promises to equip each of us.
“God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere…Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!” 1 Cor. 12:4-7 (The Message)
We can’t run away from our gifts or trade them in, even if we want to.
Identifying your abilities
Even though we don’t choose our gifts, we know what we enjoy. Your abilities include both the activities you’re naturally good at and the skills you acquire through hard work. Part natural talent and part hard work, abilities grow and change over time.
Maybe you think you don’t have any great abilities. You’re too hard on yourself. Yes, some days it feels like you swapped your wit, personality, and drive for a diaper bag and a good dose of overwhelm. And no, life is not the same as it was before you had kids. Life is not better or worse, it’s just different.
What’s your typical day look like? Even if it feels ordinary, think about how much you get done. Those dishes and clothes won’t wash themselves. If you were paying someone to do those exact same jobs, would they seem meaningless?
Maybe you’re still working through exactly what you want to do. What do you really enjoy doing, even if you only get the chance occasionally? There’s a list of things a mile long that you’re good at. Need inspiration? Make a list of the things your friends ask you to help with.
It’s time to start investing in yourself.
Your gifts and abilities aren’t hiding
Are you afraid to admit you have something special to offer the world? We convinced ourselves that being proud is the same as being prideful. We think hiding and downplaying our gifts is the same as humility. It’s one thing if you’re unsure of your gifts and abilities, but it’s a whole other thing if you’re choosing to hide them. Even if you’re not hiding your gifts, they’re easy to ignore as we rush around.
Believing in ourselves is hard too. I hear my professor tell me my writing “shows promise.” I hear my friend say I’m a leader. I even get paid to write. But still, I don’t understand how I got such a high grade on my paper. Is the professor really that easy? Surely, my work wasn’t that good.
Part of me still doesn’t feel qualified, while another part wants to believe what I hear. When’s the last time you felt the same way? We’re afraid to believe we have something to offer because someone might tell us otherwise.
When we downplay our gifts and abilities, we’re really neglecting our specific role in the world, the one God designed for us.
The slow road to discover your superpowers
This isn’t a fast process. You don’t wake up one day and automatically know exactly who you’re supposed to be and have all the skills to make it happen. Wouldn’t that be great though?
Becoming who you’re meant to be will take a lifetime. I’m convinced we’re lifelong learners, whether we want to be or not. There’s a lot of life lived between 20 and 30, you become more aware of who you’re meant to be and who you want to be.
My life looked like different roads that never intersected—loan officer, farm worker, battery business, and then…seminary. The more I try to hear God’s direction, the more everything takes shape. Each stop honed my abilities, taught me important lessons, and revealed little pieces of gifts. When you think about life like a puzzle, you begin to see how the pieces fit together.
Your experiences, family, faith, everything eventually comes together to become your specific part of God’s bigger story.
Owning your gifts and abilities
No one else combines your gifts, abilities, and vision in this place. You were created to uniquely serve a greater purpose in the world. It’s time to believe in yourself.
We’re taking a deep dive into our work as mamas. Identifying your gifts and abilities is question #3. Read more about the bigger questions working mamas need to ask, what what work really means to us, and the emotional benefits of pursuing your passion. Next week we’ll put everything together to serve others.
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