I am a firm believer in the idea that a person cannot truly feel fulfilled unless they are using the gifts and passions God has birthed in them. No matter who we are, or what our roles are in this life, I don't think that God wants us to sit idle with our gifts, but instead desires that we put them to use. To benefit others, to align ourselves with his purpose, and to bring us joy.
Watching this video from Q Nashville, featuring Shauna Niequist, had me even more convinced of this. The video is about being a woman and being a mother. But, more than that, it's about being true to yourself, following your calling, and using your gifts...and what your children, spouse, family and friends can learn when you do.
After watching the video, I started thinking about my mom and her gift of hospitality. Although my mom has told me many times that she always wanted to be a mother and never felt the need for a career, the circumstances of our life required for her to work outside of the home for most of my childhood. However, that didn't stop her from using her gifts.
The definition of hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Growing up, we always had people in our home. We hosted dinners, parties, exchange students and family who had no place to go. I have many sisters in other countries, who, thanks to Facebook and email, are still able to communicate regularly with our mom. Our holiday celebrations often included those who needed a family to celebrate with. And, when I was a teenager I spent lots of time hanging out with my friends at our house, where most of my friends called my mother, mommy-T instead of Trish.
These are the times when I saw my mom flourish the most. Although preparing for the dinners, parties and house guests wasn't always the most fun for us kids - too much housework to do! - I could see the joy that it brought my mom. She liked being needed in that way. It was her passion.
My mom never had to tell me that hospitality was her gift. As soon as I came to the place in my spiritual journey where I learned about spiritual gifts, I knew immediately.
Then, there came a period of time when my mom was not actively pursuing opportunities to use her gift of hospitality. Without telling too much of a story that is not mine to tell, I will say that I could tell a difference. I was afraid to say anything to her. Yet, God kept urging me to. Finally, I did. And, you know what, she already knew. I believe that God had been speaking to her too.
“The root of anxiety is a sense of unfulfilled responsibility.”
- Viktor Frankl
Are you feeling lonely, anxious or discouraged? Are there gifts or passions you have that you're not using?
If so, make time for them. Make time for God to use you.