By far the most common question I receive from readers is, “How do I know what gifts and passions I have?” Since it is such a recurring theme, I want to take a bit of a different turn with this blog post and try to help you answer that question. In my coaching business, I run programs of six weeks and six months to help people dive into this question, so covering this in 500 words here will not provide a complete solution, but I hope it will give you a framework to get started. It’s important to understand that God has given each of us a unique set of skills, gifts, and passions. You did not get left out; they are within you.
First, some definitions: skills are things for which you have a natural talent (fixing cars, crunching numbers, writing, painting, singing, plumbing, etc.), gifts are the spiritual tools given to you (see 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11-13), and passions are those things for which God has given you an affinity (homelessness, poverty, children, animals, justice, etc.). It is the combination of these three areas that makes you unique. It is also what defines your specific role in the Kingdom. Calling is not the mystery it is often made out to be. It is simply living the life you were created to live.
Skills generally manifest themselves at a fairly early age, but sometimes they are discovered after being taught by someone else. I’ll spend the least amount of time here, because these are the most self-evident. What is it that you are good at doing? In what subjects did you excel at school? What is it you do that generally results in people giving you compliments?
Your spiritual gifts are often easier for others to see than for you to recognize yourself. Look at the passages above to see a list of gifts in the Bible. A really good and concise explanation of the gifts can be found by clicking here. There are many assessments you can take that have been designed to help identify your gifts. Lifeway offers a self-assessment you can download by clicking here. For a complete and comprehensive personality and spiritual gift profile, I recommend the” 48 Days Full Sha-Bang Profile”. There is a cost for this one, but I love the detailed results it provides.
Finally, we come to your passions. What is it that lights you up? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What inspires you, energizes you, or breaks your heart? What is it you love doing so much that you would do it all day without ever getting paid? These are all indications of the passions God has placed within you.
Now the tricky part is putting it all together. There are literally an infinite number of different combinations of skills, gifts and passions. After all, God has crafted each of us uniquely by hand. So in the space provided, the best I can offer is an example of how this plays out in my life. My spiritual gifts are discernment, wisdom, and exhortation. My skills are writing, coaching, and leadership. My passion is to help Christians live their lives totally devoted to Christ. My vision is to glorify God by helping others live their lives fully devoted to Him by encouraging them to become the person God created them to be. I accomplish this through my writing and providing wise counsel. So it all works in a circular fashion.
I didn’t make it in 500 words, but I hope this has been helpful and brings some clarity for you. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below so that others with the same question can benefit. If you have questions of a more personal nature, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d be happy to answer them.