One of the things I’ve admired and noticed about my husband in recent years is the way he seamlessly transfers his training and giftings from one role to the next. Although he went to school for engineering, he no longer technically works in the engineering field. Instead, he has transferred much of his knowledge about problem solving, innovation, analysis and efficiency to the business world as he manages several facets of a company. He also helpfully brings these skills to our home as well, often suggesting improvements around our house where he sees inefficiencies or ways to make family life run a bit more smoothly. Instead of viewing his education as something specific, only to be used in one field, he has generalized that knowledge to excel in many areas of life, serving others with his unique giftedness.
Although I’d like to give him all the credit for coming up with this way of applying his skills, we actually see this suggested in scripture:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Pet. 4:10-11).
Seeing Our Gifts in Different Settings
When God gives us gifts (including vocational training or specific education) we are to use those gifts to serve others in our own unique way for God’s glory through Jesus Christ. Gifts aren’t something to be buried, forgotten, or cast aside – and neither are the individual life experiences that make us different from others in the body.
In her book Made for More; Hannah Anderson says it this way:
Serving other through your work…means developing your unique gifts and using them on behalf of others. These gifts include everything from our intellectual capabilities to our artistic abilities to the biological ability to bear and nurture life.
She goes on to say:
In the end, working imago dei means utilizing your God-given gifting and passion in order to strengthen your relationship with Him, with those around you, and as a steward over creation.
God’s has sovereignly shaped our experiences, biological makeup, background, training, and education for his good purposes, transcending the marketplace and formal church positions.
Creatively Cultivating Gifts at Home
It’s fairly easy for me to see how my husband can transfer his skills and training from one career to the next, as it’s also easy for me to understand how a woman who works outside of the home part or full-time can utilize her skills in a tangible way. But what about for women who are primarily homemakers or have significantly shifted out of their designated career path? Over the years, I’ve found myself asking questions like this:
While the answers aren’t clear at first, with study of scripture, prayer, and counsel, it is possible to see how women in a mostly at-home season of life can still walk richly in their giftings. In fact, I would argue that if you aren’t walking in your giftings and using those special things about the way you’re wired to love your neighbors, including the people in your own home, you’re missing an opportunity to image God and bring him glory!
Here is what I mean.
Recently, I’d been in prayer over some specific parenting issues I was struggling with on a daily basis. My brain felt foggy, so I spent some time asking for his practical wisdom and insight into our unique situation. Within a couple of weeks, I had an idea spark – not something new to mankind, but just a new-to-me idea of how to handle the matters at hand. With my thoughts feeling fresh, I realized that there were many things I learned while working in Childhood Special Education that connected perfectly to the needs of the toddlers in my own home. Suddenly, I found myself digging through educational resource websites, compiling tools for visual schedules and communication charts. Within a week, I was able to implement new systems and strategies to run our home and train our children more effectively. Of course, there is no magic bullet or one-time parenting strategy, but it’s been a joy to throw the weight of my college education, training and work experience behind my mothering.
This is just one example that proves college was a wonderful kingdom investment, even though I’m no longer earning a wage in the marketplace. I can image God and bring him glory through learning, trusting him to use my knowledge as I walk in the good works prepared beforehand for me. I want to prayerfully live out my current season in a way that magnifies Jesus Christ, and it’s a wonderful challenge to cultivate my gifts in ways that bring life to our home.
Instead of resigning yourself to discontentment, or using your gifts in a way that conflicts with your current season of life, trust God to use what he’s given you right where you’re at. Often it’s not that we need to change our circumstances, but that we need to be faithful, fruitful, and creative where God has already placed us. God has equipped and uniquely suited you to love your family and manage your home well. For my husband, this means using his engineering skills to shape the efficiency of our lifestyle. For me, it means tapping into my education, along with my creative and expressive tendencies to make our home lovely. Every gift and skill, from accounting to quilting, has a way to be utilized for the good of the home and the glory of God. What does this mean for you?
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