8 In Faith

What Do I Have To Offer? Becoming Living Art – Week 10

Abstract light colorful watercolor background

Our gifts are not for God to us, but from God through us to the world. – Janice Elsheimer, The Creative Call

I believe that God created me with a purpose, with unique gifts and talents.  No one else can do what I do.  I am unique.  There is no one like me.

Yet, I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy, wondering what I have to offer to this world. How will I make my mark? How will I be remembered?  Is what I’m doing now truly making a difference?  Does anyone even see my efforts?

When I hoard my gifts and my giftings under piles of doubt, perfectionism, and demand for appreciation, I forget the six pots in Cana filled with dusty water, the ones holding nearly thirty gallons each.  (John 2)  – A Million Little Ways

How soon do I forget how Jesus can take my small and seemingly insignificant offerings and turn them into something that significantly glorifies the Father.

Our gifts carry hints of how we were made, who we were made to be, and our own personal reflection of the image of God.  Some of the art we make is made for the secret place, some are made for the one, some for the multitudes.  No matter what, we are to be generous with our gifts and to be fully who we are in the presence of others.  The outcome is not up to us. We are simply asked to show up.

As you move to the rhythm of the Spirit of God, what is within you that you can now give to someone else?  Not for the glory of yourself, but as a person who bears the image of God in the world.  What are those things in the deepest part of who you are, the personality and desires and unique blending of history and circumstance and longing — what is most alive in you as you are united with Christ that you can now pour out as an offering unto God for the benefit of others? – A Million Little Ways

And so we must bring our offerings, our gifts, no matter the smallness or enormity of them. They are not meant for us to hold on to.  The were meant to be given, freely, without restraint, to draw others to Him, and to bring glory to His Name.  So we invite others in, to partake of our table, to sample our offerings, and in return we feast on the offerings of others.  For the Body, the Church, grows when all of its members give what they have to give.

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly.  As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)

How Do We Bring Our Offerings?

We offer our weaknesses.  I don’t know about you, but when I am feeling weak and lacking, I don’t much feel like making art, let alone offering it to the world.  But, it’s in those times where I cling to the promise that says, “His strength is made perfect in my weakness”. So I show up, trembling, wrestling, lacking in confidence and boldness and I come, knowing that with every step He will give me the strength I need to continue.

We offer our brave yes and our strong no.  Saying yes to God and to others requires commitment and sacrifice.  It’s tempting to hide behind the no’s and leave the yeses for those who are brave and courageous.  Do you realize how different this world would be without you in it?  Your brave yes might be just what the world is waiting for.  Yes, I will believe, I will move, I will show up.  We can’t always see the outcome, but saying yes is the first step.  God will do the rest.

Often times, saying yes is not the only way we offer ourselves to God.  At times, the art we are called to make comes as a result of saying no and staying seated even when it seems like we should stand.  – A Million Little Ways

Sometimes we are called to say no.  Saying yes can become an addiction and before we know it, our yeses are to obligation and duty.  And because of those obligated yeses we are forced to look passion and intention and desire in the eye and say, No, I don’t have time for you.  We must Weigh the cost our yes will have on our spirit, soul and body.  We may have to search for our brave yes, but we will have to fight for our strong no.

We offer our art in the presence of another.  As image bearers of the living God, we are called to offer the work God has prepared us for to the world.  All throughout scripture, people brought simple offerings to Jesus, and then Jesus handed miracles back to the multitudes.  Our offerings reveal our unique style of worship, not for our own glory, but to the glory of God and for the benefit of others.

We commit ourselves to Him, yes; but far more important, He has committed Himself to us, and what He takes He holds, and what He holds He moulds, and what He moulds He uses.  So we launch out into the deep of God. We launch out by recognizing that He has already seized hold of us and launched us out in His beloved Son, in whom we are and He in us. – Norman Grubb, The Spontaneous You

So, my friend, what do you have to offer today? How are you giving God your brave yes, and others your strong no? I would love for you to share with me in the comments below.

Artist brushes with a half finished painted color canvas

This is the tenth post in a series entitled Becoming Living Art. Each Monday I will share what God has revealed to my own heart while reading through Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made To Live.  I was not paid in any way for my thoughts or quotes.  I would highly recommend you read the book.  It’s really good!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth
    May 13, 2014 at 4:12 am

    I think this may be my favorite post of this series. Maybe because it so targets where my own thoughts have been recently. There is so much I could highlight that spoke to me here. This morning while reading what I kept hearing is how I need to be utterly dependent on Him. “… your will be done.” I need to keep listening for His voice and rest in whatever assignment He has given me. If I believe He is truly calling me to write, I need to keep showing up.
    Beautiful post, Barbie.
    You and your mom have been in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love you.
    Beth recently posted..Friday Randomness {on a Monday} (Vol. 23)

  • Reply
    Denise
    May 13, 2014 at 4:20 am

    I love you sweet friend.

  • Reply
    Chris Malkemes
    May 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    What a precious friend you are. My creative process in dedicated a post was hard. Would anyone care? Would anyone read it? In the end I wonder why I stressed so much. Stretching ourselves to show the real self is more rewarding than we think. We can really work when we’re showing His gifts.
    Chris Malkemes recently posted..Her Name Was Grace  – A Momma

  • Reply
    Sherry Carter
    May 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Thank you for this post, Barbie. I’ve been struggling with “What’s the use?” feelings for some time. The answer is, “It’s for God’s use!” He controls how and where my work will have impact. It may be for many or just for me.

  • Reply
    Rosann
    May 13, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Oh how I can relate with the words of this post, my friend. For me, I’m my own worst critic, and feeling inadequate as a result makes moving forward with writing very difficult. Especially when a reader comes along and confirms my own negative self-talk. “You’re not anything special. You’re writing is bland. Good grief, get an editor!” It takes courage to step forward in faith and do something God has called us to do. We have to trust He’s equipped us, but are we ever really equipped for persecution? I can only pray God is glorified when I write, even if not everyone feels I offer any value or depth. What can I say? I’m unique, and so is Ann Voskamp! 😀 When I’m ready to write again, according to God’s plan, I’ll be writing for an audience of One and I’ll rest easy knowing I’m fearfully and wonderfully made – God doesn’t make mistakes. He brought me to the blogosphere, so He must really love my writing! 🙂
    Rosann recently posted..4 Big Reasons Not to Worry

  • Reply
    Mary Geisen
    May 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    In our weakness we are made strong- there is such truth in this verse and yet as you state, the last thing we want to do is say “yes” when we are feeling weak or vulnerable. You truly have captured beautiful word pictures throughout this series on “A Million Little Ways”. There is so much food for thought. This book is next on my list and I’m anxious to begin and learn as you have been doing. Thank you for this series and for reaching into your own vulnerability to open up to all of us. Blessings!
    Mary Geisen recently posted..Motherhood Moments

  • Reply
    Janis Cox
    May 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Fits right into my thoughts – I guess that is why God gave me Tadeo Turtle – so I can tell others that they are special in God’s eyes.
    Blessings to you as you write from Him,
    Janis
    Janis Cox recently posted..Five Things I Learned During My Blogging Sabbatical

  • Reply
    Dolly@Soulstops
    May 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Barbie,
    Yes to this:” We must Weigh the cost our yes will have on our spirit, soul and body. We may have to search for our brave yes, but we will have to fight for our strong no.” This has been a hard one for me to learn as a recovering people-pleaser but when I say yes to the wrong or 2nd best thing, it takes away from my ability to say yes to God’s best for me…Thank you, my friend 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted..When you write in blood…

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