I used to be religious and then one day I stopped. I was exhausted by the incessant requirements and accompanying condemnation – one always seemed to fall short. And so, I embraced a relationship with God instead.
My mum introduced me to church quite early, like most African mothers do. But I disliked the traditions and soon grew tired of doing the same things over and again.
But my real problem was I thought Christians lacked joy. They appeared mean, judgmental and uptight, and that wasn’t a life I wanted. Eventually, I did meet carefree and kind Christians. The difference was, they were everyday people who loved God. Their identity wasn’t “Christianity.” It was a relationship with a vibrant person they dedicated their lives to. And because they loved him, it overflowed into their care for people too.
That was a life I could aspire to. One in which I would identify with someone that was reliable, brilliant, and kind. And, if I spent enough time with him, my life would reflect the same values.
An Abrupt Change
During COVID, I stopped going to church regularly. I think I was already bored with the routine and I was looking for an excuse to stay home. It was a mistake. Although I escaped from tradition, I lost perspective and accountability.
There’s something about being in an environment where the focus is on God. Where people regularly talk about him. It enriches the mind and balances out the other voices on social media and in the world. Having a bunch of other Christians in your business also shapes your values and behavior. I miss that.
While I haven’t quite resumed my pre-COVID churchgoing, I am trying. I want to keep showing up.
Spiritual Gifts in the Workplace
In my Christian journey, the only spiritual gift I’m aware I have is prophecy. It manifests in a few main ways:
Trendspotting – In my work, I have an uncanny knack of understanding trends and consumer needs. Sometimes, I don’t have the validating data to begin with, but my spirit knows when to look in a direction. By the time I begin the research, I discover just how massive the space is. Some people call it going with your gut.
Daily Focus – I begin each day by recollecting my vivid dreams and listening to what God is saying. Many times, the result is, I only try to achieve one or two main things during the day. Those are the items that are important and come to me early in the morning. Everything else can wait.
Writing – There are days I feel an urgency to write about a topic. In those instances, I have intense clarity and know I should include specific sentences or phrases. I think those write ups are meant for someone in particular. So, I pay attention to the promptings and write quickly, in the order in which I received the inspiration.
Relevance – Finally, every year, I spend time asking God, “What’s important? What are you focused on this season and how can I help?” My year doesn’t truly begin until I understand what God is seemingly passionate about. This season, he’s been drawing my attention to Community and Relationship. So, I’m chewing on initiatives in this area even though I’m not a convener of people or gatherings.
I’ve seen my gift manifest in other settings. It could be discernment of intention at a meeting, or a word of knowledge at a presentation. Many times, it’s just wisdom. The capacity to provide clarity and direction in a very confusing world.
As I meditate on the scripture below, I encourage you to find your unique spiritual gifts. That which sets you apart from the world and will bring you distinction.
However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” Ephesians 4:7-8 NLT
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