Using Your Gifts

Since I was little, I dreamed of owning a Jeep. Not just any model but a Jeep Wrangler. Most young girls fantasize about Prince Charming or have some other typical dream dancing through their heads. Not me. Maybe it was all those years living in Colorado and crisscrossing the mountain trails in our little green Jeep to visit old mining towns that put the desire to own a Jeep Wrangler in my blood.

All I know is when it came time to purchase a new vehicle a few years ago I thought it’s now or never because this chickadee is not getting any younger. I decided it absolutely had to be a fun color—something different and unique. So I picked orange. Not because I’m an Oklahoma State fan, even though I am (it’s an added bonus for home games), but simply because it was exhilarating.

Of course, a Jeep Wrangler is built for off-roading and mountain climbing, so it comes from the factory with some great features. It’s equipped with four-wheel-drive, off-road differentials, and extra balance. You can take the top and the doors off for a super convertible feel. Plus, the inside is designed so it can get wet without any damage. Jeep claims their vehicles let you find your own way up, down, through, or around almost anything.

I don’t drive my Jeep according to its full intent because I don’t utilize half of the features. My most adventurous endeavors include driving in the snow or removing the top. Maybe it’s because Oklahoma doesn’t have any large mountains or that I’m too conservative to take the chance of getting stuck in mud. But if I don’t drive my Jeep in 4-wheel drive at least occasionally, I’ve wasted my money for those features.

I think many of us mirror how I use my Jeep. God wove us together with a purpose, installing specialized gifts and skills in us. But do we use half of what he has given us? 

Sometimes I feel like I’m cruising through life only engaging my gift of organization but failing to shift into the fun part of teaching or service. Or maybe I spend my time resting inside my comfort zone instead of trusting God’s direction and putting my feet to the pedal and allowing my hair to blow in the wind. I’m only traveling with half of my specialties engaged. 

What lies inside you? What was woven into the fabric of who you are? Oftentimes, we don’t realize we have the power of the living God who has equipped us for good works dwelling in us. Just like my Jeep can drive straight up the mountain or over a humongous boulder, Psalm 18 God tells me I can scale walls with him.

It’s time to stop letting our doubts and fears limit us and instead drive ahead with our gifts and talents tucked into the mighty hand of God as we journey to the top of the mountain. 

About Shelley Pulliam   Read more by this author...

Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media.

Recent Articles

An Invitation to the Thrive Gathering

I believe God brings people and organizations into our paths to strengthen us in our life journey. At Arise Ministries, we exist to empower single moms to not only create healthy homes but to create healthy mamas. I remember one day as a single mom sitting on my back porch crying, wishing someone knew the stress and aloneness I was feeling. I just needed someone to come alongside and rejuvenate that weary soul of mine. Maybe that memory is the catalyst that birthed not only Arise Ministries but our annual single mom THRIVE conference.

Read More

Give Joy To Get Joy

Can someone explain to me why skateboards don’t have brakes? I’ve always tried to be a student of my children. When they’re interested in something, I become interested in that something. Over the years I’ve learned more than I ever wanted about Pokémon, Japanese dogs, rock climbing, and all sorts of random things. Recently, my youngest son, Jax, has decided he wants to be a professional skateboarder. My son looks at a skateboard and gets excited about all the new things he can learn. I, on the other hand, look at that piece of wood placed on top of those four tiny wheels and ask, “Where are the brakes?”

Read More

Paint By Numbers

As a young girl, I remember my dad sitting at the dining table scrunched over his masterpiece. I’d ask, “Dad, what are you painting?” He’d reply, “It’s a piece of art. It doesn’t look like much now, but just wait.” His statements returned to me while standing in Hobby Lobby looking at the nostalgic kits. I could almost hear the Master whisper, “You’re a piece of art. You may think you don’t look like much, but just wait.”

Read More