Distorted Gifts

I was a bossy little kid. Maybe that’s hard for some of you to believe, or maybe it isn’t because you think I’m a bossy little adult too. My brother would run to mom saying, “Tell Krina she’s not the rule-people, Mommy. Tell her she’s not the rule-people.” I know. Adorable, right? I became known at our babysitter’s house as the girl who loves to give speeches, or something like that. Tell me how I can’t remember to put water in the coffee pot but I remember every detail of this moment from my childhood. My brother and I were outside at the babysitter’s with her two girls and we were all playing “house”. That day, we each had imaginary houses in individual sections of their swing set. One of the girls had built quite the fortress, informing us that none of us were allowed inside her house. The problem with that was, she believed she could go into our houses. Being the strong champion of justice I have always been, I launched into a very moving speech about fairness, informing her that if she could go into our houses, we could go into hers. I was so passionately engrossed in my speech that I was startled when my babysitter leaned out the door and said, “Listen to what Karina is telling you.” I was simultaneously embarrassed that I had been caught being the bossy girl and happy to be validated. Moments like these have the potential to create a monster.

Several people have told me over the last few years that I would make a good therapist. I’ve scoffed, laughed, said “been there, done that, no thanks.” I was a therapist in the past and I’ve been telling myself for years that I was terrible at it. It makes no sense that I should believe that my therapy skills are lacking based on my last experience because, I had great outcomes. But I told myself it was just the ‘luck of the draw’, that somehow I got mostly ‘good’ kids as clients. I was miserable at that job and I think I projected that misery to the therapy experience as a whole. I vowed that I would never entertain the thought of being a therapist again. The fear that rose up in me each time I thought about being a therapist could have lit a fire. FYI – the things we vow we’ll never do again are very often the things God calls us to. Usually the vows we make stem from our acceptance of lies straight from the evil one. God wants us to crush his cunning little head so He leads us right back to the ‘scene of the crime’.

Looking back, it’s no surprise to me that I’m still using the gift of words. Believe it or not, I enjoy public speaking, as ‘shy’ as some people think I am. And I still have a die-hard passion for fairness. I generally have a clear picture of right and wrong and have a great deal of discernment. I truly want what’s best for people and have a deep desire to help them climb out of their difficult circumstances. These things in and of themselves are beautiful. They are not beautiful, however, when they are distorted by the enemy.

I’ve been talking about Satan a lot lately. It’s just that, I’m onto him. I see what he’s done to these gifts God has given me and if I call him out on it, he loses some of his power over them. How sneaky he is! He used his subtle deceit to distort my gift of public speaking into an air of bossiness. He fed me lies that altered my affinity for justice into a spirit of judgement. I have a tendency to believe that I am always right and I have the speeches constantly running through my head to back me up. Satan used my fear of misery and emotional situations to lead me away from a career God may have intended for me. He distorted my discernment into an extreme desire to fix myself and others, even when they don’t want to be fixed. I often see how people can be set free and I so deeply want to help them get there that I have a tendency to go overboard.

This is not what God had in mind when He gave me these precious gifts. They were pure and holy and I have let Satan tarnish them. But like I said, I’m onto him. These days, I’m fighting back with a vengeance. I am stomping on his lies and letting God speak truth over my life once again. I am asking God to redeem the gifts I’ve dragged through the mud. I’ll likely have to do this over and over again for the rest of my life in order to keep God’s gifts holy and beautiful. But the closer I stay to God’s side, the purer His gifts to me will remain. I was never meant to be anyone’s Savior, but to point people to the One who is. I was never meant to boss anyone around, but to humble myself, listen to others’ perspectives and realize that I am certainly not always right. I was never meant to go on a judgement rampage, but to remove the plank from my own eye first (Matthew 7:5).

I recently found myself in situations that involved both public speaking and therapy and, I’ve got to tell you, my heart was ON FIRE. I felt the passion I had stuffed down for so long just burst out of me. I felt excitement, peace, anticipation – things I haven’t felt in a very long time. I was so keenly aware of how natural it was to use the gifts God has given me. I felt as much at home as I’m probably going to feel until eternity… because I was using the eternal gifts God gave me.

It’s fascinating to me that Satan doesn’t always feed us lies that instigate sins that are completely off-the-wall. Instead, he tries so desperately to ruin our God-given ministry by subtly steering us away from our gifts. Think about it. If Satan successfully nudges us to walk away from our gifts, he not only taints our lives but he keeps us from positively influencing others’ lives. Get behind us, Satan! I am excited about rediscovering my gifts and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use them. I don’t feel the guilt attached to them that I once felt because I’ve exposed the distortions for what they are. I can’t wait to see where God takes me when I finally start using my gifts with humility.

So here’s what I want you to do. Think about your most pervasive sins, the character flaws you thought you just had to live with. Ask yourself and God if these sins are just distortions of God’s biggest gifts to you. You may be completely surprised at what God reveals to you and the world will get to experience the gifts you’ve been hiding/denying for so long. Get excited! Enjoy your freedom! God is about to get some major glory!

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