As lay ecclesial ministers, we often are helping other people use their gifts and talents in ministry, but, we may not always take the time to reflect on how we are utilizing what God has given us to serve him and others, both now and in the future. Serving God and others requires us to use our natural talents, our charisms, and all of who we are.
As missionary disciples, it is important that we devote time to discover or rediscover our God-given gifts and talents. Time dedicated in prayer is time well spent! Ask the Holy Spirit for the ability to identify and embrace the gifts and talents that you have been given, and ask God how best to serve Him.
Consider some of these questions in prayer:
Do I recognize what my own gifts and talents are? What seems to come very naturally to me? What do I excel in? Which talents naturally light me up and energize me?
Have I asked my family and friends if they can help me identify or recognize my gifts? Have I noticed if people frequently come to me with positive feedback based on my interaction with them?
How am I developing my gifts and talents? Do I have regular opportunities to use them? How am I using them in service to the Church and others?
Our gifts and talents can be refined over time. Depending on life circumstances, some may be more pronounced or utilized. You may reflect on what you know you enjoy, or on what surprisingly gives you energy. Consider using a tool like Living Your Strengths or checking out resources from the Catherine of Siena Institute or Via Maria Consulting.
As you spend time reflecting and discerning, it can be helpful to connect with a trusted friend, spiritual director, or with a small group. These sources can help affirm where you see your talents and gifts being used or may bring to light something within you that you may not have seen as a gift.
While we often take the time to affirm and help others grow in their gifts, it is just as important to nourish and grow in our own gifts and talents. As Unleash the Gospel reminds us, “we cannot give what we do not have.” ( Guidepost 1 ) Sometimes this might mean going on a retreat, diving into resources and books, or taking lessons. You can find many resources in the SPARK knowledgebase , on the learning platform , or through resources on FORMED.
Each of us plays a role in bringing our churches to life! We are created and called to be a light to the world and to our parishes in our own unique ways. Utilizing your gifts and talents with a specific ministry path will be both life-giving to yourself and those you serve.