Protecting Your Gift

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Alright, so listen, I want to jump right into this topic today! We’re going to spend our time together talking about protecting your gifts. As I was developing the content for today, I realized that it’s December, which means its Christmas, which means people are out shopping for gifts, and I promise I did not wake up this morning and say “I hope people” know how to protect their Christmas gifts. Today, we’re going to be focusing on your spiritual gifts, the things that are given us to by God, that we may often try to run from out of fear of being “too great”. It’s best if we first define what a gift is. In a literal term it’s defined as something given to you without the expectation of repayment. But our spiritual gifts are the things that God gives us to add value to our lives, to make things better for not only the world around us, but also the world within us.

This is my second time building the written portion of this episode. I was nearing the end, when I stopped to take a short break and collaborate on some stuff with a friend. When I finished making the edits for him, I closed out Microsoft word, and without taking a second thought when it asked if I wanted to close all screens I hit “yes”. THEN I was ready to get back to my own project, and guess what it was gone!!! I did not practice my own saying from high school, “save early, save often”. I’m not gonna lie for about 12 minutes I was furious with myself. But this episode is about protecting our gifts right! And so, while I was in love with my first draft, and it was packed with some amazing content, my gift is to inspire, to create, to transform.

So, if I did it once, just moments ago, I can bring it back again, so while in my mind I said, “that was good work”, God is setting this episode to be “better”, and with that I began drafting the second take. As you proceed, I want you to consider these words from 2 Timothy 1:6 “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you”. 

What is it and why do I have it?

I brought up some of the gifts that I possess. You may possess one gift or a multitude of gifts. You may be blessed with the gift of compassion, the gift of speech, the gift of prayer, the gift of visions, the gift of hearing (being able to truly hear someone’s heart, mind, and spirit), you may be blessed with the gift of spiritual intuition, or anything that God has created for us to be gifted with. You have to identify your gift, and then begin considering why you have it. God gives us gifts for several of the following reasons: so that we may understand God’s will for our lives, our gifts help us to understand how the Holy Spirits operates through us, our gifts help to know what God HAS NOT called us to do, our gifts help us to not others out of a sense of duty, our gifts help us to be and feel fulfilled, our gifts help us to bring others together, our gifts help to equip for the life we are instructed to live, when we know our gifts we are better able to accept who we are and live a more abundant life. 

This leads me into a discussion about how we train ourselves to better develop, understand, and use our gifts. Your training may require you to read a number of books, it may require you to practice yoga several times a week, it may require you to mediate, it may require you to go into schools or some other academic setting that positions you to be around out inspirational people, it may require you to listen to podcast, read blogs, or watch inspirational YouTube videos, it may require you to work with at-risk youth, it may require you to sing in a choir, or work in a cafeteria. There is no limit to the ways in which you can develop your gift. Why? Because the gifts are uniquely given to the receiver. No one can mimic your gift. They cannot copy your gifts. They can’t deliver a gift for you. You cannot give your gift. Some people spend their lives running from their gifts, terrified of the person the gift will cause them to be. But we’re gonna get into that later. For now, I want you to understand that your gift is meant specifically for you, and God will align you for the spaces, places, and people who will help you to develop that gift. 

Why do lessons come to us?

The next thing I want you to understand is that your gift will require you to learn some lessons along the way. Some of these lessons will be difficult, lonely, frustrating, stressful, and any other emotion you can name. But these lessons are not luggage for you to carry around with hate on your heart. They are not shackles that keep you bound to the past. They are designed to give you momentum. Designed to show you how you’ve grown. How the former you has passed away, and the new you is here to stay. These lessons are designed to nudge you forward. The lesson may come with a detour, a distraction, and a sense of failure. But hear me on this, the devil does not mess with anything that does not have the potential to be valuable. Distractions come to those who are in alignment with their anointing. 

I use the word anointing instead of passion, because your passion is man-made, it is born out of a desire. But the anointing comes from God. You see, your passion might be to teach at a big institution, so you spend all your time focused on fulfilling that passion, but the anointing on your life is to teach. If you spend all your time upset that you’re not at the big institution, you will miss out on the fact that you’re teaching and changing lives for high school students, or Sunday school, or at a community college. You see the anointing is not based on your proximity to riches or status. The anointing is based on your proximity to the calling that God has placed on your life. When you’re out of alignment, things will not work out in your favor. There won’t even be a little sprinkle of blessing. You’ll know when you’re not in alignment with the anointing because your gift will feel and be stifled. As I close out on this point, I want to remind you that the lessons are sent to help us identify our strengths, and to develop upon our weaknesses. 

How to protect your Gifts?

  1. The first step to protect your gift is to identify your gift and learn why you have it. We talked about this extensively already. 
  2. Know that your gift will make room for you. This means that you have to confidently and knowingly walk in the light that your gift will get you wherever it is that you need to be. So many people are afraid of the exposure their gift brings, they’re afraid of the potential consequences of pursuing their gifts, afraid of the potential for failure, and the certainty that things will be uncertain for a period of time. Hear me, all of it will be ok. Your gift will open doors for you that you would never be able to open, even with all of your might. There was a time I used to shrink myself down and dull my gifts as well, even had some people recommend that I downplay my gift in the short-term to obtain a desire. But you cannot downplay your gifts, and anywhere you cannot be your authentic self is a not a place you need to be. God will align you in the spaces, in the places, and with the people who will speak to your gifts. 
  3. You need to determine what your calling requires of your gift. The gift is the vehicle to get you wherever your calling takes you. If the gift is the vehicle, then the calling is the journey. Many times, people are terrified of the journey, because the journey will take them into the wilderness, down roads they’ve never been, into places that make them uncomfortable, and around people whose names they don’t know. Know that all of it is working for your highest good. 
  4. Stand in the authenticity of your gift. You do not want to be just like anyone else, but you do want to be model some of their positive behaviors. I enjoy listening to Eric Thomas, Les Brown, and T.D. Jakes, but I don’t want to be them. First of all, do you know what they had to endure to honor the calling that God placed on their lives? My life has already been hard and challenging enough, why would I want to add on that extra stress. No, I want to see them using their gifts to support the calling God has placed on their lives, and I want to learn and reproduced those positive behaviors that led me to see them as inspirational. This way, other people see my gift, my calling, my anointing, and they’re drawn to me. Not to be just like me, but to learn from me, to find their own sense of discipline and self-worth, and then to continue replicating the process. 
  5. Practice the power of “I AM”. Every day when you rise you have to begin with “I AM”. Build it into your life, get up earlier if you have to, so that you can take 15 minutes to yourself, by yourself, and affirm to yourself that “I AM WORTHY”, “I AM NOT MY PAST”, “I AM STRONGER THAN MY ADDICTION”, “I AM STRONGER THAN MY FEAR”, “I AM CAPABLE OF GETTING THROUGH THIS”. Once you get through “I AM”, you may have to get into “I FORGIVE”, “I FORGIVE MY PAST SELF FOR SHRINKING”, “I FORGIVE THOSE WHO TOOK MY CAPACITY FOR LOVE AND HURT ME”, “I FORGIVE THOSE WHO DID NOT SEE MY GIFTS AND ABUSED ME”, I FORGIVE MYSELF FOR BEING SO NEGATIVE”. I need you to forgive yourself for what you did not know. For what you did know but decided to do it anyway. For the things you did not do that you feel like have held you back. For what you had to give up. After “I FORGIVE” you need to tap into “I LOVE”. “I LOVE MY LIFE”, “I LOVE WHO I’M BECOMING”, “I LOVE FEELING HEALED”, “I LOVE HONORING MYSELF”, “I LOVE MY STORY”.  The unconscious mind is a powerful thing. Even if it hasn’t happened for you yet, just by practicing affirmation and saying, “I AM….”, it causes the unconscious mind to see it as already done! 
  6. On the heels of affirmations, I must remind you to be careful of silently sabotaging yourself. Silent sabotage exists when you make little excuses that speak to your fear of growth, of development, of change, of existing in bigger spaces, of expanding your territory, of gaining more capacity for even bigger blessings. You gift is ready to grow, but you’ve become fearful of the requirement. Of the consequences. Of the cost. Of the time. You might refer to your fear as exhaustion, fatigue, being tired, be anxious, be angry, be depressed, or any other number of things. These things are symptoms of fear and manifest in us when we become stressed. You will have to see yourself as the imperfect person you are. You will have step into your mess and make the needed adjustments. You will have to fall in love with your journey because the secret that no one likes to talk about is that people actually enjoy transparency. People enjoy to authentically be themselves. What happens is that over time they are betrayed, hurt, and their emotional side is beaten so badly that they hide what makes them special. 
  7. You will have to be prepared to do some of this on our own. Maybe a large part of it. You may have to leave your tribe for a bit. This might make you feel like your gift is changing you, guess what, it is! Your gift is making room for you! I cannot deny the overwhelming feeling of leaving all that you know, to go after something that is not promised. There is no definitive knowledge of how it will work out, who you’ll meet along the way, what your journey will be like, or how long it might take to work out. I had spent several years doing great work at my old police department, and when I moved to Florida, I thought I had job lined up. As a matter of fact, I was about a week away from starting when they told me that they were not going to hire me. I immediately said to myself, good Lord what have I done! That small voice that I had stifled when I made the decision to move, was loud and booming.  As I continued to apply places, I kept getting rejection emails. With every e-mail that voice got louder and louder. It always seemed that as I was headed out on a trip out of the country I would get a rejection e-mail, and then I’d have to make a decision, would I let this e-mail ruin my mood, or would I continue to enjoy this new experience. I remember in Dubai when I got a rejection email from Fort Lauderdale PD, we were out having a good time (maybe don’t check those e-mails when you’re out and about), and it was like someone hit me hard in the chest, but I put the phone up, told Jamari I didn’t get the job and kept it moving. I applied to over 30 agencies, and in my last interview I spoke so passionately about my philosophy on policing, and why I had selected this agency that it captivated the room. After nearly 11 months and being on the cusp of giving up, I finally got hired. I tell you this to say that, even those of us who are qualified, have trouble getting in the door at places we are not called to be. Anything that has ever been for me, God has made a way and has made it clear that this was where He called me to be. So even when the lights seem to be off, the road is full of trouble, and your spirit is weary, I’m telling you that if it’s for you and it speaks to your calling, it speaks to your gifts, it speaks to your anointing, you have got to keep after it. Keep chasing it down, because along the way God will give you small wins that will help to renew your strength. 
  8. You will have to make some tough decisions on your own. Sometimes you will have one good decision and one bad decision, those are usually easy ones to make. But there are times when you will be presented with two equally good decisions, and in those moments, you will have to submit to the authority of God and ask to be placed or remain in alignment with the calling over your life. 
  9. Align yourself where you will grow. This means you need to center yourself in a place that will allow you to grow, to nurture your growth, and to release yourself from anything and anyone that is blocks, disrupts, or distracts you from your gift. Be okay with everything that takes to grow your gift exponentially. 
  10. All of it is working for your highest good. Someone will see you on your worst day and be inspired by integrity, by your work ethic, by your drive, by your enthusiasm. You might feel like all your giving is a solid 70%, and that 70% took everything you had in the tank, but to someone on the outside, who might have had one interaction with you, they saw your 70% and felt like it was 110%. They were captivated by your 70% because, they needed whatever it is that you gave them that day. That is the way that gifts work, they are not inherently for us. They are for those that we come into contact with. That is why you have favorite actors, singers, preachers, athletes, friends, teachers, etc. The gifts that they have are not for them, they are for those who are blessed to experience them. So on the days you feel imperfect and are confused as to why God has given you this special gift, whatever it may be, recognize that your gift is meant for someone else to experience, and you never know when you will come across them. 

As I close out this episode I want to remind you that you can follow me on IG, Twitter, and Tiktok at COACHLATHAM_PHD. There are daily affirmations, videos, and other weekly content posted on IG and twitter. 

The blog has been updated as well, which you can find that by visiting my website www.empoweringlifechanges.net you can also use the website to book life coaching sessions, and you can find the link to all of these services and platforms on my IG account. 

I hope that this word has helped you and blessed you in the way that it ministered to my own spirit. Be kind to yourself. 

Sincerely,

Demetrius

Author:

Hello, My name is Demetrius Latham, Jr. I am a life coach, college lecturer, police officer, martial artist, and IRONMAN Finisher. I strive every day to make decisions that will improve my life and the lives of those around me. I have a B.S. in Justice Administration from the Univ. of Louisville, a M.S. in Justice Administration from Cumberland Univ., and a Ph.D. in Justice Administration from Walden Univ.

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