when I was in high school (oh man. feelin old.), our youth pastor had us take those spiritual gifts tests. you know, you plug in a bunch of answers about yourself onto a computer or sheet of paper (“I strongly agree that I am an empathetic human being… hmm, maybe I just agree.”) and eventually it spits out some sort of conclusion about what role you play in the church. I loved these things.
of course there was always the one guy who was like “I’m a freakin prophet.”, and you were like yeah, okay kid, calm down, and, it’s not a competition.
but it kind of was competition, because I kinda really liked saying, “yes, I’m a mercy-giving, encouraging teacher” (insert big, sweet smile here)… evidently I didn’t score too high on humility, eh?
and it was true! I am quick to give mercy, I’m nonjudgmental and would rather understand someone than punish them. I am encouraging. telling people how much I love them and how wonderful they are to me is practically a pastime. I am a good teacher, and I flourish when I’m teaching and leading a small group.
and I liked that it made me a leader and that people looked up to me for it.
as I got a little more mature, I gained a little more humility (good heavens), and began to appreciate that it was simply the set of gifts I was given, and I could enjoy them without silently gloating about them.
and then I got married.
to an evangelizing, serving, shepherd. um.
let’s get one thing clear. I will sit down with you at your absolute worst and dry your tears and deal with your gritty, real life-mess, but if you ask me to help clean someone’s house, I will probably feel like I’m going to die. Sure, I’ll make a dinner for someone in need or throw all the paper dishes in the trash after a youth event (maybe I just have a thing for food?), but I am not a servant by heart. and I have always been okay with that because I have other gifts. I’m a mercy-giving, encouraging, teacher… remember?
my husband is a servant.
good gracious, is there anything more humiliating?
I still don’t react well when he gets up before me and does all the dishes. or when he cleans the whole (270 square foot) house when I’m at work. or when he… you know… serves.
I’m still trying to get over the feeling that I’m not a good wife because I’m not as much of a servant as he is, or the feeling that I should be more or do more… and trying to accept the fact that J serves me because he loves me- just as Christ served me because He loves me– and know that God created me with my gifting to know how to love J in a way that will make him realize more of the full extent of Christ’s love.
to know that part of the reason God created me was for a bible college student from southern maryland to be taught the fresh air of God’s encouragement, and to taste the extent of the mercy and grace of God through human hands.
and part of the reason God created J was for an anxiety-prone pastor’s daughter to be taught the tenderness of the service of the God-Man, Jesus, and to be shook by the boldness of a beating heart after His own.
The merciful, encouraging part of me looks more like Jesus than the merciful, encouraging part of J.
The serving, evangelizing part of J looks more like Jesus than the serving, evangelizing part of me.
and guess what.
that’s why we got married.
that’s what marriage is for.