Do you know how you are hardwired? Are you aware of your unique, God-given gifts and talents? Encouragement, Administration, Hospitality, Leadership, etc….???

In the fall of 2012 I first learned about a neighborhood in Oakland. Our church was working with them to host a Harvest Party in their apartment community to serve the residents and the kids and they were in need of resources, including costumes. I decided to do a costume drive to help them out and collected gently-loved costumes from all over my community. The love shown and the desire to help was palpable. It turned out to be a really fun event and seeing the little kids so proud of their costumes and having so much fun stirred something in me.

A book I read in that same season, The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett, helped me understand why. His premise is that each of us were given unique talents and gifts for the PURPOSE of serving others. Each of our challenge is to better understand how we were hardwired and then find the people we are called to SERVE. When we connect the two, that is where JOY is found. It’s not by accident. It’s how we were created. In the words of Barnett, “We get to serve.”

Spurred on by this new understanding, that school year I helped to co-lead a womens group in my home where we talked about these ideas. For several months we talked about how busy our lives were and how our schedules were filled with things we did out of obligation, not out of passion or a real heart connection. Just keeping it real, for me that was volunteering in the boys’ classrooms. I despised it and yet I always felt guilt if I didn’t do it. I loved to serve in other ways – as the team mom, fieldtrip driver, etc. but cutting paper in the classroom was not my thing. Thank you to all the classroom volunteers who love it. We need each other!

In that season we gave each other permission to say NO to all the things. In fact, each month we encouraged people to quit some of those things. It was liberating. It freed up time. And then it gave us an opportunity to explore our talents. To better understand our own hardwiring. And then to seek out opportunities to serve that connected our unique gifts.

Friends, I can’t help but believe at a deep level that we are all in this place right now. In this case the quarantine has caused all of us to stop doing all the things. We’ve freed up hours commuting, working out at home, not attending all the sports events and not even watching all the sports on TV. Our circumstances are all different but most of us have slowed down in some ways.


When the world reopens, how will you fill your time back up? Will you go right back from 0 to 100 to where you left off? Or will you be more intentional about filling those hours back up?

Despite the hardships many are facing, I believe we have also been given a gift in this slow down. Whether it’s the time to read, to research, to learn, or to connect with others (in new and creative ways), we have a little room to stop. And to breathe. And to assess what we want to do next. We have some room to dream.

“The timing will never be perfect for you to pursue your dream, so you might as well start now.” John Maxwell. In his book Putting Your Dream to the Test, he reminds us to “love what you do and do what you love.” If you connect your gifts with your service, you will find JOY.

Does this resonate with you?

Message me or give me a shout out below. I’d love to chat. This is one of my favorite topics!