Give the Gift That Keeps Giving, by Shirley Desmond Jackson
Ever since the time of the Magi at the birth of Christ, gift-giving lies at the center of the Christmas season.
In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, my coworkers recently agreed to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange. As I completed my interest survey, one item proved problematic:
List something you need, but rarely buy for yourself.
I left the box blank. I honestly struggled to think of even one thing I need, but never purchase. Finally, I realized one area in which I hesitate to spend money: investing in myself.
This year, I chose to change my outlook. When asked the inevitable question, What do you want for Christmas, I had a thoughtful answer ready. I asked for opportunities to invest in my writing and teaching ministry.
At first, I struggled with this concept. Honestly, it felt a bit self-indulgent. But my perspective changed as I studied the following Scripture:
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)
God excels in the business of gifting. In addition to giving us the gift of salvation through the birth of His Son, He endows each of us with personal gifts or talents. Those of us with the gift of writing are asked to use it to serve others, as stewards of His grace.
But when I first felt called to write, doubts filled my heart and mind. Did I hear the Lord correctly? Does He really need my voice? Especially with so many other gifted writers in the world?
As the promptings to write persisted, I knew I needed to obey. But other questions soon crowded my mind. Where do I start? What genres of writing should I pursue? How do I find an audience?
My experience taught me a simple truth. To be most effective, writing — like any other talent — must be trained and honed. Such training demands an investment.
My investment took the following paths:
- Joining COMPEL (July 2016).
- Hiring a web designer to create a brand for my blog website (March 2019).
- Attending the She Speaks Conference (July 2019).
- Purchasing personal coaching sessions for launching a speaking ministry (November 2019).
My investment yielded the following fruit:
- Mutual encouragement through a community of writers.
- Creation of my blog (December 2017).
- Publication of my devotion by Proverbs 31 Ministries (April 2018).
- Invitation to write a guest blog post for Job de Cœur (May 2019).
- Presentation of my first book proposal at She Speaks (July 2019).
Over the last three and a half years, I discovered investing in my gift isn’t about me at all.
Investing in my writing centers on maturing the gift He gave me. When I do, He blesses others through the words He leads me to write.
This holiday season, invest in your gift. As you do, it will become a gift that keeps giving.
If you are a writer and would love to be a part of COMPEL Training and begin earnestly pursuing your call to write in 2020, or if you know a writer who would be encouraged to have someone invest in their call to write, consider giving or receiving a COMPEL Training Gift Certificate for Christmas! They can be purchased in five different increments, and beautiful gift certificates are provided for download to give to the recipient. For more information or to purchase a gift membership, click the button below.
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Shirley, thank you for the inspiration. I love the thought of being “faithful stewards of God’s grace”! Your leadership in the bible study group challenges me to really think about why and how to do this right! I appreciate that so much.
Thank you Mysty! I appreciate how you share your insights with our group!
Shirley. As always, God’s words through aided me on my journey. This is a sweet reminder to not only guard our gifts from God, but invest in them. Blessings to you on your journey, my friend!
Thank you Charla! I always appreciate your encouragement.
Such a wise perspective, Shirley. Your writing both teaches and encourages!
Thank you Susan! I appreciate your feedback.
I would love to learn more about Compel.
James, I just saw this. I will forward you some information.