Tuesday, June 3, 2014


As a storyteller, I love the back story.
What makes people tick.
How they got to where they are.
I love to ask questions and analyze.

  So, I have always loved personality tests and giftings tests. I hate test taking, but these tests I can get on board with. When I was young it was animal test which would come out with a lion, golden retriever, beaver....etc. Later it became the people oriented vs task oriented, invtorvet vs extrovert. I love birth order theories too....so fascinating. In my adult years I have taken a handful of spiritual gifts test at several places on different occasions. The outcomes have been the same. And the outcome of those tests have left me feeling...Divergent.

And while I say that to make all my fellow Divergent fans laugh and do a silent fist pump, there's some truth to that reference. 

In the book Divergent, Tris "fails" the exam because she doesn't react the way that she is expected to. (If you're lost already, just go read it and come back) The way that they react to the exam, labels them as one thing. The test determines who they should be, what they are allowed to do and who their people are. But Tris is not what she is expected to be therefore she is Divergent and subsequently dangerous. 

Everytime I get to the end of my spiritual gifts test, I always think, "I bet girls aren't supposed to get this for the outcome." For as long as I can remember my spiritual gifts test has always been some combination of prophecy, discernment and something else (prayer or faith). Growing up in a Southern Baptist culture left me feeling like I'd somehow done the test wrong.  It would have been more "appropriate " for me to have a hospitality gift or mercy gift or helps gift...but what can a girl possibly do with a prophecy gifting in a southern baptist culture. Nothing. 

I find myself at a juncture where I feel ready to embrace that in my life, live into what he says I should be.  He designed me this way for "good works which He prepared for us in advance. Eph 2:10"  The problem is that I never had someone who was willing to think outside the box a little and see this in my life and teach me to hone it, to own it and to learn what God says about it, instead of seeing it as a negative trait or being threatened by it. A friend even once told me that I needed to go to a more charismatic church that would "cater" to these gifts more. I don't believe this is the answer folks. God didn't make me this way so that I could find a place that caters to me. Nor am I supposed to change every ounce of who I am and pretend to act more like her over there. What if this is not su much a me problem but a church problem?

I've also learned a lot about women in the bible and how Jesus felt about the women that followed him, which is another post for another time. But the things is, I don't want to take my cue from an organization, I don't want to box myself in by what man (spiritual or secular) says I "should" be. I want God to define the terms of my discipleship. I want to take my cues from the Word. Not everyone has to be a soft talker or a Billy Graham, not everyone has to be mother Teresa or Joan of Arc, not everyone will be a public speaker or a caretaker of the elderly. It takes all kinds and all kinds are needed.

There's a great line in the book Divergent where Four says that he doesn't just want to be one thing, but wants to be kind, selfless, brave, wise and honest.
And it's true, though I know that God specifically wrote my DNA to be an unlikely bent of prophecy , I want to be a lot more of those things on that list. And just like the fruits of the spirit, I think that there are seasons in life where God gives us new gifts when we need them. I'm not the most compassionate and merciful person, but as a foster mom, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has given me His compassion for lil miss, His love for mercy....these are not my natural bent. But they are gifts from him. And it's entirely possible that while some expressions of God in me seem to come more instictual- they others are not to be cast aside as if I don't need them- but they are vital expressions of himself in my and in the church that need cultivating.

So call it Divergent, don't call it divergent...whatever.
The bottom line is, I want to be the best version of who God designed me to be. That means that no earthly man can tell me what that is. The same goes for you, even if you're a strange mixture of lioness-people oriented-introvert-dauntless....God made you that way you are and somehow you fit perfectly into His Kingdom. He drew up the plans, he pitched the vision, he is the creator, the author, the perfector, and he's got ideas just for you. And me. We are all needed.
We've just got to be brave enough to ask him.

(This post is in no way a paid blurb for the book Divergent, though if Veronica Roth calls and wants to do lunch...well then...)

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