That’s Not My Gift!

Table decoration

“I’d love to help you,” I offered, “but that’s not really my gift. I know you’ll find a better person for the job.”

The poor soul asked me to serve on the decoration committee for an event at my kids’ school. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m not someone you’d EVER ask to decorate anything.


I am as left-brained as they come and have a scant measure of crafty creativity. If it weren’t for Pinterest, I wouldn’t even know what raffia was or why anyone would ever need such a thing.

But I do understand SEO and html coding, which causes most of my friends to break out in hives.

I’m constantly amazed at how differently God wired each of us. I’m also amazed that, along with those natural talents and abilities, He grants each of us spiritual gifts for the building up of the Church (Ephesians 4:7-16).

1 Peter 4:10, God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you.

When it came to my spiritual gifts, I didn’t always “manage them well.”

As a younger adult I agreed to serve in a host of capacities, many of which I was ill-equipped to perform. It frustrated me and the over-commitment eventually led to burnout. So, I learned to say “no.”

Because I’m southerner and a first-born people pleaser, I thought I needed to qualify my response. Adding an explanatory “that’s not my gift” seemed sweeter. And perhaps a little godlier.

After all, we are all parts of the Body and have different gifts. I knew what mine were and wanted to work in those areas. I also didn’t want to step into a position that kept someone else from working in his/her area.

I learned the gracious art of saying “no,” especially when someone asked me to serve outside of my comfort zone. The problem? I said “no” a LOT, and most of my “no’s” were knee-jerk reactions. I’m embarrassed to admit I rarely prayed over those decisions.

One day a friend was in a bind and needed some last-minute help decorating tables for an event. In her desperation, she turned to ME. As I dutifully followed her instructions, I made an interesting discovery:

I enjoyed decorating tables!

Table decoration

I had fun chatting with the other volunteers and meeting new friends. I learned some basic table-scaping elements, including some uses for raffia!

I also learned that God could work through my lack of talent. I might not have had the creativity, but I could follow instructions and have a cheerful attitude. I certainly didn’t have the skill so He put people in my path that could teach me. I know He cultivated patience in me as I worked through frustrations and found joy in learning something new.

I doubt I’ll ever be asked to chair a decorating committee. But now when I’m asked to serve in an area outside of my giftedness, I’m not so quick to say “no.”

Everyone has spiritual gifts. Click to take a spiritual gift analysis.

Susan Stilwell

Susan Stilwell consults, writes and speaks on a variety of topics. Her clients appreciate her technical expertise and attention to detail on their websites, projects, and social media strategies. Technical "how-tos" are Susan's favorite articles to write. You can find her working as a blog designer and contributing writer at Fistbump Media. Susan also serves as a hospital chaplain associate and is a voracious scripture memorizer. She's a conference speaker and passionate expositor of God’s Word, and active on Twitter, Facebook, and

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  1. Great article Susan! You never know when God might be giving you a spiritual gift! I’m always torn about the word “no” and don’t use it very well myself.

  2. Yet another great post, Susan! Our sermon touched on this subject today so maybe I need this reminder more than first realized. But just for the record, your many gifts still make me break out in hives. 🙂

    1. Oh Cathy, mercy — hand me a hot glue gun and watch ME break out in hives! One of the perks of aging is that you figure out how to avoid hive-inducing situations 😉

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