This is the first in a series of guest blog posts (contributed by some of my favorite people) answering the question: What gifts has God given you in 2021?
Today’s post is courtesy of my friend and former college student, Crystal Jolly. Thank you, Crystal!
Spiritual gifts are outlined in the Bible clearly, and I feel God has given me these gifts in circumstances when I needed them, but I wanted to share with you how God has blessed me.
My spiritual life is something I try to exercise. I study, I pray, and I listen for God’s voice, but there were aspects of my life that I just needed God to touch. Parts of my life that I had buried so deep I had not even thought to pray about. There were parts of my life God just needed to heal.
Perspective. I feel like I have gained perspective this year. I learned a long-time ago that some clichés are absolute truths. “Life isn’t fair.” In my case it was not fair, equitable, and in some instances, it was unconscionable. In the past I have joked that my life was “a series of unfortunate events.” I had a chip on my shoulder; if sarcasm could be a language, I was fluent. I made jokes about things that hurt, I re-wired my emotions, and I laughed at painful things. I still laugh when I am angry or hurt. Not the same laugh as when something is truly funny. When I hear myself do it, I am almost afraid of the person I was. I did not allow myself to feel things that were uncomfortable. I was numb.
Today, I feel. Some of my past hurts, and I am aware of how wrong some events were. At the same time, I am grateful for the lack of justice. Hindsight is 20/20 or whatever cliché fits this instance best. I might even dare to compare my life to Joseph’s in the Bible (Genesis 37). Nothing that happened to Joseph was fair or right, but he managed through it, and in the end that injustice delivered him and his family. I do not believe I am close to the end of my story, but I believe I have gained perspective on it, and I am grateful for it. I will be able to close certain chapters of my life with some peace.
Peace is another gift I was given in 2021. I no longer feel the need to rage or fuss when something is wrong. I am now able to just let it be, and for that I am incredibly grateful. My mind is now a quiet and peaceful place.
Provision. I do not mean just financial but emotional, friends, solace, companionship, all the things that I need, just when I need them. The best part about letting go of your impression of being in control and just allowing God’s will is that there are far fewer hiccups in life. Acceptance of help, recognizing good advice instead of assuming the person delivering the advice is trying to control or manipulate, just letting my guard down and allowing people to show me who they are instead of assigning them labels or roles. Just allowing myself to experience life a little more organically without anticipating the next “dreadful thing” that might happen or trying to protect myself by not participating or not allowing people to get too close. It has been a long journey for me, full of tears and “why God?” and it was not easy, but I am here to testify; keep praying, but listen, too. God’s voice is the whisper in the wind, not the earthquake around you.
If I wanted to share anything at all with the world at large it would be to trust God, talk to HIM every day, and then listen. Before you know it you have your own faith and relationship with God; and that is how you gain peace, prospective and provision.