A shorter post ( I know some heave a sigh of relief) to quickly clarify the semantics… because as is common we use the same terms to cover disparate sections of a broad topic. First, planes of gifting [I know that sounds very odd]:
- the physical plane of talents and proclivities
- the human souls plane of *advanced development
- the spiritual plane of gifts of the Spirit, sourced and managed by God’s Holy Spirit
The three of these are all giftings that are resident in people ( although the third is exclusive to and remains under the oversight of the Holy Spirit- not every one has them, not everyone gets them). The first one I’d say everyone has to some degree or another, but when we speak of gifted individuals we are usually talking about exceptional in some aspect.
*Advanced Development is an idea explained in the book, The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm) by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen. She gives three categories of this as “Humanistic Vision”, “Mandated Mission”, and “Revolutionary Action”. I will probably touch on some of those ideas as this topic progresses. I’m going to use her book as the basis for the semantics as they are found on the secular stage.
To move on…
When you go to a Christian bookstore and buy a book that is supposed to help you identify your gifts, or if you take a test that some churches offer, you are matching up the first two planes of your perceivable giftings and then it is categorized under the third set, the nine named gifts of the Spirit, and sometimes linked with the callings listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28. there is a reason this can work, although it isn’t accurate. The reason I think it can work is because the God who made you does have a ‘Plan’ and the desire to fit you into that plan. the big P being the overall plan of the ages, and the little p being the plan that will fit you into a part of that. Let’s forget that there are those who would argue with me on that… that is another topic. But most will agree that it makes sense that the talents you have in your given abilities, the inner motivations that seem part of your nature, and the spiritual gifts that are given for the purpose of your function in the body of Christ are likely linked through God’s wisdom and foresight. that is why I say those tests and books probably help you discern something of the spiritual gifts… but not always as God always reserves some surprises. Yes, good surprises!
I believe that the reason a book such as Jacobsens’ gets written is due to the fact that people with the first two planes of gifting tend to get very damaged when they are without the nurture and support that is necessary for human beings to develop properly. there are so many reasons for this that we will skip trying to put blame on anyone; there is enough blame for this all around. But Jacobsen does find much is centered in the misunderstanding of the surrounding culture for those who stand out as “different”, and many people who are exceptional in some way, even useful ways, are sometimes unaccepted because they are different in their relationship to the rest of the world…those who aren’t thinking or acting as the uniquely gifted person does. And we all know the cliched perception of “different as bad”.
I know that I cried when first facing and realizing the importance of getting this right for myself. I have been that damaged and that labeled as “bad”. I have internalized it, and use it as part of my “personal brand”. It forces me to go to that “humble place” when I really don’t want to go there! It also underwrites much of my underachievment and self-defeating behaviors. So it isn’t the type of humbling you want, the better part of humble is to produce it from within, not receive the humiliation from without. That is yet another potential post…
I cried because it touched on something I have felt deep within: so much is lost… so much time, so much potential, and I am not anywhere near what I had believed I would have been at this time of life. I cried with some relief, that perhaps I have an answer on what tack to take to recover what I can. The admonition of “redeeming the time” has always been an urgent one in my heart.
And finally, I cried because this is what God has been steadily doing: remaking me, and righting the wrong bends that were formed in my being.
Some people are still stuck in IQ when it comes to thinking about giftedness, but most respected sources of information and research have moved far beyond the initial ideas of IQ testing. Commonly spoken of are “multiple intelligences”.
Some of these have been called
These are further refined by traits such as
You can start to see the way that multiple combinations and levels can combine to produce “genius” in people, of many differing sorts. You can also see how certain gifted people can be overlooked, and unknown as “gifted”, even though they have the personality quirks to go along with it and can suffer the out of sync problems that the gifts can cause.
Jacobsen has a list of Ten Criticisms that illustrate the problems such personalities run into…
have you internalized any of them in your life?
- Why don’t’ you slow down?
- You worry about everything
- Can’t you stick with just one thing?
- You’re so sensitive and dramatic!
- You have to do everything the hard way
- You’re so demanding
- Can’t you ever be satisfied?
- You’re so driven
- Where do you get all those wild ideas?
- Who do you think you are?
I know that last one is one I heard ALOT!
If we viewed people we reacted to through those questions (which we might find ourselves asking them), we may just get a small handle on what it is that they are trying to express from their valid internal makeup of gifts and motivations. We might understand where they are “coming from”, in other words. And if we view ourselves properly we might neutralize the pain those questions can trigger.
consider this “Part One”. I might switch to a podcast during one of these discussions.