Spiritual Growth and Gifts

I wrote the following as a blog submission for Theophany Media, an online organization connecting the arts to spiritual formation and transformation.  Although this one was not accepted, my second submission was…so stay tuned for that publication!  

I thought I would share this one as a prompt- an invitation to reflect on the gifts God has given you.  If you are so inclined, I would love to hear in the comments how the gifts and skills God has given you have been a tool for your own spiritual formation and growth!  

I’ve never thought of myself as a “creative type.”  Seriously, art is definitely not in my skill set.  If I were ranking my favorite elementary school subjects I would put art near the bottom, just barely eeking out music class.  I’m terrible at decorating.   I’ve also never participated in theater or plays.  I know, I know.  That’s probably painful for many reading this to hear.  But please don’t misunderstand, I greatly admire anyone who has the abilities to draw, paint, create, or act.  I’m just saying those are not my gifts!  And while I may enjoy witnessing the above mentioned arts, I can’t say they have been instrumental in my spiritual formation.  Now, words on the other hand…that’s a different story.

In my mind, there are two things I hold as the highest form of beauty.  The first is the stride of an elegant runner with perfect form and a magnificent turnover.  This truly is an absolute glory to behold!  The second, is a beautifully constructed sentence.   They melt me.  I marvel at a great work of literature in the same manner I do an elite marathoner.  Something about both of these move me in a way I can’t explain.  

Perhaps these things stir my soul because they are a display of the glory of God.  As we are created in His image, any degree of talent or ability we possess if a gift from Him- and this only as a mere reflection of a fraction of His glory.  I am amazed at the ability to run and to write because I know the source of these gifts is God Himself; and knowing this makes me love and adore Him even more.    

As you may have guessed, I am a runner myself.  I began at age 12 and have never stopped.  I’m far from elite, but to borrow the famous words of Eric Liddell, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”  Indeed.  I have not only felt this, but have been formed by this for the past 26 years.  

Although writing is newer to me, it is the only other activity that has ever come close to how I feel spiritually when I run.  When I write about the things of God and His truth, I feel His Spirit move in an unparalleled way.  With both activities, it’s as though I feel most like “me” when I’m doing them; as if I am who God created me to be. 

I know I will never be an Olympic runner or a New York Times Best Seller.  Both of these truths are perfectly fine with me.  I  take great delight in the gifts God has given me in the measures He has chosen to give them; for is through these gifts I have come to know more of Himself.  And by that measure, the gifts He has given me are priceless.   

Published by Nicole Byrum

Hello! I have been a therapist in the community mental health field for the last 13 years. During this time I have worked with numerous women in recovery from substance abuse. It was this work, along with my relationship with Jesus, that inspired me to write my first book, Remade: Living Free. I have found writing to be a joy and it is my aim through this website to continue to share my faith, insights, and hope with my readers. Some fun facts about me: I have been married for 15 years and have 2 children; I love to read, run and cook; Even though I have lived in Ohio for most of my life I am not a fan of cold weather!

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