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  • Writer's pictureGina Stinson


“You don’t get to decide how God wants to use your gifts.”

My mom spoke these words to me when I was just a teenager, struggling with the idea of becoming our church pianist at just thirteen years old. I was nervous, fear-stricken and young. I had only been taking piano lessons for two years. I felt ill-equipped and challenged. Her words were not welcomed.

I wanted to hear her say, “You’re too young. This is hard. You don’t have to do it.” Those words would have given me permission to turn down the request for help in our small church. Those words made sense. Those words were true. I was young. This would be hard. And I did not want to do it.

But I was not off the hook. Mom knew this would push me to practice harder, to develop my gift and help to build my confidence. But those were the secondary lessons. She also knew I needed to learn to trust God, conquer my nerves and understand that doing hard things was worth the effort.

So instead, she followed her comment with, “Pray about it.”

Ugh. Would God let me off the hook? Would he say, “Sure Gina, you just hoard the gift I gave you. Just ignore the fact that I’ve given you a sound mind to learn and do hard things. You’re right, from the outside this looks way too hard for you. You are too young for such responsibility. What was the music minister even thinking?”

But that’s not God’s way. When he calls us, he equips us. When we surrender to his call, he can do more than we imagine with our efforts.

Are you feeling called to do something that makes you nervous or apprehensive? Sometimes God calls us out of our comfort zones. When that happens, the enemy will whisper all sorts of non-sense into your ear and tempt you to believe his lies. Listen for the voice of truth—the one who sings over you, who equips you and who calls you his own.

On a Sunday in June, nearly 36 years ago, a thirteen-year-old girl sat down on a creaky piano bench to play for her first congregational worship service. Little did I know that was the beginning of years of helping lead others to worship the Lord. Now I can see how God has been sitting right there with me each step of the way. Yes, it took hard work and practice each week. I had to learn to follow the direction of a worship leader. It was difficult, challenging and frightening— but—God used this gift to help me pay for college, to worship, to pay bills, to work from home and to encourage others. I could not even imagine what he would do when I said, “Yes.”

Mom was right.

“You don’t get to decide how God wants to use your gifts.”

Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

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