Each and every one of us has been uniquely and creatively gifted to be a vessel through which LOVE is made manifest in our world. In service to this unique giftedness, we have also been blessed with a certain kind of magic which allows these gifts to be used in service to the betterment of the world and in ways that are no less than miraculous. In the Catholic tradition in which I was raised, this magic is referred to as charisms, known in other traditions as spiritual gifts or in the yogic tradition as siddhis. This post continues the conversation from February 17th and will continue the exploration of the spiritual gifts or charisms of Discernment of Spirits, Encouragement and Evangelism.
Discernment of Spirits
The charism of discernment of spirits is not to be confused with discernment in a general sense. Discernment is the responsibility of each and every person to take time to distinguish the voice of God vs. the voice of the ego in seeking guidance for the direction of ones life. Discernment in a general sense is a kind of informed decision making. Discernment of Spirits as a charism is the immediate and intuitive ability to capture the spiritual source of certain behaviors or ideas or to grasp the nature of the spiritual presence in people, places or things (Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, Weddell, 1997, p. 27). Traditionally, it might be thought of being able to detect “the devil in the room,” I think of it more as being able to see the truth beyond the illusion and to hear the truth beyond the words. What distinguished discernment of spirits from being able to “sense” the energy of a space or person is the powerful and immediate way in which this sense is received.
The charism of encouragement is traditionally present within spiritual directors, counselors, psycho-therapists, life-coaches, pastoral ministers. Encouragement allows you to be a channel of God’s love by nurturing others with your presence and words of comfort, encouragement and counsel. Encouragers are more apt to be found working with people one-on-one than in a group and the charism is measured by the results expressed by those receiving your gift of encouragement. I will quote Sherry Weddell (creator of the Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory) in offering affirmation to those who may possess the gift of discernment:
“If you receive strong, continuous feedback that new freedom, well-being, or personal growth is the result of your time (listening, comforting, encouraging, counseling) with others, you may have been given this charism. (1997, p. 28)”
Traditionally, evangelism is thought of as one who is powerfully compelled to share their Christian faith and to invite others to become disciples of Christ. Personally, I tend to believe that this definition of evangelism is too limited. Christians are not the only possessors of the spiritual gifts and these gifts are often used in ways not directly related to the church. Instead, I like to believe that we are all uniquely gifted to reveal God’s love in the world and we often do this through unexpected ways. The hallmark of a charism in this respect is that which helps us to be a channel of God’s love by helping to contribute to the betterment of the world – by whatever means is at our disposal. For the gift of Evangelism, I think of those who are overwhelmingly passionate about something they are involved in and are highly gifted in enthusiastic invitation. I have to use my friends Derek Toshner (with the support of Shannon Toshner) and Melissa Schmidt, all from TNT Fitness Results and TNT Adventure Obstacle Course and AdvoCare representatives, as examples of this charism. Both Derek and Melissa possess the spiritual charism of evangelism and have done so through their mutual business ventures and have produced nothing short of miraculous results in providing enthusiastic invitation and welcome, motivation, encouragement and support for their clients’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and they are all doing so in service to God. If that isn’t evangelism, I don’t know what is!
If you are looking to understand how you are uniquely gifted to find meaning, fulfillment and purpose in your life Lauri Ann Lumby is available for one-on-one mentoring in person, over the phone or via Skype. To schedule an appointment, call (920) 230-1313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.