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Last year Asher (my second son), competed for the first time on his gymnastics team. He was super proud of all of the things he was able to do that other humans were incapable of doing. For example: one afternoon I was waiting in the car line to pick the boys up from school. As I slowly creep forward in the line I notice my boys waiting for me at their little safety cone, but I notice Asher wasn't standing, he was in a full blown middle split. MIDDLE. SPLIT. Just chillin with his chin resting on his hands. Brayden (my youngest son) was HORRIFIED and he had his hands crossed over his chest standing a good 6 feet away because he didn't want to have to claim Asher as his sibling. Roughly 7 cars had to drive past this circus trick before I pulled up to the cone and they got in the car, I'm not gonna lie, I was embarrassed to. Thoughts like, "what are these people thinking about him" "why doesn't he know this isn't acceptable social behavior" "how do I excuse this" were all playing in my head (I know, it's a ridiculous thing to be embarrassed by but I'm human). He got in the car and I said, "hey buddy, your SUPER flexible but we maybe don't want to do the splits in carline just in case someone drives up on the curb and doesn't see you and hits you."

What I LOVE about this moment, now that we are almost a year past, Asher never once apologized to ANYONE for being proud of what he could do or for what he was gifted in. At what point in our lives do we begin to make excuses for what God has naturally gifted us and wired us to do? We apologize and downplay the part we are meant to play in this generation and because of this we are really withholding forward movement in bringing Heaven to Earth. We also do a huge disservice to humanity by making some gifts "more important" than others. We will highlight the ones that bring applause and draw crowds as the ones that "really matter to God" and we neglect the gifts that receive ZERO praise or applause and few even know exist. This is an unfortunate side effect of our "fame culture" where everyone wants to be famous, but this ends up making us ineffective because we aren't playing OUR personal part in God's story.

Can we all agree to just be ok with being gifted and wired in the things GOD has called us to do? And just own it without making excuses as to why you ARE good at that thing? And don't apologize for NOT being gifted at other things because someone else is. We have created a culture of mimics and have very few originals because we are all trying to recreate what "worked" for someone else. I'm a fan of not reinventing the wheel when it comes to certain things but I also recognize God has UNIQUELY wired me to reach who He has called me to reach in a way that hasn't been done before. I have had people compare me to other women speakers, saying things like, "you are the next so and so" "you are a mini so and so" and I understand we all do that but God very early on said to me, "I need you to be Raema. The world doesn't need another so and so, the world needs YOU and what I have created YOU to do and how I have created you to do it." You see, when we try to be someone else we are capping God's ability to work in and through us the way He wants to. He doesn't need duplicates when He has made an original, then He broke the mold.

I can tell you right now I am not gifted in spelling, when I write books I PAY someone who is gifted in that area to proof read my stuff. I am not gifted in singing, although I wish I was. I am not gifted in math, so don't ask me add, subtract or do any of those other mathy things. I am not gifted in all in any capacity (ask my husband who is a walking computer, He gets migraines when he has to explain technology to me). I am not gifted in meeting new people, I get awkward and ask inappropriate questions. I am not gifted in remembering people's names (but I CAN remember every detail of your story and the things you said you care about). I shouldn't be trusted with a scalpel, I can barely put a band aid on correctly. HOWEVER, I do know what I am gifted and wired to do and I REFUSE to apologize for it: I am funny, I am an encourager, I can write and preach, I can tell stories, I can bake bread and cook, I am creative, I can project manage like a boss, I can lead people, I can pray, I remember details and I can raise kids (just mine though, I don't want to raise yours lol).

I recently said to a friend that I LOVE watching people do what they have been designed to do. It makes the hairs on my arms stand up because you are watching them do the thing they have been created to do, and it's beautiful to watch. I don't get jealous either when they can do it and I can't because that's a gift God gave to all of us through that person. When we don't step into our callings we are withholding a gift God wants to bless others with, through us. If you are called to be a chef, a stay at home mom, a counselor, an electrician, a mechanic, a secretary or admin, an accountant, a model, author, pastor, speaker, singer or whatever, BE that 100% without apology. The world is waiting for us to step into who we have been designed to be. But here's the thing, these gifts aren't for US, they are to bring glory to God. So don't get crazy and think for one second any applause we get or any crowds that come are for us because they aren't. They are for God and God alone. We are mere vessels for Him to reach His children through.

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 in the Message Bible explains it this way, "I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance."

You may have gifts that keep you from any type of "spotlight" but I want you to know the role you play is significant and you are definitely in God's spotlight because you chose YOU to do that one thing. Our focus should never be to gets mans approval or applause, it should be for God's glory. You matter, what you have to offer is important and I know God is waiting for His kids to break new ground, invent new things, sing new songs, write new books, raise a generation of new thinkers, create new things. Be unapologetic about who YOU have been created to be!

**Obviously there is a line where you are bragging about how awesome you are, don't be that guy. Just be awesome at it without always telling people you are awesome, we want to see results from your awesomeness.

1. What are you gifted in?

2. What areas are you trying to be someone you aren't? How do you feel when you aren't as "successful"?

3. In the role you currently play, how can you be God's vessel to those around you?

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