Friend, Is Your Gift Waiting in the Wings?

Our gifts were created to shine a light, but what does that mean exactly?

Nine years ago, Brian and I took a trip to NYC for our 25th anniversary. Neither of us had been to a Broadway play so seeing one topped our list of things to do while visiting the Big Apple.

The Phantom of the Opera did not disappoint, but the play wasn’t the only thing that made this night a memorable one…

Brian joking around earlier that day

Here’s a tip: Avoid wearing high heels when walking the streets of NYC. The locals wear sneakers and carry their fancy shoes for good reason. Not this girl. I trekked through the concrete terrain in painful pumps, continually tugging the heel tips from sidewalk cracks all along the way. My poor mother’s back.

Finally arriving at the theater, I was beyond relieved to plop down in my cushy seat and give my tootsies a much-needed rest.

But that was shortlived…

Seems we were in the right seat numbers but the wrong row. The rightful seat claimers showed up and promptly produced their tickets to the seats where our behinds were firmly planted.  After apologizing profusely, we looked left and right across the wrong row. Seats were filling up, and maneuvering to the side aisles would mean stepping on a few dozen toes in either direction.

So what does my husband do?

He steps over the seat to the row behind us, our assigned row, and lifts me over. This may sound romantic and all, but believe me when I say this, girlfriend, it wasn’t near as graceful as that famous lift scene in Dirty Dancing. Baby wanted to run and hide in the corner.

Besides fearing a wardrobe malfunction, my fear of heights kicked in because the theater sloped downward like a ski run in Aspen. I could picture myself crowd-surfing or rather crowd-tumbling across heads on my way down to the final crash scene center-stage.

Thankfully that did not happen and after laughing like a couple of hyenas, we were able to settle into our assigned seats and enjoy the play.

God has already designed plans for us and when we miss seeking His direction we wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time and things just don’t feel right, right? Being out of step with God won’t allow us to settle into where we are supposed to be.

How do we keep in-step with God?

We do that SOAP thing. We dig into Scripture, Observe what is happening in the passage, Apply the truth to our lives, and Pray using the scripture verses. Then we pray some more, because, girlfriend, we need lots of prayer.

Pray without ceasing means we keep God in the forefront of our minds 24-7 and commune with Him throughout the day. We don’t have to stay in our prayer closet all day long to talk with God. He is with us everywhere.

When You Long for the Gifts She Has and to Do What She Does

You know that woman you admire? The one who is where you hoped to be by now? Keep the faith, Sister, because as we prayerfully seek God’s direction, we find ourselves right where we are supposed to be, and as the Word says in Esther, at such a time as this.

Truth is when we wish we had someone else’s gifts or that we were walking in someone else’s pumps, we will never feel settled. When we try to squish a gift we do not have into our plans, it’s like one of those crazy stepsisters trying to cram their foot into the glass slipper. We all know how that went.

Think of an understudy. She tries out for the leading role in a play, but because someone else was chosen for the part, she spends the life of that play waiting in the wings for the leading lady to literally break-a-leg. Okay, maybe just catch a cold, but that seems so wrong, doesn’t it?

Because what does an understudy truly hope for?

A chance to step into the role she thinks she was meant to play.


Perhaps she secretly hopes she will never have to step in because fading into the background is where she’d rather be.

After all, she wasn’t the first choice anyway.

But maybe she wasn’t chosen for that part because that was not her part to play.

I once tried out for the lead in The Taming of the Shrew in junior high. I didn’t get the part but I was so sure I should have. I never tried out for another play again. I just gave up and possibly missed a better role because of the disappointment of not getting what I thought was right for me.

Disappointment can sting like a bee, friend. But fear of shining, fear of failing, fear of succeeding–all that and more will keep our gifts waiting in the wings where they cannot be effective. Just like the understudy who may underestimate her God-given potential, we may shrink back like a wallflower when deep down we already know our lines well.

The tug on our hearts to help, serve, encourage, teach, pray…

Ignoring it will not make it go away when our gift is waiting to bloom.

Here’s some real-life, in-your-face encouragement:

You need not fear shining too brightly because that light you shine illuminates Jesus in you. Others need to see it and they need to know Him. It’s not us on center-stage, it’s us using our gifts to point others to Christ. No matter where the Lord has you serving, whether center-stage or backstage, our gift is meant to make an impact and shine.

Even if we crowd-tumble onto center stage we can be assured it’s our gifts, our love, and our faith that bring meaning to the roles we play in life.

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

Maybe It’s More About Fitting Our Gifts Into Where We Are Now

What’s your gift, friend?

Maybe you’re in a place where you feel stagnant, underutilized, limited. Sometimes we need to serve in a role where we can learn and grow which falls outside the comfortable fit of our gifts. Maybe we need to squeeze into a role that doesn’t quite fit in order to reach the places where God is leading us to.

I will admit I do not have the gift of administration, yet I am working in administration at my church. But just because that is my main job does not mean it is my only job. I have the opportunity to pray for hurting people who walk through those doors every day. I have the opportunity to counsel and encourage because the world is a broken place. I can’t fix things but I know the One who can. My top gift is exhortation and encouragement and I can use that in any role I fill.

Whether you work at home or outside the home, look for opportunities to use your gifts even in places where they may not seem to fit.

Is your gift hospitality? Exhortation? Mercy? Giving?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

We can use our gifts in the most unlikely settings and we do not need to wait for a curtain call. We do not need to wait for a director to call us to center stage because Jesus opens doors to divine appointments and the Holy Spirit prompts us to reach others and make an impact.

Your gifts matter in this world. You matter in this world because you matter to God.

If what you do daily is not tailored for your specific gift, tailor what you do to match your gift. When you are in Christ you have at least one spiritual gift. Do not believe the lie you have nothing to offer the world. If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.

For more encouragement on this subject check out Billy Graham’s site.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

How are you currently using your God-given gift to impact the world, friend?

How can I encourage you today?

Peace & Joy,





  1. daniebothawriter

    The entire post was an encouragement. Thank you!
    I am quite impressed by that hubby of yours—lifting you over the seats in the theatre. Come on: how many ladies folk can claim that happened to them?!
    Yes, we all have gifts.
    Often a willing ear, a listening heart, a non-judgemental embrace, can make all the difference!

    • Doris S. Swift

      Thank you, Daniel! You’re right, not many women can say their hubby lifted them over theater seats lol. I love the wonderful and beautiful attributes you named. Sometimes we try to complicate things when all someone may need is for us to be present and listen. Blessings to you, friend!

  2. Tiffany Locke

    Great post, Doris! I could really relate to what you said about not waiting in the wings because of fear. I felt encouraged!

    • Doris S. Swift

      Hi Tiff! So glad this encouraged you! Fear can hold us back from doing what God calls us to do, but we can fight back, overcome with the Lord’s help, and fulfill our calling. So blessed to have a friend with a heart for reaching women. Love to you!

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