Taking a test

All throughout school, teachers always said tests were to assess what you knew and what you had learned.  Occasionally teachers also considered tests to be an assessment of how well they had taught.  But an interesting thing I’ve found with some tests I’ve been taking lately is that tests can also tell us what we don’t know….

As I type this post tonight, it is from a hotel room in Billings.  John and I are in Billings to participate in a two-day denominational “Ministry Assessment”.  In preparation for the assessment, we’ve completed the DISC Personal DISCernment Inventory, the Vital Values Assessment and the Leadership Grip – all inventories and assessments designed to get at who God created us to be.

I’ve always considered that I had a pretty good handle on who I was – what my skills and gifts were.  But these assessments have been showing me a new side of myself – one I’m just starting to understand and appreciate.

For example, a spiritual gifts assessment required us to ask three people to evaluate us by choosing words that best describe us from a provided list.  The results suggested my top spiritual gifts are faith and evangelism.  Faith I knew.  I had identified that myself.  But evangelism threw me off.  Immediately my mind pictured someone standing on a sidewalk with a cardboard sign and megaphone shouting about the end of the world….great picture, huh?!  I couldn’t see myself there at all.  But then as I read the description of an evangelist, I began to see myself: has an on-going desire to share the Good News with many people; able to clearly present the message of salvation to non-Christians; understands with passion that God desires all people to be saved.

Suddenly I forgot the guy on the street corner, and I saw myself.  I saw myself speaking weekly at The Bridge.  I saw myself teaching at a women’s retreat.  I saw myself typing daily posts on this blog to encourage, inspire and provide hope to a hurting world.  I saw myself frustrated but hopeful, praying for greater and larger opportunities to share His message through my speaking and writing.  I saw a once calm pond, suddenly overcome with ever-expanding ripples, and me standing at the edge with a handful of pebbles.  I saw myself as an evangelist.

Some tests aren’t necessarily graded.  They’re not to see what we know – but are instead to help us see what we don’t know.  In a matter of just a few moments, this test showed me a side of myself I hadn’t fully come to understand.  What are your spiritual gifts?  Do you know them?  Have you asked others – their insight might give you insights far beyond what you’ll realize on your own.  If you’re like me, you might even walk away with some great encouragement, and new insights.

Who would have thought – me, an evangelist?!