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Jill Simons talked with Janie Gibson, a devoted listener of our podcast and a professional transitioning from therapy to life coaching. Janie shares her journey and the impact of her charism of encouragement. This blog highlights her experiences and provides valuable insights into recognizing and valuing charisms in our lives.

Understanding the Charism of Encouragement

Janie Gibson’s experience with the charism of encouragement is a testament to how this spiritual gift can often go under the radar. As Jill explains, charisms are spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit, intended to build the church and help individuals discern their unique contributions. Encouragement, in particular, is about recognizing and affirming the good in others, and helping them to see their potential and succeed.

Janie’s Journey to Recognizing Her Charism

Janie recounts how she felt an innate pull to encourage others from a young age. This natural inclination to uplift and cheer others on has been a consistent theme in her life, even before she was aware of the term “charism.” Transitioning from a career in therapy to life coaching, Janie has found new ways to harness this gift. “I have a tendency to even encourage people I don’t know that well,” she shares, indicating her persistent urge to support and motivate those around her.

Encouragement as a Primary Charism

Janie identifies encouragement as her primary charism, noting that it is a gift she operates out of regularly. She also mentions another charism, knowledge, which plays a more behind-the-scenes role, informing her actions and decisions. This combination allows her to provide informed and effective support to those she coaches.

The Importance of Encouragement in Growth and Healing

“I think we live in a culture that is very discouraging. We hear a lot of people complaining,” Janie observes. She believes her role is to counteract this negativity by fostering a positive environment where people feel appreciated and motivated. Encouragement helps people recognize their worth and potential, making it easier for them to take steps toward their goals.

Transitioning to Life Coaching

Janie’s decision to move from therapy to life coaching is rooted in her desire to help people flourish. While therapy often focuses on healing past wounds and achieving mental health, life coaching aims to take individuals from a place of stability to one of thriving and excellence. This new path allows her to integrate her faith more openly and creatively into her work, providing holistic support to her clients.

Final Words of Encouragement

Towards the end of the episode, Janie shares a powerful message for those who might be struggling to recognize their charisms or feel underutilized by God. “Everybody has something important to offer,” she assures. Believing in one’s inherent value and gifts is the first step towards realizing their potential and making meaningful contributions to the community.

Janie Gibson’s journey underscores the transformative power of encouragement and the importance of recognizing and nurturing our charisms. By remaining open to the Holy Spirit and willing to explore new avenues, we can use our gifts to build a stronger, more supportive church community. For more information on discerning your own charisms, visit Many Parts Ministries and start your journey today. You can find Janie on Instagram @janiegibsonlpc.

Jill Simons:
Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries, where we equip the body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the church. Let’s dive in. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Charisms for Catholics. I’m so excited to be here with you today because we get to talk to someone, not Theresa. I know we’ve been doing our series with Theresa the last several episodes, but we have another person with us today. Her name is Janie Gibson, and she is one of our listeners, one of our followers just like you that really felt the call to reach out about sharing about her encouragement charism when we had the call a couple of months ago for people to share their stories.

Jill Simons:
And so I’m very excited to talk with Janie and to share her story with you. And the goal of these episodes, more than anything, when we’re bringing people in to share about their experience of their charisms, is for you to be able to hear either a kindred spirit, if this is one of your charisms, and really recognize the same gifting in yourself, or for you to just grow in your ability to value the charisms of other people. So maybe encouragement, which we’re gonna talk about here today, isn’t one of your charisms. That’s fine. This can just help you deepen your understanding of how encouragement builds the church and give you some greater, urgency around calling this out in other people that might have a story similar to Janie’s that you are witnessing and you’re experiencing their gift of encouragement. Because as we’re gonna hear today, encouragement, like so many of them, can go under the radar for a long time because it really is something that the person doing it will know that they’re doing the action of encouraging, but they’re not knowing how that’s affecting people and what kind of fruit that’s having in people unless it’s being shared with them. So I’m so excited to talk with Janie today. She’s been working as a therapist historically and is making a transition into life coaching to just really better use the charisms that she’s been given.

Jill Simons:
So, Janie, thank you so much for being here with me today.

Janie Gibson:
Thank you for having me.

Jill Simons:
So I’d love if you would share, to start us off, just a little bit about yourself and what it was that made you want to reach out initially about the Charism of Encouragement.

Janie Gibson:
Sure. As you said, my name is Janie Gibson. I am currently working as a therapist transitioning into a role as a life coach. And, as a listener of the show, when I heard the call for people to write in and talk about their charisms, I it just felt like it’s something I wanted to do. I don’t really know that there was a lot of thought in it. I think I immediately pulled up my email and started typing out the note that I had written to you about that charism of encouragement. I I did wanna share it because I I do think that it can sometimes go under the radar. And people, I think, who have this charism probably don’t always fully recognize it because as you said, there’s not always a lot of direct feedback about it.

Janie Gibson:
And I think it’s probably something that’s pretty inherent within us. And it’s just something that we have always done and doesn’t feel that special to us. So I wanted to to talk about it a little bit more.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. Absolutely. I appreciate that so much because as we know that it’s it’s very hard to appropriately value something you don’t identify. And so being able to name it and call it out and say this is what I’m doing is something that can be so powerful. And I’ve heard from other people about how with encouragement specifically, they felt like it was, like, maybe a lesser thing because they weren’t necessarily taking the big actions or doing the big thing, but they were always there cheering those people on. So I’d love to hear about what your experience has been of that, and if that has ever felt kind of sidelining to you.

Janie Gibson:
My experience of it, I I think, started very early on. I I think I’m probably a natural born cheerleader. I tend to see the good in other people and get very excited for other people when they’re doing well or they’re successful or they finally learn to master something that they were struggling with. So that that’s something that’s always been there for me. And it’s played out in numerous ways. You know, everything from cheering on my friends when I was little, even when I would be competing with people as I got older into high school then college for certain awards or positions on teams or whatever it happened to be. I would always be very happy for other people if I could see them doing their best even if that meant that they beat me out of the position. That has always been there.

Janie Gibson:
I I do think it’s it’s gone an overlooked to some degree by other people, but I think I was very lucky though. I think I was in a situation kind of with my friends and my family where they did show their appreciation for that. And I think I could also see fruits of that even if I didn’t have a name for it in many situations even when I was younger. So when I was finally old enough to have a little bit of life experience and have somebody actually start to name what it was, it was that much easier to look back and recognize where maybe that had made a difference

Jill Simons:
lives. What has it been a recent thing for you to name it as a charism, or have you had that understanding for a while?

Janie Gibson:
No. It’s been a recent thing probably in the last year or 2 just to as I became familiar with charisms. I hadn’t really heard that term too much beforehand. And as I finally learned more about it, that one is one that resonated with me, and, I could identify that within myself.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. That’s awesome. Do you ever experience in your kind of, like, urge to encourage someone? Does it ever well up in you in a way that surprises you?

Janie Gibson:
Oh, definitely. Definitely. I I have a tendency to even encourage people I don’t know that well. You know, I I try not to, like, butt in. I don’t get overly involved in people’s lives if I don’t know them because I don’t want them to feel like I’m overstepping. But, you know, I I do. Like, if anybody who crosses my path, if I can see them trying something or struggling with something or even in passing saying, hey. I’d really think I’d like to try this thing.

Janie Gibson:
I find myself quite frequently saying, well, you know, why don’t you try that? What are the obstacles? And trying to help them figure out how they can make

Jill Simons:
that thing happen? Yeah. I love that. And it’s

Janie Gibson:
I always like to ask

Jill Simons:
people if they have ever experienced that as, like, a specific and it’s okay if you haven’t. I’m just curious. As, like, a specific sharing in what it is that God wants to say to someone in a given moment. Have you had that experience?

Janie Gibson:
Probably not in the moment.

Jill Simons:
Okay.

Janie Gibson:
But after the fact, I have had people probably most like, primarily with within my work as a therapist Uh-huh. Weeks, months, sometimes even years later, but also in my friendships and and other personal relationships come back and tell me that something that I said felt it resonated so strongly with them that they decided to take a step that they might not have otherwise taken that led them on a path that they felt was really important for their growth, whatever area it might be in.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. I love that. So as a person with encouragement, would you call encouragement, like, your primary charism and that you operate out on a regular basis?

Janie Gibson:
I think it’s it’s probably

Jill Simons:
Okay.

Janie Gibson:
That one. I knowledge is is another one that I’ve identified, but I I almost feel like that one is more, like, way more behind the scenes, more informing other things that I do, and the encouragement is the more overt and expressed one.

Jill Simons:
Okay. So then I’m so curious about what it is that is very, like, engaging and motivating to you, specifically thinking about, like, the pursuit of, just growth in your spiritual life, what that looks like as a person who’s really living from this place of encouragement and what it is that you hope for as kind of the fruit of your life in that area.

Janie Gibson:
I think in terms of my growth, something that I have been actively working toward, particularly over the past couple of years since I have reverted back to Catholicism after being away for a long time. I can see that there is a need for people to feel encouragement. I think we live in a culture that is is very discouraging. We hear a lot of people complaining. And I think there’s also a lot of people who actually enjoy taking people that down a peg and and seeing people hurt and making people hurt. And quite honestly, that makes me sad. I really like people and I I want to see them succeed. And I think that in terms of the fruit of my life, if I if I can know that I have somehow helped people to build full happy lives where they have people that they are close with and where they are growing and thriving, that’s the most important thing.

Janie Gibson:
I I I can’t I cannot overstate how happy it makes me when I see other people succeeding.

Jill Simons:
I love that. It’s so interesting because as we’ve looked at the data over having, for almost a year now, the online charism assessment, and we have just kind of the aggregate data of everyone. It’s so interesting because the most common one that people rank highly for, which obviously is not an objective, like, for sure it’s a charism, but the most common one people rank highly for is encouragement, which I think is such a beautiful glimpse into what God’s heart for the Church looks like and what it is that he most wants to do to build it. So I’d love if you just want to speak to that and, like, how how that has helped you to know God more in experiencing his encouragement.

Janie Gibson:
Yeah. That’s a good question. I guess I haven’t thought about it that directly. I I think in terms of how that experience has worked for me and and how that would go toward growing the Church. I I think we need each other. I think people need connection. We need these open doors to, I guess, find each other. And I think with encouragement, if there are people there who have open hearts, who are cheering you on, and who are letting you know that they believe that you can succeed, that you don’t have to be perfect, that you don’t already have to be at the finish line.

Janie Gibson:
It makes it that much easier to take steps into something that maybe in the past did not appeal to you or that you felt there were obstacles either internal or external that that we’re keeping you away from. I feel like that encourage encouragement from other people opens a door that may have been closed to people before. And I think I think that is something that all of us, encouragers, I guess, can do Yeah. Absolutely. For the future of the Church.

Jill Simons:
Absolutely. There’s so many people with the Encouragement Charism that are taking our volunteer accompaniment training. And it’s so beautiful to read what they’ve written and talk with them as they’re talking about just how much exactly like you’re saying their desire is to help people recognize that there’s something that’s for them, that there’s gifts that they have. And so it’s just such a an important, like, almost a facilitation of what needs to happen within the Church.

Janie Gibson:
Yes. Yeah. That is a very good word

Jill Simons:
for it. I I agree with you completely. And so you likely, I would assume, drew on this very heavily in your career as a therapist. And so even with that though, you have now discerned that it’s kind of time to make a change. So I’d love to hear about your process of, you know, moving towards something that’s still gonna really use that charism, but but also recognizing that just because you can encourage people as a therapist doesn’t mean you’re have to do that forever or that you’re stuck there and that there are other kind of good avenues open to you. So I’d just love to hear about that process for you.

Janie Gibson:
Sure. Sure. I I think I should probably start with how I got into being a therapist in the first place. And what I always tell people is that I have no idea how I got here. You know, I had been working in international business of all things. Like, it was I was very poorly suited for that career. Taking it a couple of days off and was in a Barnes and Noble near where my house was and just happened to start talking to the person in line in front of me. And that person was a professor, at the school I ended up going to for graduate school.

Janie Gibson:
And he said to me, you know, you should really just apply to this counseling program. I’m like, oh, okay. I will. So I did. And that’s how it got started. And I had never met this person before. I’ve never saw him again. You know, he was he just kinda showed up and made the suggestion and off I went.

Janie Gibson:
And, as I started the career in the first place, I think what drew me to it once I looked into a little bit a little bit was the idea of helping people to grow and to flourish. And with therapy, I think that has certainly happened. But I spent the last 20 years of my career working on helping people to heal from past hurts and to get to a healthier point. And now I feel like the next thing I need to do is to help people to actually go from a healthy point to flourishing. You know, there are lots of reasons for that. Some of it is just feels like the right time. You know, some of it is is as therapy becomes more of a medicalized field, it can be difficult to work within those parameters, and I wanted to do something more creative. And some of it has been because I want the freedom to pull things in, particularly faith based things that I didn’t have the opportunity to do before.

Janie Gibson:
Because I found with myself, but also with other people, that spiritual component is so missing from the larger field of therapy, and I think it’s really, really necessary for people to thrive.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. Absolutely. I know that this is becoming less and less the case as the the field kind of, grows and strengthens within kind of the public consciousness. But for people that are unclear on what life coaching really pertains to, if you would just give us kind of an understanding of that.

Janie Gibson:
Sure. There are a lot of avenues in which it can play out, but as a general definition, the idea behind life coaching is to help people who are already mentally healthy to actually go from being good to being excellent. And that can be professionally, relationship wise, just with any kind of personal goal. It it can really apply to anything, but, the idea is is that you kind of start from a healthy place and want to move in an even more positive direction.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. Awesome. I have been so assisted by professional coaches in that situation, and I think that that’s just a really beautiful thing to be able to take advantage of with that faith component because then there’s an integration that can happen there that is, yeah, so frequently missing from medicalized therapy and things like that. Yeah. If if someone is struggling in their charism that’s maybe not encouragement, or they’re they’re feeling like, God is not maybe making use of them right now or really doesn’t need them right now. Just as kind of a blanket statement of encouragement for listeners, what is it what you would say about the importance of people or what what you as an encourager would want to share with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ about what about their necessity, why they are necessary to the Church.

Janie Gibson:
Yeah. I really do operate from a standpoint of believing that everybody is important. You know, it there are going to be times when our gifts are not so readily clear to us or where we don’t really know how they can be applied and sometimes maybe don’t even know what they are. But there’s a lifetime to figure that out. And I think if you in invest in your spiritual life, invest in taking time to listen to the Lord and what he would want for us and kind of try to still yourself and and figure that out. It becomes more and more clear as you go where your particular gifts can be useful if you’re open to it. But we don’t have to be 100% at all times using our gifts to the best of our abilities. I don’t know that that’s even possible to do all the time every day.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. I completely agree. I saw the quote the other day that was, like, be gentle with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms year round. And I was just like, wow. I felt a little bit convicted by that. Yeah.

Janie Gibson:
It it’s true. And I think a lot of people get discouraged especially because we have a the all of these things that show us everybody’s success reel, basically. And it’s unrealistic. You know? We might have successes, but we also have failures. And I think letting people know that that is a very, very normal part of being human is something that I would want people to know.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, we are almost at the end of our time. Is there any last parting thing you’d like to share with our listeners before we end this episode?

Janie Gibson:
Yeah. I I think, you know, just make sure you’re not undervaluing yourself. If you find yourself questioning what your gifts are, you don’t think you have any, you do. Everybody has something important to offer, and it’s important to allow yourself to believe that that is true about you too so that those things can blossom.

Jill Simons:
Absolutely. Those thoughts matter, and that is so much They do. So much of what coaches help with so often. So as this episode is coming out, Janie is still in the middle of her transition, but we are going to update links as she has them available in the show notes. So if you should want to connect with her and hear more about what it is that she has to offer, that you are able to do that. Thank you so much for being here with me today, Janie.

Janie Gibson:
Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Jill Simons:
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free pdf guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.