Understanding and discerning our charisms, the spiritual gifts bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit, not only empowers us to recognize our unique contributions to the Church but also enables us to create space for others to flourish in their gifts. The concept of leaving space for others is crucial in fostering a vibrant and diverse community, where each member is valued and encouraged to utilize their charisms for the common good. Let’s explore how embracing charisms and leaving space for others can lead to a more enriched and thriving community.

Embracing Charisms

Our charisms shape our abilities, passions, and roles within the Church. By discerning our charisms, we gain insights into how the Holy Spirit is working through us and calling us to build and strengthen the Church. This self-awareness allows us to confidently bring our unique gifts into various settings, contributing to the richness of the community.

Recognizing the Need for Balance

While embracing and utilizing our charisms is essential, it is equally important to recognize that we are part of a larger body. Often, there is a tendency to feel solely responsible for certain tasks or initiatives within the Church. However, this mindset can lead to burnout, frustration, and a lack of trust in God’s providence. By acknowledging that we are not the sole providers for the Church, we open ourselves to receiving and welcoming the diverse gifts of others.

Creating Space for Others

Leaving space for others involves intentionally stepping back and allowing fellow members to exercise their charisms. This act of humility and trust in God’s plan fosters an environment where everyone’s gifts are valued and utilized. It requires us to recognize that God has bestowed a variety of gifts among the members of the Church and that each person’s contributions are essential for collective growth.

Encouraging Discernment and Collaboration

To effectively leave space for others, it is crucial to encourage discernment and collaboration within the community. Through ongoing discernment, individuals can better understand not only their own charisms but also the charisms present in others. This understanding paves the way for collaboration, as individuals can intentionally invite and involve others in various initiatives, allowing for a more diverse and inclusive approach to ministry and service.

Embracing charisms while leaving space for others is a delicate balance that requires humility, trust, and a deep commitment to building up the Church. As we discern our charisms and recognize the gifts in others, we contribute to the formation of a dynamic and inclusive community where all members can thrive. Leaving space for others is not a sign of weakness but a testament to our faith in God’s providence and the diverse gifts He has bestowed upon His Church. By doing so, we participate in creating a welcoming and flourishing environment where each individual has the opportunity to grow and contribute, reflecting the beauty and unity of the Body of Christ.

Jill Simons [00:00:00]:

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 are 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 today’s episode. We’re gonna be talking about how knowing our charisms allows us to really know what we bring into a room, which we’ve talked about before. But today, we’re not gonna talk about what our contribution is when we do that. We’re gonna talk about how it leaves space for other people to contribute when we do that.

Jill Simons [00:00:55]:

This is something that comes up so frequently within the Catholic Church, especially, maybe other churches, but I have no experience there. So I don’t know. If you are a Protestant, you can feel free to send me an email and let me know if this is an issue that you face as well. But I think that we very frequently fall into this mindset that if we don’t do it, nobody will. And this is ultimately, I believe, what is keeping the Church stuck, frustrated. Some people would say irrelevant, though though it is not actually irrelevant, the perception and the vision that people see of the Church so frequently seems that way because we end up with broken, fallible individuals that see themselves as the only savior for the Church. We completely lose track of the fact that the God of the universe founded our Church through his son, Jesus Christ, and that we have nothing to worry about. We get caught up in the collection balances and the lack of people that hear on a regular basis.

Jill Simons [00:02:11]:

And we get in this mindset of needing to be the providers for the Church instead of trusting God to provide for his Church that he founded. I’ll just give you a little, like, spoiler warning. The Church 100% would not be here if it was dependent on people. One of my fears is, I have no idea if like a real story or just a joke, honestly, that someone told me once. Either is equally likely, honestly, but I heard this joke slash story one time of a Catholic man, priest, I believe, that had been growing in friendship with this Jewish man. And this Jewish man in this was in Europe was a businessman, and he needed to go to Rome on business to deal with some people in the Vatican. And the priest said, you need to become Catholic before you go to Rome. Otherwise, you’ll never become Catholic.

Jill Simons [00:03:07]:

And the Jewish man said, no. I’ll take care of it, you know, after the fact because he had been growing an interest in the faith and things like that. And so when the Jewish man came back from Rome, he told the priest, now I’m ready to become Catholic. And the priest was just shocked because he was like, even after going to Rome and seeing all of this, you know, confusion, frustration, incompetence, whatever, and the and the Jewish man said yes because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this Church could not have survived its current state if the hand of God wasn’t on it. And how true is that? You think about all of the craziness of history that the Church has survived throughout. And It is clearly the hand of God on it, sustaining it, guiding it, moving it through time. And and that is totally not based on the merits of the individuals in the Church at any given time. Yes.

Jill Simons [00:04:11]:

We absolutely have the saints that bring about revival and do beautiful things within the Church, and they are important to our story, but God is always the main character. And I think that that ultimately is kind of what prompted me to record this specific episode because I was thinking about this kind of TikTok phenomenon called main character energy. So for those of you not active on social media, maybe not big on the TikTok thing. More power to you. I fully support you. But this is something that is being talked about a lot in our culture right now is basically secular individuals having this goal of living their life with main character energy. Meaning, you need to be the center of your own story. You need to be the center of other people’s story and just really focusing on yourself, I think, is what it comes down to in a way where you are seen as the primary focus have whatever is going on at any given time.

Jill Simons [00:05:10]:

And this makes a ton of sense from secular viewpoint. You know, when you’re not in a mindset, in a belief system that is reliant on God, then that is kind of a sensical default because what else can you rely on besides yourself? But, of course, in our worldview, when we have God as the center of our worldview, it makes no sense for us to pursue this main character energy because we’re not the main character. We always know that Christ needs to be at the center of everything we do. And ultimately, that’s what allows us to leave space for other people to be part of what God is inviting to happen in the Church and in the world. A a symptom, I think, of this general main character energy thrust in our culture is this idea that you need to do something about everything. You need to be active on every front. You need to be on every social media platform. You need to be involved in every sport.

Jill Simons [00:06:17]:

You need to be, you know, doing every ministry. Because how else are you going to maintain this fragile main character relevancy if you are not trying to be omnipresent. But when we think about it, who’s the only one who’s supposed to be omnipresent? Right? It’s God. And so when we move into this main character mindset, we are trying to co-op a place that is reserved for God that needs to be reserved for God. And I think when you have people in Catholic parishes, maybe it’s a small parish, maybe it’s a struggling parish. You have people that are trying to fill the gap. They’re trying to stand in the gap for the Church. They’re really putting themselves out there.

Jill Simons [00:07:09]:

They’re carrying everything. They’re doing everything. And it it might not be farther from their conscious mindset to have this kind of main character energy thing going on, but ultimately that is what they are doing. They are buying into this lie of our culture That if you won’t do it, if you’re not gonna be the omnipresent one, then there’s no one there to step into that gap. You are all there is. And I think for most people that might struggle with this, as soon as that gets pointed out to them, it becomes pretty convicting to realize, oh my gosh. That is what I’m doing. I am viewing myself as the savior here.

Jill Simons [00:07:09]:

I am taking a place that is reserved for God. And so because this is a struggle for a lot of people, I’m not immune in any way from this struggle. I’ve definitely had times where something comes across my radar that’s like, gosh. I really should be doing that. I really should be active in, you know, forging my own vision for this specific thing that’s going on. It has taken a lot of spiritual discipline to just let those things go, to recognize that those things are in God’s hands even when it seems like they’re slipping through the cracks. And that’s really hard. It is not an easy thing to do.

Jill Simons [00:08:46]:

But ultimately, it’s a great tool in pursuing that to know your because that helps you define your lane within the larger Church more fully. And I I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but as I was editing my book, I came across this really interesting gendered dichotomy where the men that reviewed my book all felt like staying in your lane was a really negative pejorative term, whereas all the women were like, oh my gosh, that’s so freeing. So let me know, send me an email if that resonates with you one way or the other, because I’m really curious. I’m, of course, a woman and so found it to be very freeing and helpful. And maybe it’s not really a gender difference. Maybe I had just kind of an incomplete sample. But as I’m talking about staying in your lane, my hope is that it is a freeing thing for you.

Jill Simons [00:09:44]:

And so if that term strikes you as being a negative thing. You know, let’s sub it in with something else that seems more empowering to you. Because ultimately, we wanna know what is it that we are supposed to do and what is it are that we are not supposed to do. And just because something is a charism that you do have does not mean that you are called to fulfill every instance of using that charism within the larger Church. And that’s why there is ongoing discernment that is a part of the process. So as you are looking at the opportunities available to you, it’s really, really important to keep in mind not just the giftings that you have, put the giftings that God has given to other people and leaving intentional space for them to use their gifts. And if you are maybe the one person at your parish who’s into charisms, who’s discerning, who’s going through all of our resources, and you’re like, okay. Cool.

Jill Simons [00:10:48]:

If I step down, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s not gonna be anybody else that steps up. I would potentially pray with how the Holy Spirit is inviting you to call out the other charisms present in your community. Because newsflash, even if you’re the only one who’s investing in them right now, you’re not the only one who has them. And so if you are able to draw 1, 2, 5, 25 other people in your circle into this discernment process, then I think you might be surprised how many people are actually there to fill the gaps. And also you might be surprised at the things that God lets go. At the end of the day, God might not sustain every event, every ministry, every good idea within the Church. And that’s really challenging because we typically really love the things that we try and bring into fruition, but not everything is necessary. Our viewpoint on what is necessary and what is good is always gonna be limited.

Jill Simons [00:12:06]:

And so this is where we learn that holy detachment. There are lots of great ideas that the saints have have have had, I should say, that either didn’t come to fruition or didn’t come to fruition in the timeline that they did. There is a lot of people that God has told to wait. And if that is something that kind of strikes a chord. Go back and listen to our episode a couple weeks ago on waiting and specifically waiting in this season of Advent that we’re still in the midst of. Because just because God doesn’t fill a space in the timeline that we think it needs to be filled, A) doesn’t mean it’s not gonna be filled, and, B) doesn’t mean that it must be filled. And that is really, really hard. It’s a hard thing to recognize that God’s viewpoint is more complete than ours, that his vision is more far-reaching than ours.

Jill Simons [00:13:09]:

And just because something seems disastrous to us now, it actually might not be. Because ultimately, we must do our job and only our job. We must do the things that God has given to us to do and not try and take part of what other people have been given to do just because we perceive they’re not gonna do it or they’re not gonna do it very well. This is something that has come up for me a lot in being involved in a group that I am not the leader of. And it has been very heavy for me to watch what I perceive to be the failures in leadership. When in reality, God has not called me to lead that specific group. And so though I perceive it to be just the worst thing and get so frustrated as I watch people not really very well on something that even is my charism. I am doing my best very imperfectly to be docile to the fact that the Holy Spirit hasn’t called me to do this, and I don’t need to save anyone.

Jill Simons [00:14:29]:

I don’t need to save any committees, any anything that I might be a part of. I am called to serve in the capacity that God gives me to serve and leave the rest to him. So if you are part of a situation right now where you are, A) getting bitter because you are having you feel like you are, quote, unquote, having to do so many things that are either not your charisms, not fulfilling, not bringing you any fruits of the holy spirit. I would really encourage you to pray about whether this is something God really has for you. Now take that with a grain of salt because God absolutely calls us to times of struggle where we are using our charisms. So it’s not a, oh, you don’t like this? Like, automatic no. There are absolutely times we’re called to struggle through the difficulties and still remain faithful in that. But there’s also times that we label as that when God is actually like, you don’t even have to do this.

Jill Simons [00:15:34]:

This isn’t something that I have for you. And so more than anything, I just invite you to really actively discern that, to discern whether or not this is something that you are taking on yourself that you don’t need to or whether this is something that God, is inviting you to do. And if you are someone who is afraid, so you’re kind of on the other side have the spectrum. You’re afraid to step up and take a place. I encourage you to step up and take a place because there are people waiting on you. There are people that need you to do that. There are people that might be frustrated, struggling through the thing that God is actually asking you to do because they’re struggling to have faith that you’re gonna be there to do it. And so wherever you fall on the spectrum, whatever situations you are in right now.

Jill Simons [00:15:33]:

It requires us to grow and trust with God, to move through this, to allow him to do more of the providing and us to do more of the receiving. I hope that you have a great week, especially as we are getting so close to Christmas. And I just ask that you keep, everyone listening to this podcast in our prayers, especially approaching the holidays, that we all just might collectively grow as a community in knowing what it is that God is inviting us to do. Because every time someone steps into the role that God is really inviting them to fill in the Church, urge the entire Church is better for it even if you never hear about it this side of heaven. You will hear about it in heaven, and it will make you happy. God bless you. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms 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 aim by taking our charism assessment.