Rely on the Spirit, your gifts, and God’s grace and mercy

by | Sep 11, 2023 | Faith | 8 comments |

I’d like to think I rely on faith all the time. But the reality is sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Here are some examples.


Rely on the Spirit

At church last Sunday, a woman I’ve worked with many times said, “I read everything you write. Your piece in the Huffington Post really spoke to me. I don’t know how I got so lucky to be around such smart people.” I smiled and preened a little. 

Then I stepped back emotionally and said, “Well, you know, of course, I didn’t write that.” Her face showed surprise so I explained. “I got up one morning, and the Spirit guided me.” That was the rough draft, and there were several drafts thereafter with structural and line item changes. But she understood because she’s experienced the Spirit’s guidance, too.

Rely on my gifts

We all have a purpose in life, even in the third or fourth stages of life, and we’re all given gifts to accomplish them. Some are given many gifts, some only one.

Recently, our church asked the membership to fill out a Spiritual Gifts inventory. I’ve taken surveys like this previously, and the results are always the same: generosity, service, helping, and both kinds of leadership. Quite honestly, my gifts aren’t off-the-charts extraordinary. Many people are far more gifted in each of these areas. My gifts function more like a skill set that I can draw upon in combination.

In that regard, I’m returning to teaching again this fall, this time Sunday School. I’m looking forward to being “back in the saddle again” after more than a decade away from my profession. I’m a better person when using my gifts for the benefit of others.

Rely on God’s grace and mercy

Two weeks ago, Keith and I had a less-than-perfect visit with my daughter and our granddaughter, and the failures were my fault because I relied on myself. Although I’ve been making progress with dog management, I failed in that regard during their visit, leading to failures in my relationship with Keith and hospitality to our guests. Note: I do not have the gift of hospitality—my daughter is an amazingly gifted hostess—and I often forget to pray for help. 

Worse, when I fail, I often burden others with self-pity and complaining. Until I step back emotionally and fall into God’s grace and mercy. Then, with the Spirit’s guidance and support from Keith and my sisters in Christ, I can use my gifts to problem solve.

While praying the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Linkup with Five Minute Friday:


  1. Bette Cox

    So you’re being recalled into God’s teaching service! That is wonderful, Carole. As you pray, prepare, study and then share, you will be blessed far more than the members of your class, and you will definitely be a blessing to all of them. Bette Cox, Florence, SC, USA

    • Carole Duff

      Hi Bette, and thank you for your encouragement! -C.D.

  2. marianna crane

    Thanks Carole, this post was so timely for me right in this moment. I love the Serenity Prayer.

    • Carole Duff

      May God bless you, Marianna, and keep you in the palm of His hand and give you peace. -C.D.

  3. barefootlilylady

    I think it would be wonderful to be in your class. May our God bless your teaching ministry.

    • Carole Duff

      Ah, thank you, Cindie, for your encouragement! -C.D.

  4. seekingdivineperspective

    Carole, I think we all struggle all our lives, just in different areas, according to our personalities, I get frustrated with myself, but then I realize that if I didn’t struggle, it would be too easy to rely on myself and not realize that that’s what I’m doing.
    Congratulations on getting “back in the saddle”! What age will you be teaching?

    • Carole Duff

      An excellent point! Our struggles humble and help us to become more self-aware and dependent on God. I’ll be teaching high school, 9-12. A blessing and challenge, all for the glory of God.


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