In the contemplative journey, one of the things we have an opportunity to explore, discover, cultivate and nurture is the realization of our own unique giftedness. Each of us has been uniquely gifted to reveal Divine Love in the world, and we are called to share this love freely and openly. This does not, however, preclude healthy boundaries and we can look to the model that Jesus of Nazareth set for a reminder of the importance of healthy boundaries. I won’t bore you with the detailed scriptural accounts…..but here are just a few examples of how Jesus established healthy boundaries in his ministry:
- Jesus took out time each and every day for personal, private meditation and prayer.
- Jesus took time away from “the crowd” to tend to his own needs for nourishment, nurturing and rest
- Jesus only shared his healing gift with those who asked him to help them. Only once in scripture did Jesus initiate the healing without first being asked
- When Jesus sent his disciples out to share the Good News and to heal the sick, he reminded them that some would not be able to receive their gifts and to “shake the dust from your feet and walk away.” from those who refused their gifts
- Jesus reminded his disciples that “a prophet is welcome anywhere but in their own home.” In other words, the ones closest to us are often most resistant to our gifts
- Jesus taught in parables so that those who had ears to hear would hear – in other words, the recipients of the message had to take the time to hear the truth beyond the words. They had to take personal responsibility for hearing the truth and making it their own. Jesus did not enable them by giving a more in-depth exhortation on the stories he shared, he empowered them to do it themselves.
All of these examples set by Jesus are a great reminder to each of us as to how to treat our own unique giftedness. The gifts that we have been given by God are precious and are given to us specifically to reveal healing and love in the world. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to receive our gifts. Some will outright reject our gifts. Others will want to take advantage of our gifts. Some will treat our gifts with disrespect. Many will want to take, take, take our gifts and offer nothing in return. The invitation for us is to create and maintain healthy boundaries around the care and treatment of our gifts. Do we treat our gifts as the precious treasure that they are? Do we recognize the face of God in our gifts? Do we honor our gifts enough to protect them, keep them safe and to freely and openly share them with those who will treat them in the same way? As Jesus demonstrated, it is ok to say no. It is healthy to save your gift for those who can accept them with the wonder and awe deserving of God’s gifts. It is ok to walk away from those who reject our gifts. It is healthy to share our gifts in a way that empowers rather than enables others.
The gifts that God has given you are precious and glorious and deserving of awe and wonder. Treat them as the valuable treasures that they are and you will be witness to the abundant harvest of gifts fully given and gifts fully received.