“God’s Gift” by Dianne H. Timmering

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8 NIV

My six year old daughter asked me a question after school yesterday in the car. She said “Mom my teacher told me today that God gives each of us a unique gift, and it is up to us to find it and use it.”

I could hear the worry in her voice and said, “Mom, what is my gift?” I told her I thought she had many great gifts and she quickly corrected me. “Mom, God only gives us one BIG gift that we have to share with the world, what is your gift?”

I reflected for a moment – did I really know what my gift was and whether or not I was using it to serve God? Life moves so quickly and we so often get clouded with our own dreams for ourselves rather than reflecting upon what God has given us – our unique gift that we need to open up to the world.

The clouds moved out of my head and quiet clarity suddenly came over me. The words love, faith and forgiveness quickly crashed into my heart and reminded me of their importance in all that we do.

I will always remember the moment my six year old gave me my perspective back, to move the clutter out of my life to embrace my gift(s) from God.

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EVENT – “God In The Workplace: Society For Human Resource Management”

SHRM Conference by Dianne Timmering of Louisville Ky Signature HealthCAREJoe and I served as the keynote speakers at the recent SHRM meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, a meeting made up of Human Resource leaders across the state. I will admit we were nervous, confronted with a topic normally anathema to such a group: policy and procedure conflicting with the enigmatic blanket of God in the Workplace. It wasn’t that they wouldn’t be gracious or offer a cursory listen – there was, after all, a $1,500 drawing at the end of the meeting for one lucky recipient, so they sort of had to suffer through. And it’s always hard to give the concluding speech to a sea of kind fatigue.

But that’s not what happened at all. They listened. At one point, Joe asked if he was talking too fast, and they said ‘yes.’ They wanted to hear clearly the twinkle of newness, a glint of opportunity to expand the meaning of their jobs beyond the rudimentary row of the canoe, so to speak. We began with the tactical elements of rolling out spirituality through an unconditional love and respect for all faith traditions. We explained how we took a grassroots approach because much of the opposition and skepticism came from the top. We discussed the role of HR; how it started as a talent pool, a central force focusing on the exploration and development of people into leaders, but through the decades devolved into policy, static development and even worse, paperwork.

Audience members were free to leave, and a few did – but very few. We presented spirituality as a core competency, the power of spiritual discernment as a new ingredient to help them reach their people—the struggling, the hopeful, the vulnerable. Our audience was suddenly engaged as if a secret of the soul had been dusted off. After all, why be in HR if you don’t want to help people? We spoke of ‘the unmentionable’: empathy, second tries, prayer, creative ways to develop talent, renewal of purpose, imparting being, the power of authenticity and other things that don’t have formulas. We presented a new approach outside of the day-to-day and the EAP (Employee Assistance Program), and the reentry of the ‘C suite’ by restoring HR to its 1950s role as an agent of change.

Maybe they started to remember why they had taken the job in the first place. It was a renewal of purpose of what spirituality could mean: the freedom and creativity to go beyond the practical solution with the simplicity of love, the importance of meeting people at the point of their need, loving fiercely without judgment, offering freedom to express without watering down faith traditions, and simply respecting the person next to them. The freedom to worship or not to worship, but the freedom to be, has expanded the audience, not minimized it, we shared. The art of listening has moved the mountain of faith into the belief of a spirituality component into everyday life, we offered.

We discussed measurable outcomes and metrics. They asked endless questions: How do you go up against obstinate leadership in manufacturing? How do you ‘hire the heart’ as much as the skill set? Is this an approach outside of the EAP? How do you incorporate spirituality into daily operations with skepticism on every side? How do you honor faith traditions outside of the more conventional or widely-accepted belief systems? How do you change the hearts of non-believers who don’t support the program? Did God strike anyone down? (We, of course, said there was no ‘striking down’ at Signature!)

But something bigger clearly began to ‘strike’ their hearts. We said we would help. We will see . . .

Joe Steier and Dianne Timmering