On Fire: Finding Your Gift And Using It

Things could get ugly—even violent—growing up. My very-afraid-and-too-stressed-out-post-Great-Depression parents might yell or hit one of their six kids who neglected their chores or talked back like a “smart alec.”

The result? I learned CYA.

Watched my back—always.

Pleased my adult audience—always.

Hid out to

Stay safe.

My main life skill became ducking disapproval. When I graduated from high school and left home I unknowingly took my skill with me. I played it safe, walked the party line of my church, school, professors, authority figures of any ilk and wore the mask: you will never have a reason to think ill of me.

People thought I was


I hate that word. What is nice?






Who wants to know a person who is nice? I don’t.

As my life wore on, being nice, I

Enslaved myself to making others’ lives succeed.

Fooled myself into thinking I would be happy if I could make everyone else around me happy—a false, impossible and life-killing goal.

Avoided doing the inner work necessary to know who I really was.

Didn’t know or seek my purpose.

When my life crashed down, I started to wake up, pay attention. The questions, Who am I? and What am I here for? rose up, grabbed my face and stared me in the eye demanding an answer.

My quest began. And the fight—no, the dangerous, frightening bloody war—with “nice” began also.

Now I was:



Motivated and inspired at times

Demotivated and depressed at other times.

I wanted to be my true self and do what I was here to do. But I couldn’t get any traction in reality.

My rescue came in two forms:

1) Continued crises. My kids on drugs. Divorce. Career chaos. Loss of friends, home and identity. Every few years I hit a wall. All I saw was fog. Now what?

A new, slightly truer path would appear. I’d walk on with an increased sense of urgency. I must find the truth and live it.

2) God. Yep. Little by little.

Drip by drip my brain started to awaken.

I sensed I wasn’t the only one in this battle. Another Force was at work—leading, waiting for me to catch up, putting out signs, shielding me from some foes and setting me right smack dab down in front of others—pain, grief, and disillusionment. Disappointment with friends, bosses, coworkers, church leaders, government, and family members. With myself.

What could be done with such pain?


I needed love. Like a wilting daisy needs water, I needed love to carry on—to live—to be me.

It didn’t come all in one dose. More like drips:

Peace followed my tears

Answers followed questions

Doors opened after others closed


  • The book, Sacred Romance, on the coffee table of a girlfriend.
  • A call from a college friend who saw the real me back then and wanted to tell me that now, decades later.
  • Visits back home to show me once more what I needed to break free from.
  • An urge to go to grad school and the means to do so. Then the requirement to face my talent and use it—or drop out.

On and on…

I was led once more through my past and saw glimpses of my future. The more I trusted the leading the more healed and whole I became.


I realized God created me to be who I am. And He set me down into a life-long battle where I must choose to be what He dreamed up—or not. I could be Gloria or some self-concocted, false version of myself living out her days in…well, a lie.


God loves His creation and He fights for them.


God loves me.


His love makes me safe…real…

And not so nice.

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What about you? Do you know who you are and why you are here?

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photo credit: quas (creative commons)

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