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Living Large in Your Gifts

piano1-200x300reprinted from ReadyAimLife

My mom is very talented musically. She can sing and play the piano. I don’t know if she can dance or not (I will have to ask her next time we talk). I got a little of her talent but not enough to brag about. I do, however, do a mean Cat Scratch Fever in the shower. My mom is a very talented pianist. She has had some training over the years but is largely self-taught and plays by ear. She tells a great story about when she was a young girl and going to a neighbor friend’s house who had a piano and learning to play it.

One day her mother (my grandmother) dropped by the neighbor’s home and heard someone playing beautifully in the next room and commented about how well the neighbor’s girl was playing. To her surprise the neighbor responded, “ Ruda that’s not my girl that is your daughter, Charlotte.”

Hidden talent and untapped potential is one of the human travesties of mankind. Well, maybe I exaggerate a bit, but there is nothing much sadder than hearing someone wistfully dream about what could have been. An unopened gift is a woeful shame (just ask any kid about that around Christmas). But many of us leave the gifts, talents and abilities that we have untapped or terribly underdeveloped. We have a tendency to focus on skills we need to cope with life or to scratch out a living.

But, what about your special gifts? You know which ones I am talking about. The ones you are afraid to bring out for anyone to see for fear that they would laugh at you. Maybe it’s musical in nature, or physical or mental or social. A talent undeveloped is like leaving the biggest gift under the tree till next Christmas because it is too important to risk breaking. Hogwash, open it up! It’s too important to not open up.

If you want to re-energize your life, figure out how to spend time developing one of your gifts and expressing yourself in that way and you will be shocked about how the rest of your life brightens. There is a story told about the nation of Israel when they were at war with someone. The King, Saul, had unwisely forbidden anyone to eat until they had defeated their foes. His son Jonathan had not heard about the prohibition and while he was chasing the adversary he came across some wild honey and ate some. Immediately, his eyes brightened and he was re-invigorated. Even though he was “not supposed to eat”. Gift identification, development and expression is like honey to the soul. You would think that someone had put an artificial ban on maximizing your talents.

I am here to tell you that the ban has been lifted. You have been blessed with some special abilities from God and He intends for you to use them. In fact, He has geared your life around these talents. Discover your gifts and discover your reason for being.

Let me illustrate personally. One thing I discovered in my brief stint, as a teaching pastor was that I enjoyed the preparation of the message as much or maybe even more than presenting. I had recently discovered the art of scripting my sermons and so I began to write. One of the blessings of my life is this newfound thing call the blog. Now that I am in the business world, I don’t get many opportunities to write and speak about things that are more personal in nature about life and living. I get to teach publicly maybe once or twice a year (sometimes less). But with a blog I can crank out as much copy as I want to. I don’t have to wait for some big publishing company to discover me. I get to write because I like it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that no Pulitzer Prize is around any corner for me soon. But, that is not the goal of gift development. The goal is not to be the best compared to others but to maximize my own abilities. If my writing encourages one person to live a better life then I have succeeded. But on the selfish side of this, my life has already been extremely enriched as I have begun to write. The scope of our success will be varied. My writing is read by 10s of people and yours may read by 10s of thousand and the next guy may be read by 10s of millions but the writer is not judged by how many readers he/she has but by how well did they express what was in their heart. And that’s something worth leaving behind.

Honestly, our legacy will probably be left out of our gifting.

So what do you do about it?

1. Brainstorm your gifts, interest and talents
2. Ask people close to you about what they see related to your special abilities
3. Pick one area to start working on.
4. Start developing that area.
5. Start expressing your gift even if it just for you. But let me say, you will find ultimate satisfaction in using those gift in serving others.
6. Watch how your life enriches.
7. Don’t give up!

When my Grandmother heard my mom play, she did something about it. They bought her a piano. They got her some lessons. They cultivated the gift that God had given her. Life is too short not to do something about maximizing your gifts. Start Today! Don’t be the old fart that talks about who he could have been. It is never too late. Most of people’ greatest contribution occurred later in life. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Photo credit: shoothead

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