This weekend, I had an opportunity to visit with my grandmother and several family members. I got into a side conversation with someone about how to best utilize the talents and gifts God has given us. Now, I know plenty of people who have no idea what their talent/gift/purpose is. The answer to that question lies in the One who created each and every one of us.
But this family member of mine and I were talking through another dilemma: What if you believe that you have MANY gifts and talents? How can you possibly exercise all of them in one lifetime? Do you concentrate on one for a decade and neglect the other ones? Do you try to combine them? Do you pick the one that seems to be most in demand? As we talked, she listed the many things she’s good at: cooking, decorating, speaking, party-planning, organizing, interior decorating, project management, sales. I listed mine as well: writing, all-things-techy, speaking, teaching, consulting, instructional staff development, and most recently book cover design. Some of these skills we’ve gone to school to master, most have come from practical experience and God-given understanding.
So, what are we to do when we have been blessed with minds that operate well in various capacities? I mean, I was a secondary education major and my two teaching fields were exact opposites: English and math. Though I enjoy creating things, according to my 20+ year old SAT scores, I’m actually better at quantitative tasks. The score report analysis actually recommended a career in engineering. Go figure!
Alas, I have no actual solution to this very humbling but sometimes frustrating dilemma. I only know that I’ve tried to chase talents down and give them a try until they don’t bug me anymore; until I actually say, “Okay, I tried that and I liked it for a while but I don’t want to do that anymore.”
I can hardly breathe without writing, so that’s a given. Honestly, it’s amazing that I have enough attention span to write novels because all these other things keep my mind reeling with ideas. On one hand, these ideas cause me to face each day like it’s full of fresh opportunities. But on the other hand, they probably waste time. Still, I reason that if I weren’t busy thinking creatively, I’d probably just be watching “Gilligan’s Island” reruns on TV anyway. Gilligan and his crew will still be on the island the next time I tune in, so I haven’t missed much.
Here’s what I do know: I want to spend my days honoring God. I want to arrive in heaven completely poured out in service to Him. I don’t want to live my life wondering what might have been if I had tried this or that. Not everything, of course. I’m asking God for discernment because I know sometimes even a good idea is just a cleverly-disguised distraction. (Can I get an amen?)
Anyway, I’m going to sleep now. Tomorrow is a brand new day. I watched hours of youtube videos today, learning how to create podcasts so that I can finally obey the call to teach regularly. In 3-5 business days, I should receive my special podcasting microphone (woo hoo!) and I’ll be off on another adventure. I hope you’ll join me :)
Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps this is the life of Christ. A life that is full of service, full of people to reach, new roads to travel, new challenges, never a dull day in Him.
I’d like to encourage you as I encourage myself in this post: God knows exactly how He made us and the capacities He placed in each of His children. Let’s trust Him to open the doors that need to be opened and shut the ones that seem interesting/promising but are only time-stealing dead ends. Yes, let’s trust His Spirit to nudge us because Jesus said He would (John 16:13). His ability to keep us is far greater than our ability to get off track. After all, He is the one who gave us all these gifts. He is willing to show you and I what to do with them, how He wants to be glorified in them. And He is able.
I hope you’ll chime in on this sideline discussion. Have you ever struggled with the idea that you’re not sure which avenue to pursue first? How do you cope? How do you know when something is NOT for you?