Your Gifts: Three Questions to Recharge Them
You may have taken temperament tests, checked off talents on lists, or attended career classes to determine your particular gifts. Or you may have acquired insight over the years. You know who you are and who you aren’t. You know what you like to do and are good at, and what you’re not. Self-knowledge has come with age.
Gifts can be hard-and-fast talents like quilting, painting, or raising money for the poor. They are also the ability to draw people out in a counseling session, understand the needs of children, or successfully defend a client in a courtroom. And everything in between.
Young or old, I believe everyone has some idea of their gifts.
Thus, the first question is: 1) What are your gifts?
Go ahead, name a couple: My gifts are ________________, ____________, and _________(Don’t overthink this—write down what first comes to mind. If, however, this question makes you go blank, give it all the time you need to own up to your gifts.)
I don’t need to tell you that knowing your gifts doesn’t mean you are using them. You’ve got reasons they are barely visible or disappeared entirely: the kids demand your attention, you’re in survival mode, there’s just no time or money, or you tried once and your efforts were a fail. Perhaps you’ve lost hope that the world is a safe place and that your gift even matters.
2) What if all of the reasons you have for not using your gifts aren’t the real reasons? What if the reason has nothing to do with your surroundings, circumstances, or the people in your life?
“The good news for you and me is that we can express our gifts in greater measure if we will do one thing – Commit.”
“The self is not waiting to be discovered through introspection. The self is waiting to be created through commitment. Commitments define us. Commitments give each of us our identity. And if you have no commitments, you are, says T.S. Elliott, the hollow man, the empty man, the straw man blown to and fro by the wind.” – Dr. Tony Campolo in his speech, Committed to Hope.
“Skepticism is a good and healthy thing…Be skeptical and ask the hard, tough questions about our institutions–especially Washington and Wall Street. But cynicism is a spiritually dangerous thing because it is a buffer against personal commitment. Becoming so cynical that we don’t believe any change is possible allows us to step back, protect ourselves, grab for more security, and avoid taking any risks. If things can’t change, why should I be the one to show courage, take chances, and make strong personal commitments?
But personal commitment is all that has ever changed the world, transformed human lives, and altered history. And if our cynicism prevents us from making courageous and committed personal choices and decisions, the hope for change will fade.” – Jim Wallis, The Post-Cynical Christian, HuffPost Religion
“We assume that we have some sort of control over our destiny, that everything lies in the choices we make. And to a great extent that is true. But our choices are always in response to Something Else. We are called to a life, to a work, to a dream, to our gifts. This calling is much bigger than us. We must commit ourselves to potential we don’t even know about yet.” — Vinita Hampton Wright, author and editor in The Soul Tells a Story
In light of this guidance, the third question is:
3) How can I, no, how WILL I be more fully committed to my gifts?
Go–stir up your commitment,
write down your plan,
pick up your gift,
take the first step,
and don’t look back.