My mother was a skilled and talented seamstress. She made elaborate draperies and table clothes without patterns, and designed and made her own clothes and many of mine. Her skill at altering clothes to fit was amazing and she was able to accurately hold colors in her mind and find accessories that perfectly matched and complimented.
Sewing was a source of creative expression and relaxation for her, yet, one day she complained, “Everyone in the family is talented musically except me. God skipped me when he handed out talent!”
I was surprised by her comment, and reminded her of her tremendous sewing skills. Realization dawned in her eyes. “I guess you’re right,” she said. “I was only thinking of one aspect of talent.”
Many of us don’t recognize and utilize our gifts and talents. Here are five ways to discover yours:
Examine the Obvious
Make a list of things that are easy for you and you do well. This should be a simple assignment, but for some reason, many of us feel we are bragging if we acknowledge our strengths. Each of us has gifts and talents. The Bible documents gifts and talents in both the New and Old Testaments—the skill of laborers in building the temple, the construction of elaborate, jewel-studded garments, musical talent, public speaking, discernment, and leadership, to name a few. Acknowledge, cherish, and use your gifts and talents.
Look from a Different Perspective
Often we don’t realize organizational skills, mathematical acuity, technology “smarts,” or the ability to see the “big picture” in planning and projects as gifts. Performance-based, stand-on-a-stage kinds of talents usually get the spotlight, but all the details that are handled off-stage and back-stage are just as important. So have a second look from a behind-the-scenes perspective and you may recognize your gifts for the first time.
Consider Your Heritage
Gifts and talents often run in families. While this may partially be the result of observed and learned skills, it also may be attributed to generational gifts. If your mother and grandmother were good listeners who also could discern and council with wisdom, you may also have this gift. If you father was a strong leader, but also known for his compassion, this may describe you, too. You may have a desire to serve others because of the example set by your parents, grandparents, or siblings. Looking at your heritage may help you discover gifts and talents.
Often, we stay so busy we fail to recognize our strengths and talents. Set aside time for creative pursuits and you may uncover your gifts. If there is something that keeps coming to mind that you’d like to be involved in, or investigate more closely, this may be a nudge into a deeper understanding and utilization of your gifts. Fan the flame of your gifts by taking a class, attending a conference, or making time for personal study. Creativity fuels forward motion.
Sometimes we are so focused on those whose gifts and talents are more visible, we fail to see our own. Ask friends or family members what they observe to be your strengths. Something may be very obvious to them that you do not detect. Also, ask God to show you your gifts. After all, he created you and uniquely gifted you with talents and skills.
My grandmother had a way of quietly reminding me, and others, that when we don’t use our gifts and talents, we are missing out on blessings. Make it a priority to discover and utilize your gifts and talents.
“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.” 1 Peter 4:10 TLB
©Candy Arrington 2019