Wednesday, November 16, 2011

THE FOUR "A"s, PART TWO

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."
~Romans 12:4-8

I had to giggle to myself this morning. I heard one message, then read two others that addressed my theme for today's meditation: ability. Coincidence? I don't think so. Just strong confirmation that I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am being led to do. That is just what today's reading is all about ~ recognizing the gifts and talents we have been given, and using them to bless others. How I hope this message blesses YOU!

Since I was a little girl, there are three things I remember dreaming about ~ being a mom, being a teacher, and being a writer. My collection of dolls filled my first classroom. I'd prop up my blackboard, chalk in one hand and eraser in the other, and teach everything from spelling to cursive to math. I even taught my dolls to swim in my living room! By the fifth grade, I realized my love for the written word. My love affair with penning short stories, poems, and lyrics was passionate from day one. My best memory from high school was when my creative writing teacher included several of my pieces in her annual school publication.

As I meditate on this passage in Romans, I know how blessed I have been to witness my dreams come to fruition one by one. My first and most heartfelt dream to be a mom was answered in a big way. Before our third anniversary arrived, we had four kids under our roof, satisfying that deep longing for motherhood. My second dream to teach was realized a few years later, first at home with my own kids, and then in a private school. To this day, I am still blessed with the opportunity to teach as I tutor high school boys in our home. My third dream, to be a writer, continues to unfold before my eyes. I don't know where it will lead. I am certainly not confident enough in it to call it a "gift" or "talent". But I have already enjoyed the process of completing three children's novels, an autobiography, and an adult novel. This past summer, I felt a strong calling to begin a writing ministry in the form of this blog.

Wow...God has been so good to me. The dreams he planted in my heart decades ago are now part of my daily round. Not only has he equipped me to live them, he has opened doors of opportunity time and time again. So why do I sometimes look at others and wish I had their talents? A girlfriend of mine shared this same longing with me. She shared that she wishes she had the gift of putting words to paper. I looked at her, astonished. This beautiful, vibrant, GIFTED woman was feeling as if she was somehow lacking, even though her list of talents is a mile longer than mine.

Why do we expend energy on wishing for a different talent than the ones God has given us? Afterall, he can't call all of us to be singers, pastors, or doctors. This passage helps me better understand that if we could access whatever talents we coveted, we wouldn't be able to recognize our true calling. Whatever our gifts and talents are, they have been placed in us for a reason ~ TO BE USED. Instead of wishing I was something I am not, I think it's time I celebrate the way he created me to be. Imagine the possibilities if all of us would step up and use our God-given gifts and abilities to their fullest measure.

This past year, God has been showing me that I keep too tight a grip on the abilities he has placed in me. I have had to stop, pause, and recognize what he is calling me to do, and DO IT. This blog is a small step in the whole process. Everyday I sit down, pen in hand, and let the words flow through me. I often wonder if they are benefiting anyone ~ if anyone is even reading them. But that is not under the umbrella of my responsibilities.

Yes, I still wish I had the gift of song...the gift of speaking...the gifts of Martha Stewart! But the truth is, I am already living my dreams. I have to believe that if I am using the abilities he has placed in me, he will use them to bless others. Whatever your gifts are, the same holds true for you.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
~Judy Garland                     

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