What’s Your Talent?

How many times have we done something just because other people wanted us to do it?

“You have a gift; don’t waste it.”

How many times have we wanted to quit because we just couldn’t deal with the drama anymore?  Well, more often than not, people do exactly what is wrong for them and they put themselves through misery just to make others happy.

But, what about those people that happen to be brave enough to say, “Enough is enough”?

I applaud those people.

My mother always told me that God gives us gifts in the forms of our talents.  She also said that our gift back to God is utilizing our gift and giving it to him with our heart.  I know many people with many talents.  I know many people that have let others abuse their talents.

God doesn’t want a gift that isn’t given with your whole heart, and to try and give it to him half-heartedly is a mistake.  That’s not the point of the gift.  The point of a gift is the thought behind the gift.  You know how parents get all warm and fuzzy inside when their child gives them a piece of paper with a bunch of crayon lines on it?  That’s a true gift; it was given from the heart and not given because it had to be.

For those of you that ask others to give their gifts unwillingly, you should really be ashamed of yourselves because God doesn’t want that, nor does he appreciate it.

Learn who you are, then figure out where your talents fit.

When I was 17, I knew I did not want to go to college.

My best friend had just died and I sat in my room becoming a shell of who I had been.  My freshman year was looming and I knew I didn’t want to go.  My mother asked me if I wanted to take a year off and figure things out; figure out what I wanted to do and figure out who I was.

I had a decision to make.  I wasn’t brave enough to say, “I want to take a year off.”

I thought if I threw myself into college that I could forget that anything had ever happened.  I thought by forcing myself to take classes that I would figure out what I wanted to do.  I knew I was good at school, perhaps even talented at it.

Well, now I’m a senior and in many ways, I’m still the 17 year old girl that did not want to go to college.  I still have those hovering questions in my mind, all because I thought that I had to do the normal thing of going to college. I thought I would be a disappointment to others if I didn’t go.

I wish I would have taken a year off and figured out who I was before I leapt head-first into school.  I had other talents; I still have other talents.  Giving up on something doesn’t necessarily mean that you are quitting; it just means that you realize there are more important things to deal with.

I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I’m a granddaughter. I’m a golden retriever lover.

That’s who I am.

I happen to write. I happen to sing occasionally. I happen to play piano.   I happen to play basketball occasionally. I happen to dance.

That’s what I do.

If there is one thing people need to learn, it’s separating who you are from what you do.

My sister used to say, “Basketball is my life.”  Then she tore her ACL in January of 2010 and had to have reconstructive surgery.  Her coaches were told not to push her because it could end poorly.  Well, they pushed and at first it was okay. Then, the pushing became to harsh and psychologically trying. Then the pushing was taking it’s toll. They wouldn’t let up.

In January of 2011, she tore her meniscus and will be having reconstructive surgery again in March.

That’s when basketball became something she did. That’s when she finally had had enough. She was tired of being used and abused.  Using and abusing a gift isn’t a good thing.  Being pushed beyond your limits by other people isn’t a good thing.  Actually, it’s borderline abusive.  God doesn’t like people abusing his gifts, nor should your gift to God ever involve psychological harm.

Be smart enough to know who you are as a person, before you figure out how what you do fits into that.  Say, “I happen to play basketball, that’s my gift.  But, I need to work on my other gift of being a child/sibling/grandchild before I figure out where basketball fits.”

And if it fits, play it.

If it doesn’t…

Figure out who you are and believe in your other talents, because those are the ones that God wants to see; simply because those are the ones with the most meaning because they come from the heart.

Patience for the Unknown

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t fear the unknown.

The unknown is an endless array of possibilities, hopes and disappointments.  Frequently, we are taught to go after the unknown and all of its glory.  But what happens when we’re scared to venture into that dark and scary chasm?

Since I was born, my mother has been telling me the same thing over and over, “Have patience.” She’ll say it, and I’ll roll my eyes and laugh.  The truth is: patience really hasn’t ever gotten me anywhere simply because I am not a patient person.  Having patience for the unknown isn’t something I’m good at. I constantly wonder what it is I should be doing while I sit around being patient.

Patience is tough in any situation that life throws.

Let’s look at the scenario of dating.  You meet this guy and you think, “Well isn’t he hott?”  You talk over drinks.  You’re gauging his body language; he’s leaning in, he’s smiling, your hands touch, he’s talking to you and he’s actually listening, and then it happens….

You kiss.

It’s not a big deal; a soft peck on the lips with an embrace. Nonetheless it happened and now you’re left wondering, “Where do I go from here?”

Then, you wait.

Dating is an unknown abyss of promise and heartbreak.  If you’re like me, you always think of what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing and whether or not that other person feels even the slightest shred of emotion for you.  You wonder if you misread the signals, and then you wonder if maybe you’re the one that was wrong.

You sit and bask in the unknown. The fear will either eat at your core, or you can learn how to embrace and conquer it.

Ultimately, you have to decide if you’re willing to be patient, or if you need to take a risk.  There always seems to be rules that people are supposed to follow: “Don’t text right away,”  “Don’t scare him away,” “Let him chase you,” “Don’t rush it.”

“Be patient.”

So, what do you do when you face the unknown? Do you follow the rules, or should you simply be patient?

If you’re like me, you’re patient…

and you hope to God that your mother is right.