Today in church we looked at the parable of the talents (Matt 25 14-30) and reminded ourselves that a) we all have talents and that b) there is an expectation that they are used AND invested, ie both short term and long term visioning. What can I do now and what can I have the vision to develop? (See Saturdays post on ‘you are where you are supposed to be’.)
But even as I reminded people that they all have something to offer I realized that for many people understanding what they are good at is difficult. It may be difficult because it is so intrinsic that you don’t even know you are using your God given talent (that we can call humility) or because some people just have no self-esteem (some have a very healthy self esteem and we love them all the more for it). But some people believe that they have nothing to offer and its years of conditioning in some cases that has gotten them to that point. Thinking ‘I have nothing to offer’ is one of the great tragedies of life – thinking you are worthless is awful! Jesus calls us to live … say it with me now … ABUNDANTLY!
But offering talents when you have been told you have none is near on impossible and offering talents when everyone around you seems to be so very good at what they are doing is even more difficult. It takes a huge amount of courage and vulnerability to offer up our talent for further growth and development. Remembering that we all have to start somewhere, at some point and that even a little offering (a 2 talent offering) is worth investing!
Julia Cameron in her book the Artists Way has a very useful and very powerful little exercise about understanding jealousy. What you do is write down the people you are jealous of and the reasons why. When I did this exercise it was hugely illuminating for me. Mostly because I am not jealous of the things I thought I would be jealous of. Instead I found mine ran to envy (euphemistically she calls it a prettier word) of women who could stand in their power, women who had the courage of their convictions, women who even though they may be attacked and brought down for their public outspokenness did it anyway, wrote anyway. And why was I jealous? Because I want to be that courageous also and because I wanted to write, speaking up about what I believe. Would you believe that that little exercise amongst other things led me to this blog? I thought, hang on a minute, if I am jealous, it must mean I secretly want to be doing what they are doing, and who said I can’t do it? So, here I am, writing for the sheer love of it and offering my talent in a small and courageous way… I have lost count of the number of times people have told me my vulnerability is refreshing – it makes me freak out a little – what am I revealing that makes them say that (Don’t answer that, I would rather not know – grinning).
The point is this – find out what you are secretly dying to try and find a way to do it. We all have a passion and we all have a responsibility to follow that passion – it’s why we were created, we were created to be who we are! My friend Liz says, often the most critical people are the most self-critical people – when we are hard on ourselves we are hard on others and perhaps that is born of a desperate desire to be who we know ourselves deep down to be. SO!!!!! Discover your talent and offer it back to God, for the more you use it and follow it, the bigger it can grow – NICE…