January 15 – Using my gifts

“God gives everyone certain attributes, characteristics, talents, and then He says ‘If you use what you have I’ll increase it, but if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.’ Use it or lose it; it’s the law.” (Charlie “Tremendous” Jones)

Growing up in Catholic schools, the parable of the talents was one that was drilled in to me at an early age. The nuns taught us that if we do not use the gifts God has given us, then we will lose them. That we must always be striving to use our gifts. This always scared me a bit. What if I wasn’t using my gifts right? Would I wake up one morning and that gift would just be gone? And, how was I supposed to even know what the gifts were? What if I was doing something I liked to do, but that wasn’t my gift? Such heady questions for a young mind.

One thing I have grown to understand about myself, and God’s plan for me is that it isn’t static. My gifts and talents are not a specific set bestowed upon me at birth, and kept hidden from me until some magic moment when I stumble upon them. Instead, quest to understand what my gifts are, to nurture them, and to use them for the common good, lasts a lifetime. Every day I am tending the garden of gifts I have. I am constantly learning how to (or how not to), apply them to be the best me I can be.

This quote inspires me to remember that it is only through constant practice that my gifts are honed. Some things that I once considered gifts may whither from lack of use. But that is necessary to strengthen those which I hold important.

I no longer obsess about whether I am fulfilling the plan God has for me and my gifts. And, I am pretty sure that I am not a dormant savant at something I just haven’t stumbled upon. Rather, I now work to constantly improve those characteristics and skills in me that bring joy and fulfillment to myself and those around me. To me, THAT is the key to unlocking my own gifts

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