By: Gail Armatys, HeartSong Life Coach
I went to a memorial service to honor a friend earlier this week. Not only was the service one of the largest that I’d ever attended; it was also one of the most beautiful.
Not beautiful because of the flowers (although they were gorgeous), and not beautiful because of the music (although it was lovely and meaningful). And it wasn’t the color of the stained glass windows or style of the sanctuary. No, the beauty came from the Spirit of the one we were there to remember and the Presence of the One who loves us.
This man we honored in tender laughter and tears was significantly gifted in the areas of music and art. In addition, he was witty, friendly, confident, and joyful as he went about his work. He was a singer and designer par excellence. He designed and decorated for business and pleasure. He sang with power, with heart, and with elegance. Everything he did created beauty.
As I thought about all he had been and done, I realized that the room was overflowing with family and friends for many reasons, a few of which were captured within the testimony shared on his behalf. Here are four of them.
- He knew his unique gifts and talents.
- He used his gifts and talents.
- He said yes to new opportunities that pushed the envelope and helped him and others grow.
- He lived in joy making life beautiful.
These four items don’t have to be true for only this one special man. While God designed each of us for a unique purpose, the call to implement these four steps into our lives is the same and can help us create a beautiful life, too. Here’s how.
- Know Your Gifts and Talents.
There are many ways to assess your gifts and talents. For some of us, it is clear what we are gifted to do and where our talents lie. For others, well, we need a little guidance.
There are assessments available that describe and point the way to your gifts and talents. There are also books you can read and personal guidance you can seek. One of the simplest ways to know is to ask and answer the following two questions.
- What do I do that I frequently receive compliments for doing?
- What do I enjoy doing most with my time?
If you haven never noticed that you’ve received compliments in certain areas from others, begin to pay attention now. Ask those close to you. Then, begin focusing on these areas. It makes choosing how to spend your time easier and increases your joy because you will find balance and satisfaction when you operate out of your God-given gifts and talents. And when your joy increases so does the joy of those around you. ‘If Momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy’ doesn’t just apply to Momma.
- Use Your Gifts and Talents
Now that you recognize your gifts and talents and that using them brings joy, what are you doing with them? Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Use it or lose it?’ I’m pretty sure it comes from the bible.
In the Parable of the Talents, told in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the story of a man who entrusted his servants with talents of money while he was away. He gave to each ‘according to his ability’. Two of the servants ‘put their money to work’ and gained more. The third man ‘dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money’ because he was afraid. Upon his return, their master was pleased with the two servants who wisely put their talents to work. As a result, they received more talents. The third servant, the one who buried his treasure out of fear had his talent taken away. I’d say this was definitely a ‘use it or lose it’ situation.
The bible doesn’t tell us what this third man’s specific fear was but he does tell his master that he was afraid because he knew him to be ‘a hard man.’ Maybe the servant thought keeping what he had was better than taking the risk of loss and receiving punishment from his master. Fear is indeed crippling and keeps many great things from happening in our lives.
How does this story apply to non-monetary talents and gifts? Every day we see athletes, musicians, business professionals, moms, teachers, students, pastors, and others who invest their time learning and benefiting others. Because of their investment, they excel…and they are rewarded for their perseverance and faithfulness.
It seems simple enough. But one caution – be careful when thinking you’ve worked so hard at something that you should be rewarded in the same way or same amount as others. Comparisons can be growth killers. Remember, ‘He gave to each according to his ability.’
God gets to decide because he is God and we belong to him. He determines the gifts and talents he desires and we need to accomplish his kingdom purposes. He expects us to use what we’ve been given and increase its value rather than hide our talent out of fear.
- Say Yes To Opportunities that Push the Envelope
Have you ever been asked to do something that was outside of your comfort zone? Maybe you didn’t accept the invitation because you didn’t feel you had the time. But deep down, the honest-to-goodness reason you didn’t do it was because you were afraid to fail.
Today, there are so many things to be involved in that we really do need to screen our opportunities. But when a door opens that includes the use of our gifts and talents, we need to do a double take.
Recently, my husband was provided with a push-the-envelope opportunity. One of his gifts is teaching. He knows it and practices it. So when someone asked his small group if anyone was interested in teaching a bible study at the local prison, he said yes. It didn’t take a lot of thought – and he didn’t even call to ask if it was okay by me! J He knew it was an invitation to step out of his comfort zone, affect other lives, and grow alongside those he teaches.
Here’s to forgetting ourselves enough to grow and to helping others do the same. Here’s to skipping the fear and being bold!
- Live in Joy. Make Your Life Beautiful.
The thing about most people who live in joy is that they are willing to discover or have already claimed God’s vision for their lives. This takes motivation, boldness, and guidance to be sure. Even more – it takes a knowing. Those who are happiest and most resilient …
“…know their purpose is about the unique way in which they serve others and make a positive impact on the world – and they live it out daily in their connections with people.”
Knowing and claiming our vision and intentionally pouring it out for others is an act of worship that brings joy. It makes life beautiful. For you, for me, for those we serve.
That’s what our friend did. With every song he sang, and every mural he painted, he joyfully gave his all. And as he did, he taught the rest of us that it’s what we are meant to do, too.
- If you aren’t sure of your gifts and talents, take an assessment, ask others, read to learn more, get guidance.
- Be bold. Decide to step out in faith and use your talents.
- Make contact with those who can help you find a way/place to use these talents and say ‘yes’ to an opportunity that allows you to learn more and put them to work.
- Share the joy you receive in using your gifts and talents as you serve others.
Father, thank you for friends who show me glimpses of you and your love. Thank you for those who know and live boldly your purposes. Help me realize and use the talents you have given me that I may live in joy and share the beautiful life you intended me to have from the beginning. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Listen to Your HeartSong Here!
With All I Am/Hillsong United
Live the song written on your heart.