Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why It's Important to Identify What You're Good At

There are some things I'm really good at (and believe it or not, I've only just recently been able to give myslef permission to admit those things). And some, not so much.

I recently heard some teaching on why it's important to identify your gifts and talents because that's going to be where God uses you. He gives us all gifts and talents, so don't for a minute be deceived into thinking that you don't. The enemy would love nothing more than to see you stuck for a lifetime, believing you had nothing to offer God. You do have something to offer. Just start asking Him to show you. Then, when we identify what we are good at, line it up with the will of God, then focus on walking out His will for our lives, we won't always be grasping at straws, trying to figure out what we're supposed to be doing all the time.

If I were being honest, I would have to say that I've done that for most of my life. Sometimes I wonder where I would be right now if I had focused solely on my singing from the time I was 18 and got a full scholarship to college in vocal performance? That was 18 years ago. What would I be doing now if I had really put my energy (even though at the time, school was hard and I was discouraged) in that gifting from God and followed the path He set me on, instead of poking around aimlessly outside of His will, ultimately getting off track?

 I think of the Israelites. God's plan to give them the promised land never changed. It was His purpose and His promise for them all along. But they, in their stubbornness, were the ones who kept getting off course by their disobedience and defiance. Did they ultimately make it to the promised land? Yes they did. Was it God's fault it took so long? No way! His plan doesn't change just because you decide to.

But how much quicker could they have gotten there if they had just obeyed and trusted Him all along the way?  But don't spend much time focusing on "what could have been" in your life. God is a redeemer and He can set you right back on your path whenever you're ready. Regret is an emotion that never serves us well, so don't waste your energy on it. Focus on God's promises instead and you'll have hope for a bright future! (Jeremiah 29:11)

I once had an evangelist, who worked in the gift of knowledge say, as he was praying for me, "For some reason, as I'm praying, I see a dandelion. I don't know if this makes any sense to you, but like a dandelion, you're just all over the place!" He had no idea just how much sense that made to me, because I was, and still am to some extent, "all over the place." I just want to do everything, all the time, and I never really get anything accomplished. I'm a mess sometimes! So what would happen if I kicked to the curb all the stuff that I was doing (which I've done over this past year) and  only worked on what I was good at, what brought me joy and what I was productive in?

Here is an example of really focusing on what you're good at and spending your time and energy on it, instead of trying to be something you're not.

I love to write. I've been writing since I was a kid and have always felt confident in it. For a while now, I have felt like I have a few book ideas being birthed in my spirit and I am praying for God's help with them. Me being me, I could say, "Wow, Suzie Homemaker at the "My Perfect House" blog just wrote a book on cleaning and organizing, I could do that! I think I'll write a guide for home makers too!"

Foolishly, I get all worked up with excitement and think that I can do what someone else is doing, only to find out (after falling on my face) that I was never called, anointed or gifted to do it in the first place! Unless God were to work a divine miracle (which He very well could), I should NEVER  even attempt to write a book on how to clean and organize a home (unless it was an "I Overcame Being a Slob" kind of book), because quite frankly, I suck at it! It's an area of real weakness for me, so why should I be giving any advice on how to keep your house clean, when I don't even clean my own most of the time?

Should I invest time and energy into my home? Absolutely. Should I be striving every day to do the best I can to keep a clean orderly home for my family, since I am, in fact, a homemaker? Yes, I should. But is it a struggle? Yes. Do I fail more often than I succeed? Yes. Should I be writing a book on how to clean and organize when I don't know the first thing about doing those things well? And should I expend time and energy there when God never called me to do it in the first place? Absolutely not! But, so often I do just that. Expend time and energy on things I'm not gifted to do, instead of aligning myself with God and focusing on the gifts He did give me and putting my energy into those.

So, back to the book. What if I started to pray for God to help me find an area I am gifted in and moved forward from there? How much time, energy and frustration could I save if I went with His plan instead of my own? I have been doing just that actually. And He's been leading me in such remarkable ways!

One area I'm gifted in and have a lot of insight on, is faith. I have a lot of faith. And I love to talk about it, I love to read about it, I love to meditate on it and I love to encourage others in their faith. So, should I spend time and energy writing a book on faith? I'm thinking, "YES! That sounds like a great idea!"

Start asking God to show you what you're really good at, what your passions are, and what you should really be focusing time and energy on in your life. He will show you and He will lead you to the call He has always had for you, if you follow His lead.

So, I wanted to share some of the things I believe I should be focusing on in my life...

I define being "good at something" as not having to work up much effort to perform a task well. Also, if something comes easily and rather naturally, or is easily understood, or something that I enjoy doing and feel confident in, that would satisfy me as being something I'm "good" at. Here are a few of those...

1. I  am a good wife. I am not perfect (my husband would attest to that), but being loving, devoted, faithful, helpful, understanding, an encourager and being his biggest fan is not hard for me. It all just comes easily and I'm proud of the fact that I take care of him and his needs and that he is happy (which makes me happy).

2. I am good at singing and performing. I've been singing since I was a small child and have worked on developing what was initially just something that brought me joy, into a real skill that I now do very well. It's effortless for me and expressing myself through song is one of my greatest joys in life.

3. I'm a good mom. It's the hardest job EVER, but succeeding at it is non-negotiable. When you have kids, you then have to be committed to doing your best for them, period. And again, I'm not perfect, but I always have her and her needs at the forefront of my mind. I want to mother well. I wanted my daughter before she was ever even conceived. I am so grateful for her and for what being a mother has taught me about life and about love. Loving and taking care of her comes naturally and I love it.

4. I have a faith gift. I'm good at seeing the good, even in bad situations. It borders on craziness at times, but sometimes faith does seem crazy. God asks us to believe Him in all things, and I take that command literally. In fact, I take all of the God's word literally. I have the faith that what He asks me to do is for my ultimate good and that all of His promises are true. For whatever reason, this comes easily for me. I doubt a child could explain why they trust their mom or dad when they say, "Jump off of that ridiculously high whatever and I'll catch you." The child has no doubts and without a moments consideration, trusts their parent. With glee they jump right into their arms. That's sort of how I am (for the most part...again, not perfect). I don't even consider if God is trustworthy, I just know that He is, and I simply, trust.

5. I am a good writer. I am not the best or most clever, but I don't suck. And I like to do it, which makes all the difference.

So, if you're struggling in the area of finding God's will for your life and your areas of gifting, pray something like this...

Father, as I move forward today, help me to focus in on the gifts and talents you've given me, helping me to create a life that will bring you glory, always. Help me to work on my weaknesses with Your help, because I know that in my weakness, you are strong. I know I am the daughter/or son you always wanted and that you've had a plan for me all along. I trust that that plan is in Your hands and that You will bring it to pass in my life. I love You and praise You for who You are.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

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