What’s your gift? A gift isn’t necessarily something you automatically do well. It’s usually something you have worked at, developed, studied, and now you rise above the average because you are gifted and you’ve applied yourself to grow in that area.
My husband taught himself to speak American sign language at the age of 14, eventually working at the New Jersey School for the Deaf as well as interpreting at church and at many events. At 16, he taught himself German. He’s speaks German fluently, writes in German, and even preaches sermons in the German language. Over our thirty-year marriage, I’ve heard many people say, “You’re so gifted in language learning!” He is gifted. There is no doubt about it. But it didn’t just happen. He didn’t wake up one day speaking German. He spent countless hours working on it. While others spent their time doing other things they enjoyed, my husband spent time in a book learning the German language and listening to German speakers. To this day, he continues immersing himself in the German language so he won’t lose what he learned. There are others who have invested the same amount of time, but will never speak German as well as my husband does. It is a gift. But a gift must be developed.
What interests you? What do you enjoy doing? Therein lies your gift. Study it, develop it, and immerse yourself in it. Grow in your area of interest. And then use it to the glory of God.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
If your gift is writing, there are countless ways to use your gift, from sending encouraging emails, texts, and letters to publishing articles in magazines or writing books. Use your writing to encourage, teach, as well as for wholesome entertainment. As with any gift, the important thing is that you are faithful with using the gift you’ve been given to bring glory to God.
You may enjoy writing, but feel you will never be as good at it as perhaps John Grisham. Well, you don’t have to be him. All the things that you have experienced have made you the person you are today. You have a unique voice and you have something to offer to others. The important thing is for you to begin writing and keep writing. As you are writing, you will develop your voice and your gift.
Bonnie Friedman said, “Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing.”
When I start writing, I usually only have a glimmer of an idea. It isn’t until I begin writing that my thoughts begin to form and I find myself going in a direction I could not have seen if I hadn’t sat down and started tapping away at my keyboard. I’ve tried writing out an entire outline first, and then start to write. It’s fine to do it that way, but I found myself rewriting most of my outline once the writing process began. Ideas come to me as I write. Find what works best for you, and then do it.
Anne Rice says, “If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less.”
Whatever your gift may be, you must develop it and use it. And as followers of Jesus, we must use our gifts to serve others and to bring glory to God. When my readers reach the end of my novel, I hope they will have enjoyed a clean romance, but I also hope they will find something in the characters of my story that will help them desire to become better people.
In the song, Little Drummer Boy, the writer had it correct when she wrote the lyrics. “Our finest gifts we bring…to lay before the King…” and later it says, “I played my best for Him…” And finally, “Then he smiled at me, pa, rum, pum, pum, pum. Me and my drum.”
In order to give Him a fine gift, I must develop what He placed within me. In order to lay it before the King, I must use it to serve others, because Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”
Do you want Him to smile upon you? I do, too. So we must develop our gifts. Yes, I used the plural on purpose, for I’m sure you have more than one. There are many ways to serve others. I will close with this verse in 1 Peter 4:11 NLT that says it best.
“Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”