January 15, 2016
Last night, at our monthly church vestry meeting, we talked about recognizing and encouraging the gifts of others. Often, individuals aren’t aware of their own gifts. Perhaps they know they have a particular strength or skill, but they don’t see it as a gift – something tangible that can be given away. Or, maybe they know they have a certain gift, but hold back out of fear, anxiety or inhibition.
I think that we have to look inside ourselves first and recognize our own gifts. What might yours be? Is it your faith? It doesn’t necessarily have to be faith in God: It can be faith in yourself or in children or faith in humanity as a whole (one could argue that they are the same thing). Are there ways you demonstrate your faith that opens the same path for others?
Are you able to heal? I don’t mean to perform medical procedures! Those around us need healing from many different things, including emotional injury. Who among us doesn’t know someone who has suffered a loss? Or someone struggling to overcome regret? Do you have the ability to comfort them? That’s a gift! Have you taken your homemade chicken soup to an ailing friend? That’s a gift, too – a gift of healing!
I believe that every single one of us has a gift. Some of us have more than one. But we don’t always use them to our greatest potential. Think about your skill or your strength. Can you knit? Can you cook? Do you have a lovely singing voice? Maybe you’ve been told that you’re good with children… Or with the elderly. Now, what can you do with it? How can you share your gift?
If you’re having trouble answering these questions, then ask yourself this: What’s holding you back?
Here’s an excerpt from an author that I love. It was sent to me as part of an inspirational passage recently, from my friend Jan:
Marianne Williamson wrote, in her first book A Return to Love:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory…that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Only after we understand our own gifts, can we start to recognize and encourage gifts in others.
So, starting today, think about your gift: It was meant to be shared! Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll be on your way to being the best you that you can be!