I believe we are all gifted. Each and every one of us!
Some years ago I had a dream: I am hiking in the woods and am using a walking stick. This stick, however, is not something I picked up off of the ground. It is a beautiful polished piece of wood. Then, in a scene right out of Sherwood Forest, I come to a bridge. At the other end of the bridge is a fierce-looking man also with a stick. I realize that, to cross the bridge, I would have to do battle with him. I wasn’t upset by that; however, before stepping out on the bridge, I set down my own walking stick because I didn’t want it to get banged up!
A vivid dream. It took a while to discern some meaning. Finally, I realized that the stick represented my gifts but that I was hesitant to lay claim to them out of fear. I would just as soon keep them buried. In that way, I could avoid criticism or failure of any of a dozen other things that might happen if I expressed my gifts.
Why fear a gift? Well, for one thing, responsibility comes with a gift. If for example, you are blessed with intellectual gifts, you can use that gift in an irresponsible manner to manipulate or control others. Also if we express our gifts, we may come under criticism. Better to keep quiet, we might think.
In our culture, we have a narrow view of gifts, tending to focus on physical beauty, athletic skill, or intellectual ability. But there are so many other types of gifts. There is artistic ability, leadership, a capacity to communicate vision. There are those who can bake things or grow things. There are people of deep compassion. There are those who can make us laugh. The gift is endless in part because the God of my understanding is a God of plenty.
I encourage you to identify and embrace your gifts. Stop hiding your light under a bushel basket. Share your gifts with those around you. It is something we are all called to do.
Reflection: 1. What are your gifts? How do you express them?