Tag Archives: talent

But- What If You Can??

mysterious“Potential.” It’s a word we both love and we hate, depending on our expectations. If we expect we’re good at something (meaning “great”), then to hear someone say we “have potential” can set off a firestorm. Potential?? What “potential”? I already rock!

Well, maybe not quite. But you could rock – without the attitude. (Did I say that . . .?)

On the other hand, if we don’t have any idea we’re good at something, then to hear someone say that we have potential is huge. “Really?? Me?? Potential?”  “I have potential . . .!”    

I remember when I was a kid, people always used to tell me two things: “You draw really well” and “You should take drawing lessons.” Now, I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I needed drawing lessons if I could already draw “really well”. (I was young.) What I didn’t understand is that I had a talent for drawing that needed to be developed. I had potential.

So, let’s fast forward through the years. Let’s say we were told we had potential and we did work it and now we’ve taken the plunge and “put it out there” – whatever it is. It could be a song, a biz plan, a sports tryout, a book, a proposal at work, whatever; we’ve put our heart and soul into it. And then let’s say it’s not received with the “Halleluiah, it’s here!” that we’d hoped to hear. What if, to our shock and amazement, we’re actually confronted with criticism about how to change/improve our work? When that happens, we will hear the critique one of two ways: we’ll either hear, “You can do this; just re-work this part or tweak that part.” Or we can hear, “That’s terrible! What were you thinking?? You’re horrible at that!”

But here’s what we need to hear: There’s a massive difference between being unable to do that thing and being uneducated about doing that thing.

In other words, not knowing how to do something is vastly different than not being able to do it.

I am certain that when receiving criticism, we often take it to mean that we’re being told we’re just not good enough and even that we’ll never be good enough. We end up believing that we “just don’t have what it takes” and sadly, sometimes, we quit. However, in reality, that’s not at all what’s being said.

Recently, this was brought home to me when I discovered the existence of a writing technique that editors love and expect to see – and which I knew nothing about. So I read up on it and then began to re-read my own fiction, looking for this technique. I discovered that I was weak in this area and that, while I’d “accidently” used it, I wasn’t using it deliberately or consistently enough. Did I feel stupid? Absolutely – the “how could I have missed that??” kind of stupid. For about five minutes. Then I had to get over it and get back to work. I had to learn about it and start practicing it.

Most fields are always changing and evolving – medicine, education, engineering, politics, the arts; there are always new theories, new truths, and new trends blowing up what’s “always worked”. But I’ve discovered that when we think our thing has hit a standstill, then we’re probably missing something. And when a new trend happens and we’re unaware it, we can mistakenly conclude that “I can’t do” when what we should be saying is, “I need to learn to do.”

“Potential” – talent, ability, aptitude, whatever we call it – never disappears. What might disappear is the mindset needed to keep it fresh, relevant and effective. The thing is, you’ve got the talent; just develop it.

Then work your magic.

What’s In Your Hand?

Candle in Hand“What’s in your hand?”

This is one of the most important questions we can ask . What do we already have that we can use, develop, share, multiply, or work with?  It’s a question we must ask ourselves, and it’s often the question God will ask us.

What do we have that we are responsible to use?  What strength, talent, resource, gifting, insight, or ability do we have to help people, provide for needs, solve a problem, earn a living – or whatever else the current dilemma may be?

Here’s the issue: we are so used to looking outside of ourselves for help or provision that we forget to do what God often wants us to do: to start with whatever we might have – no matter how small or seemingly insufficient – and trust Him to make it all we need.

Take David, for example.  What did David have that he committed to God to use?  A slingshot and a stone.  Even when King Saul offered to David his royal armor and sword (which is a very big deal for a king), David turned them down and chose instead to use what God had put into his hand and not what man wanted to put there.  And we all know how that turned out.

Another example is when the disciples came to Jesus, requesting that He provide for 5000 hungry men and their families.  Jesus’ response?

“What do you have?”

The disciples – very often like us – were baffled by His question.  Their panicked response was that they had only five loaves and two fish.  In other words, “We got nothin’.”

But to Jesus, it wasn’t “nothing.”  It was what was in their hands.

Can God make something out of nothing?  Of course.  When He made the universe, he didn’t even have any stardust.  And sometimes, when we truly have nothing, God works with that.  But because God is as interested in growing our faith as in solving our problems, He requires us to step up and be involved.  And we do that by offering what we have and then letting Him multiply it.

The Bible is full of this principle.  In I Kings, Elijah asked a widow for some water and bread.  When she answered that she had only “a little oil” to mix with enough grain for one last meal, the prophet told her not to be afraid and to bake him a small loaf of bread. Then he took what she had and multiplied her oil so that she and her son never went hungry again.  That wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t given what she had.

Another example is the woman who broke the alabaster jar of perfume over Jesus’ feet. In her defense (because, of course, someone had to criticize her for it), Jesus’ response was,  ” ‘She has done what she could do’ ” (Mk. 14:8).

Isn’t that all any of us can do?

 Even when all we have is very little – as was the case with the widow who had only two pennies to put into the offering at the Temple – to God it’s enough.  Jesus pointed out that widow and told His disciples, ” ‘She has given everything she has.’ “

She gave what was in her hand.

Who else?

Noah gave his time and energy to build an ark and, as a result, God saved the lives of Noah and his family.  Hannah pledged her only son to the Lord – and God gave her several more children.  Joseph gave his protection and provision to Mary and Jesus (when he could’ve walked away), and God gave him the reputation of being one of the greatest fathers in history.  Esther offered to God her influence with the king in order to try to save her people – even at the risk of her own life – and God saved everyone’s life and blessed Esther  as well.  Mary, herself, when asked by the angel Gabriel if she would consent to being the mother of the Messiah (because she could’ve said no, too) she risked everything – her reputation, her future security, her very life – with her response:  ” ‘I am the handmaiden of the Lord.  May it be done unto me as you have said.’ ”  She gave what was in her power to give – and trusted God with it.

What has God put into our hands?  It may be a resource – money or possessions; it may be a talent or ability; it may be an act of obedience.  Whatever “it” is, it’s never too small or insignificant a thing to offer to God.

The Lord has put a pen into my hand – and so, in an effort to be faithful to what He has given to me, this site, “DestinyHighway.com,” was born. My goal with it is to help you to take what you’ve been given and – make your destiny happen!

What’s in your hand?