Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boundless Talents

Hello, wonderful readers! I hope you are enjoying a restful Sunday. I know we are! :)

I'm a huge fan of Focus on the Family's ministry to 20-somethings called "Boundless". They publish articles several times a week, answer reader questions and maintain a blog called the "Boundless Line". Earlier this week, one of their writers posted an entry titled "Talents for a Season". The topic of the article really spoke to me and so I thought I would repost it here for everyone else to read too. You can find the original post here.

I recently attended the baby shower of a young woman in our church who I don't know very well. As part of the shower (which was for men and women), the host had guests affirm the soon-to-be (fourth-time) parents. Many of the people present lauded the young woman's amazing cooking skills and hospitality.
After the shower was over, I asked her how she became such a good cook. "When I left my job to stay home with my first, I needed a creative outlet; cooking became that outlet." I learned she had worked as a producer for musical theater. When I expressed how impressive that sounded, this was her response:
"I have a degree in musical theater and production. When people at the church hear that they always ask why I don't sing on stage. And I tell them, 'This isn't the season for me to use that talent.'" Instead, she went on to say, in this season, God was using her to cook, raise her children and show hospitality to the people who enter her home.
I think the woman's response shows wisdom and self-control. Too often I take pride in my talents and can feel defined by them. In fact, as a new stay-at-home mom, I am having to exercise completely different skills than I did when I sat at a desk from 8 to 5. Sometimes (in those small pity-party moments), I feel a little less special than I used to — probably because I'm not fully exercising the things I consider myself to be really good at, the things that garner attention from others.
But I want to be like this wise mother, soberly accepting the duties God has for me now, and not clinging to my former identity and talents. "Someday, the Lord may call on those talents again," the woman said, smiling, "but for now I'm in a different season." And very likely, that is precisely why an entire room of people testified to the impact she'd had on their lives.
 Now, before you start thinking that this applies to only women, married, or with kids,  that is most definitely not what the author is intending to communicate. That just happens to be where the two people in the article are in life. Later in the comments, she makes this observation:

Thank you for that. Yes, the point of this post wasn't meant to be the transition from single to married woman with child. I suppose it came across that way since both this woman and I are in this situation. But the point is: Do I dictate to God how He must use me based on my talents? It can be tempting because it's hard to argue with using the abilities God has given you. But I've also seen God intervene and take away a talent when someone wasn't willing to let it go and the talent became more important than the Creator who had given it.
For example, I used to be a singer. My family was (is) known for its musical ability. But when I got an illness during college, I lost my voice. It's never been the same since. God redirected me by taking away that talent. A guy I met was the front man of a band until he was in a car accident that crushed his face. He can still sing, but his opportunities are different now. He told me how difficult that identity shift was for him but how God massively used it in his life.
I think was is beautiful about this woman's example is that she is sensitive to the Spirit and knows God has put some of her talents on hold for now. I should have mentioned she does use her production background to occasionally produce services at our church.
So, yes, this is meant to be an everyone thing, not a stay-at-home mom thing.
 I will say that this article has been very thought-provoking for me. I think it spoke to something I was dealing with but had not been able to put a name to. I hope this speaks to someone else as much as it has me. :)

Soli Deo Gloria,

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