stories about life and God · stories about school

gifts vs skills.

i’m not good at admitting when i’m good at something, unless i’ve worked hard and practiced it for a long time.
for instance, i have no trouble jumping around my room rejoicing to my roommate that i got a 98 on an exam, because that’s not normal. school is the hardest thing in the world for me, and i studied the crap out of that for literally two entire days, and even after that i hadn’t expected even a 90.
or if i get a good time in a race. running is probably the second hardest thing in the world. so when i get up at the crack of dawn and push myself half to death for three months, of course i’ll pat myself on the back for it at the end.

yesterday in class i realized why this is. a skill is something you have to work at. you feel accomplished when you get better at it. it doesn’t come naturally to you and never will, but it can get easier, and you can improve in it. eventually you may totally fool people into thinking it’s easy for you.

but a gift is something you absolutely can’t take credit for, because you didn’t work for it. God just gave it to you. you aren’t born perfect at it; you can learn more about how to use it, or how to put it to different or better uses. you might be good at using it in a way that others aren’t, and there may be ways that you have trouble using it that others are good at, but you still don’t see it as hard for you.

also, you love it. you enjoy using it. you look for ways to work it into your life. when you aren’t using it, or can’t, you feel like something’s missing. 

writing is definitely a gift. no one taught it to me. i’ve always loved it, and i’ve always been good at it.
i’ve never been, and never will be, the best in the world at it.
i’m not close to perfect at it.
but it’s easy, and i love it more than anything. when i’m not doing it i go crazy. i honestly can’t function when i don’t have time to write(which is why, even though i have a paper to be writing right now, i’m writing this instead, because i haven’t in too long and i couldn’t focus or get anything done until i took a break). it’s comforting. it makes everything make sense.

it used to bug me when people would call me a good writer. i had no idea what to say, since it isn’t something i had to spend years learning and practicing.
but i’ve realized that’s because God is the only one who can take any credit for it. when people compliment me for it, it’s a chance to brag on God.
and because he gave it to me, i get to use it for him. that’s the craziest thing of all to me.

gifts and skills don’t have to be mutually exclusive. some things that are gifts for one person can be a skill for another.

like speaking. there are lots of people who are naturally gifted speakers, and there are plenty of people who aren’t gifted but can become good speakers with practice.

i am not gifted at speaking. i will never be good at speaking. after one class in high school, two in college, and too many awkward times of being forced into it, i’ve gotten to be a barely acceptably decent speaker. but it will never get any easier for me, and i’ll never ever enjoy it.

and i’ve learned that those, and other good-at-this-but-not-at-that situations, are okay.

i’m in the middle of writing a paper about my gifts and how God is going to use them in my life. my thesis is that whatever God’s call is for someone, it will include all of their gifts and passions, because if God gave them to us, why would he want any of them to go unused?

i learned that in costa rica.

so even though right now, i can’t see any way that God can take all these things that i love…
-writing
-middle schoolers
-discipling
-living life with people
-camp
-showing people what they’re good at(one thing i learned from CIU 101: that’s called being a developer)

…and make them into one plan for my life, i know that he will someday. he’ll take all those little bits of color, which are nice enough to look at individually, and make them into a picture that to me will be the most beautiful thing in the world. to other people it might not look so great, but that’s okay because God has different pictures that are perfect for them.

everyone who’s following God is following him in a slightly different direction. the reason we’re all so confused about where to go is because we’re looking at each other instead of at him.

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