“I’m such an idiot!” This is an expression that often comes out of our younger son Dylan’s mouth much to our great chagrin. Although we know he uses it to do a fair amount of manipulation, we also realize he does feel ungifted at times. He struggles with learning disabilities which in turn make him feel like he can’t do anything right. He compares himself to those around him and he believes he is always behind. However, as we give him chores and tasks here at home, he has begun to discover that he does, indeed have plenty of areas of giftedness.
He could be super detailed when it comes to manual things. He’s got amazing control of his fine motor skills. From puzzles and Minecraft to neatly folding sheets, blankets and clothes all the way to picking up and decluttering his room Dylan has a truly keen eye for organization. He is also very aware of people’s feelings, which not only gives him an incredible ability to know exactly what buttons to push and how to best annoy each and every one of us including the dog, but also gives him a heightened sensitivity to know when I am not feeling well and need one of his healing hugs.
As parents, it is our job to pay attention and recognize our kids’ abilities and areas of giftedness to then help them explore them and develop them. When they feel like “idiots” it is our job to point out their strengths and talents. When they feel like losers, it’s important we re-direct their energy into seeing their worth and value. It is our job to remind our kids that they should not compare themselves to anyone else, because they are gifted too, just in different ways. If we don’t, our children may grow up thinking they are good for nothing, getting lost in self-pity.
I believe the same happens in God’s family. We have a hard time seeing our strengths and talents. For some reason, we often feel like losers that are good for nothing. Upon occasion we think we are just idiots lagging behind while everyone else is way ahead, enjoying their lives and gifts. We lose sight of where our worth really is. We forget our value is in Christ. We forget that our worth is not on what we do or who we are, but on what He did and on who He is!
Also, I believe that as a Father, God points out what our gifts are. It is His job to remind us that we all have gifts, and that even though they are not all the same, they are all uniquely fit for His plan and purpose:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
In addition, I also believe God places individuals in our lives to remind us as well. The same way God places parents on this earth to help kids discover their gifts; He places people around us to show us too. Like parents see the gifts in their children clearly when the children’s vision is blurry, those walking alongside us have an easier time seeing the areas we are gifted on clearer than we do. Therefore, the implications are two-fold:
1. Let us not neglect our job to be on the lookout for the gifts of those in our lives.
2. Let us be open to hearing those around us express their opinion about what they see as our gifts.
Discovering our gifts is a life-long journey, sometimes. And this journey starts by recognizing we do have gifts. We are all uniquely gifted. The rest is a matter of listening and seeing while we serve. We listen to God’s Word and to the word of those walking alongside us. And we see others not to compare ourselves to them, but so we can serve as their compass when they feel lost too. And we do it all as we offer our lives in obedience to the service of His beloved.