I wrote briefly on this topic in my post 'You are Fearfully And Wonderfully Made' but I want to try and better expound on it. Why? Because this seems to be something I talk about with people a lot.
Let's start out with some questions:
What is something you enjoy doing? You know, when you do something and you feel a sense of accomplishment when you finished? What do you love to do, and would do even if no one else thought it was worthwhile?
Now, what do you feel you have a talent for? What do you consider yourself good at? Some of you are probably scrambling about looking for something to put in this category. Take a moment and look back at the first question. Is something you're good at, the same as something you enjoy?
"Oh, I enjoy it, but I'm not very good at it."
I've heard these words too many times from people's mouths, including my own. Why do you suppose we do this? Why do we say we enjoy something, but often not let ourselves consider we may also be good at it? Why do we often hide our gifts, or belittle them? If you love something, it's hard to step out and face possible rejection by sharing it... at times it can seem better to belittle our gifts so if someone should dismiss them, maybe it won't hurt so bad if we act like we don't care... We think maybe we should skip even the possibility of rejection and never show others the things we dream about...
But fear shouldn't keep us from shining a light with the gifts God gives us.
Now, you may truly not be good at something, even if you enjoy it, but here's a pretty good way to find out: Has anyone told you that you were good at something? If you've been told once by someone you trust - depending who it is, you can go by that. If you've been told several times by different people - you'd better start paying attention to their words. :)
Let me tell you something honestly. My singing... my fantasy writing... those are things I tear down about myself more than I'd care to admit. Sometimes when I'm really frustrated, others hear about it too. I've been blessed with some great friends who don't let me badmouth myself too much... but, like most people on the planet, I have days that I wonder about my abilities.
I can sing fine, I know that, but there are many others who sing so much better... why should I do things like sing solos in church, or write songs? I don't play any instruments. I couldn't tell you if someone is singing flat or how to change keys. I don't even know how to read sheet music yet...
I can write fantasy and I love my story, but there are so many who write better... Why should I continue to write this one more story with an orphan girl who finds dragon eggs? Why should I let anyone see my blundering through as I discover seemingly simple things? I don't have oodles of ideas and worlds and wonders waiting to be written. Besides very random short stories I don't write any other story besides the one I've worked on forever...
These are things I enjoy doing, but I can easily slip into downplaying them - not in humility, but in outright tearing down of the gifts God has given me to enjoy. I look at these things some days and go, "Why?" Why try? Why not let someone else do these things since they can do it better? Why me?
Ah. But this is the wrong mindset. It's not about me. God gave me gifts in these areas and He wants me to bring Him glory through them. These gifts don't look exactly like everyone else's. There are people who are better than me, but I can keep improving. My focus needs not to be on me - what everyone thinks of my writing, of my singing, of the things I do. My focus needs to be on God - what He wants, what joy He gets from my service, what ways I can bring Him glory.
There are, in all likelyhood, always going to be people better than you at something, but don't let that be your focus. Keep your eyes on God. When we serve God with all we've got, He is honored. Serve those around you - both those in the church, and outside of the church. It doesn't have to be something huge and seen by all to be a blessing to others. Give of your time and help in whatever situation God has seen fit to put you in. Love to do what you do because God gave you the ability to shine His glory in that way.
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
1 Peter 4:10 - 11
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
~Ophelia - Marie