What if we all believed we were gifted?

Memorizing bible verses wasn’t a part of my childhood so I don’t have a random Sunday School collection of them rattling around in my head. When one comes to mind now it’s usually because I went searching for answers during an adult crisis, found a passage of scripture that was particularly meaningful, and wrote it in my journal so I wouldn’t forget it.

“…We have different gifts according to the grace given to us.”
(Romans 12:6)

This snippet reassured me at a time when I doubted if my life had any purpose at all, and since then I’ve quoted it many times to people when they’ve said they had no special abilities or talent.

Yesterday it popped into my consciousness while looking at an old family photograph. In it are my grandfather, my father, and his two brothers. They were all artists. I’m pretty sure three of them wouldn’t have agreed with that statement, but nevertheless each in his own way produced art.

Ramon, Henry (Harry) Sr., Harry and John (Jack) McGuire – 1948

Henry (Harry) Sr. and Ramon – 1964

One brother, Harry, created exceptional oil paintings. The other three – my grandfather, my father and his other brother Ray – were bricklayers. They worked in a different medium, and with bricks, blocks, stone and mortar created a useful, yet eye-pleasing kind of beauty. They all worked with passion and discipline, striving for quality.

In retrospect, I realize it wasn’t just my parents, but the whole extended family that taught by example what it means to use one’s abilities and give one’s best in every endeavour.

The lessons we learn throughout life will be reflected in our goals. As writers, I think they affect the stories we are driven to write and the degree to which we strive for excellence in the writing. Some authors use words to produce exquisite beauty, some allow us to enter other worlds or feel the emotions experienced by fictional characters. Some are skilled at communicating knowledge with clarity.  They all possess different gifts — i.e., they are all gifted — but I wonder if they realize it. Do you?

I never imagined a scripture verse memorized so long ago would provide such revelations all these years later. It has me wondering what the world might be like if we all acted as if we believed we had been gifted by God.

~

Have you identified the gifts you were given? How do you make use of them, or are they dormant?

~  ~  ~

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15 thoughts on “What if we all believed we were gifted?

  1. So great to see these photos, taken the year after my marriage to Harry Clarke McGuire. Yes, they were very talented, an artist and three bricklayers. And here they were, off on one of their hunting trips!
    Yes, I know that I have many gifts that have been given to me for which I am very grateful.

  2. Love this piece!
    Your line about them not agreeing that they were artists is what hit me.
    I think we sometimes do not realize how creative we are…how much of an artist we are within our own special talents. I will be the first to say, I don’t see mine where others do sometimes.
    The challenge becomes accepting the fact that we all carry so special talent or artistic ability. Maybe writing like you, music like many of my friends, art like some I know or lesser known artistic traits like great speaking.
    I would love to know how the world would be different if we would all embrace our talents and share them.

    • Carol says:

      Hi, Joseph. Often people deny their gifts because they believe creativity means they must be able to paint a picture or play music. I like to refer them to Isaiah 11:2-3 where gifts of wisdom and understanding are mentioned as two of seven special gifts from the Holy Spirit, and I Corinthians 12:4-11 that lists more. People are gifted in many different ways!

  3. What a great question and post. It is wonderful to know we are all gifted. The language arts are expressed in all chapters of my life, and I’m often told I have the gift of encouragement. God’s grace, because sometimes there have been dormant periods for reasons of health and loss. Good things happen then too. All His grace and love. Thank you and blessings, Ellen

    • Carol says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Ellen Grace. All His grace and love are there for us when we acknowledge the goodness that comes to us from God, and can be thankful in good times and bad.

  4. Loved this, Carol. A good question to think about – and it’s always interesting to look back and see the gifts in previous generations. LOVE this picture. And I agree, A good mason is a good artist, creating things of beauty and usefulness, too.

    • Carol says:

      Thanks, Diana. My father was a stonemason, and I loved watching how he selected just the right shape and colour of stone or brick, seemingly at random, to produce a finished design that was both subtle and balanced. I think of that sometimes when I see weavers and quilters creating their beautiful fabric art, selecting just the right piece to work within the overall.

  5. S. Etole says:

    I’ve never been quite sure what mine is. It is a great question though.

    • Carol says:

      Susan, I think it can be very difficult to discern qualities within ourselves. It helps to ask trusted friends what strengths they see in us. Sometimes their observations are surprising revelations. 🙂

      • torimcrae says:

        Great post Carol. Seems to be a theme to the blogs I’ve read today. Yes I know what my gifts are. An involved Christian all my life has afforded me numerous opportunities to discover what my gifts are. They mostly involve communication in some way — teaching, leadership, and encouragement. This is the first school season in a number of years that I haven’t taught a Bible class or led a Bible Study. My purpose at this time in life is to pursue the communication medium of writing; to learn to be a better writer and better communicator. Knowing my gifts really helps me to focus my life in a productive direction.
        Tori McRae

    • Oh Susan. You have a gift of sight. And how you capture what you see and help me see. How you weave images and words so simply. What a gift.

  6. I never thought about my dad being an artist. He was a carpenter, though, by trade. And built our motel and later a house attached with his own hands. And he had (has) no patience with shoddy work. His father and grandfather played the dulcimer (grandfather for Henry Ford’s orchestra–and also wrote poetry.) My mom created beautiful documents from the words of others and wrote poetry. And we had many needlework artists in the family. We’re all creative in our own way. We just have to claim that fact. 🙂

  7. When we find freedom and love in what we do, it’s a sure sign we’re gifted in that area.

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