3 Keys to Changing Your World- Discover, Develop, DeployAdeshola Ezeokoli
One of the things my Pastor, Kayode Ijisesan talks about a lot, is using your gifts, talents, callings and abilities to help others and draw people to God. Now, everyone has some type of gift, a natural ability, a skill that others can be blessed by. The question is, will you use yours or will you let it die? Some people have many gifts and talents, some have a few. Everyone has at least one. For some it is a organizational ability; for some it is business acumen; for some it is academic achievement. Singing, dance, acting, writing, speaking, painting, teaching, various sports are some others. There are other gifts that may not be that obvious until a person is challenged in a certain area. Gifts such as empathy/ compassion; being a good listener; being an encourager or motivator; being motherly/fatherly; friendliness, patience etc. Some people have certain good character traits that stand out far above what is the norm. These are all gifts.
1. Discover your gift(s):
What problems can you solve easily? What problems are you drawn towards solving? What is that thing that you would do if money was no object? What are you passionate about, that you are competent at doing? What do you do with ease, that other people comment on? Have people commented on your singing voice? You may have a gift in this area. Have people complimented your handling of difficult conversations with a great outcome? You may have a speaking gift of some type(there are different kinds of speaking gifts). Have you been told that you should be a motivational speaker? Listen to those voices. They may be giving you a clue as to what your gift is. Do you talk to people, and they just “get it”? You may have a teaching gift. Are little children always coming to hang out with you? You may have the gift of being motherly/ fatherly( this has nothing to do with being a parent- I have two children, but I do not have that gift ). Personally, I like to encourage people, I like to give information and I like to write. I happen to be good at these. Gifts? Definitely. I also like to sing. Gift? No, I can carry a tune and definitely have some musical ability but I would not call myself a talented singer.
If you have told yourself for years that you do not have a gift, this is a narrative that you will have to change. Study yourself. It is amazing that a lot of times we do not study ourselves, but we spend a lot of time studying other people. Ask the people closest to you what stands out about you. Pray to God for wisdom and insight into what your gift is. Do not envy other people’s gifts. You have your gifts for a reason, and for all you know those people whose gifts you wish for, may be wishing for yours.
2. Develop your gift(s):
Well now you know what your gift is. Congratulations! What now? Your gift, undeveloped, it like a diamond in the rough. Like a diamond, it will not shine until it goes through various processes that can help to bring out its beauty. Yes, you have a great voice: work on it. Take vocal coaching. Practice everyday. You have a speaking gift, good for you. Read books on public speaking. Practice your English or whatever language it is that you normally speak. Stand in front of a mirror and give speeches. Take elocution classes. Join toastmasters. You have a gift of empathy: don’t keep it to yourself. Study the life of Jesus and how He used compassion to change the world. You can play basketball: hooray! Go to the basketball court daily. Study the playing styles of the great masters. Go to games. Watch games. Develop your gift or you will become a nuisance instead of a blessing. Sometimes developing your gift may mean getting a degree to improve yourself. Get a degree, it is worth it.
3. Deploy your gift(s):
This is where it can get tricky. I am not saying quit your day job and “follow your passion”. No. You do not have to leave your job, to use the gifts God has given you. Volunteer in church. Help someone with what you know. Help as many people as you can with what you have. You do not have to wait until you get the proverbial “big break”, until you deploy your gift. You may never be famous and that is okay. It is better to be known by a few for the good that you did them, than to be known by no one, for nothing. I happen to be a pretty good speaker( if I say so myself ), but I can count the number of paid speaking engagements that I have had. When I have the opportunity to speak at a gathering, or counsel, mentor and encourage someone, I take it. I deploy my gift of writing by blogging and writing books. My patients are happy because I encourage them along the lines of keeping to their health plans . I tell people all the time: “You can do it! ” You can find ways to deploy your gifts everyday, because you want to be a blessing. That is how you “let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven”.
In what ways have you used your gifts? What challenges have you had in discovering, developing and deploying your gifts? I would love to hear from you.