In Others’ Words: Gifts

“Everyone is gifted — but some people never open their package.” ~Unknown

In my family, I’m known for one particular gift-giving tradition: Each Christmas I misplace at least one gift. When I realize that, yet again, a gift has gone a-missing, I promise to give it to the ever-patient recipient when I finally come across it–usually months later. I’m still hoping to find two gifts I hid much-too-well a couple of years ago — one for my husband, another for my oldest daughter.

Easy truth: Unless I find those gifts, my family members won’t ever get to enjoy the things I selected just for them.

Sigh.

But those gifts are just things. Losing God-given gifts — the talents that make you a unique individual — that’s worth more than a disappointed sigh. I’m not saying every talent has to be opened front and center stage. Not every writer will make the New York Times bestseller list. Not every singer will earn a Grammy or a Dove or CMA award. Not every dancer will open on Broadway.

But everyone has gifts. The question is, what are you going to do with the gifts you’ve been given? Tear the wrapping off and share what’s inside of you with others? Or misplace the gifts — and realize you’ve misspent your life?

In Your Words: If there were a stack of gifts and I asked you to pick one from the pile and claim it as yours, which one would you pick? Not an “I wish this was mine” gift. An “I know this is mine” gift. Have you opened your gift? How are you using it?

 

 

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29 Comments

  1. December 5, 2011, 6:04 am   /  Reply

    Great post! God has a plan for our lives, and He has gifted us to fulfill those plans. And there is such joy in discovering those gifts and using them.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 6:12 am   /  Reply

      One of my favorite things as a mom has been encouraging my children to use their gifts and talents — and then watching the creative ways they’ve done so!

  2. Patti Mallett
    December 5, 2011, 6:06 am   /  Reply

    This is such an important truth, Beth! Thanks for the reminder. (It’s just the day for it, around here.)

    And, Beth, know that you are not alone!! One year I forgot about the trash bag of gifts for my daughter, still hidden in the kiddee-pool, in a dark corner of the basement. (She was finished unwrapping LONG before the boys and her pile was painfully small. She, of course, still remembers but can laugh about it, which says a lot about my daughter!)

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 6:13 am   /  Reply

      Thanks, Patti, for letting me know I’m not the only misplacer of gifts! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. December 5, 2011, 6:09 am   /  Reply

    That is profound, akin to someone receiving a gift but perhaps permanently delaying opening it, which some of us do spiritually, & perhaps in terms of writing, too. Thanks, Beth–and hope you find those two well-hidden gifts.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 6:13 am   /  Reply

      The nice thing is, Dee, my family loves me even when the gifts go missing. We laugh about it it now. It’s become a (silly) tradition.
      Sigh.
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. December 5, 2011, 6:11 am   /  Reply

    Beth, a very powerful statement that you closed with really hit home: “Misplace the gifts and realize you’ve misspent your life.” That is so very true. For a long time, I had difficulty discerning that the very things that brought me the greatest joy were gifts to be used. I thought, “Oh, it’s nothing, everyone can do that. It’s nothing special.” It took a beloved mentor pointed out that they were gifts, not just enjoyable pasttimes. Then God changed my focus and I began opening and using those gifts as He intended. Thanks for your great post!

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 6:15 am   /  Reply

      You make an excellent point too, Donna: Mentors have huge influence in our lives. They often are the ones to encourage us to unwrap our gifts — to be brave enough to embrace the gift and then share it with others.

  5. December 5, 2011, 6:24 am   /  Reply

    This reminds me of God’s gift of grace. SO many people are reluctant to accept God’s gifts of salvation and grace because they’re not good enough. That’s what’s so amazing about those gifts–perfection not required.

    The gift I claimed as my own is a welcome mat covered in hearts. I share my heart quickly–sometimes too quickly. I hurt when others hurt. I want everyone to feel welcomed and comfortable. I open the door, greet with a hug, and share my heart whether it’s in my home, my church, my job, or in my writing.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 6:36 am   /  Reply

      True on both counts, LJ. God lavishes his grace on us (Ephesians 1:7-8). And I have been blessed by the gift of your loving heart many times.
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. December 5, 2011, 6:51 am   /  Reply

    Thanks Beth. I love what you have shared today.
    We are doing a book study at our church right now called Chazown. I recommend everyone look it up on line. It is to help you discover what your gifts are, matched with your unique life experiences to pinpoint your God-given dream or vision for your life. The man who put this together uses a phrase throughout:
    Everyone gets somewhere, but few get somewhere on purpose.

    That is the idea of misplacing the gift and never using it to fulfil what God has created you for.

    Blessings!

    • December 5, 2011, 10:27 am   /  Reply

      Jodi,
      I looked at that information the last time you mentioned it. I liked what I saw and hope to study it.
      What a compelling thought: Everyone gets somewhere, but few get somewhere on purpose.

  7. December 5, 2011, 7:00 am   /  Reply

    Great post Beth. And it jsut goes to show, there’s absolutely no room for pride. Because the gift isn’t ours. It was given to us by another.

    • December 5, 2011, 10:28 am   /  Reply

      True, Katie, true.
      The most amazing gifts are those wrapped in humility.

  8. December 5, 2011, 7:11 am   /  Reply

    Reminds me of the parable of the talents (the money)–I guess in that case, the talent was given but buried and not used. Similar, right?

    One of my gifts is hospitality. I love having people into my home, feeding them, and letting them have a night of relaxation while I serve them. Makes my heart happy.

    • December 5, 2011, 10:29 am   /  Reply

      Ah, the gift of hospitality. I have been refreshed by that gift many a time. Truly a precious gift to share with others.

  9. December 5, 2011, 7:35 am   /  Reply

    My mom does the same thing sometimes! I love it when she finds a birthday gift in January or February. (My bday is in September – hehe!)

    To answer your question, vision. The big-dreaming, forward-thinking kind. I’ve been a bit stuck in “today” lately, and that’s not the Melissa I want to be. So, that’s the gift I’m picking up…

    As always, thanks for the awesome encouragement!

    • December 5, 2011, 10:30 am   /  Reply

      Embrace that gift of vision, Melissa!
      And you’re right: My kiddos have never turned down a “Oh, I finally found it!” gift.
      ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. December 5, 2011, 8:27 am   /  Reply

    Many people have told me I have the gift of encouragement. That makes be happy because I love the idea of being a cheerleader. I never stood a chance of being one in school since I was more the geeky uncoordinated type, but I can be one in life. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • December 5, 2011, 10:30 am   /  Reply

      You, my friend, are one of the most talented, gifted cheerleaders I know. Definitely varsity squad.
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Jeanne T
    December 5, 2011, 9:28 am   /  Reply

    As I read your post, I thought of the blouse my mom bought for me as a Christmas gift one year when I was a teen. I was so excited about it! When paper was all that remained under the tree and the blouse wasn’t in my pile, we hunted for that blouse. ๐Ÿ™‚ My mom concluded later that she must have accidentally thrown it away. We laugh about that now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love the idea of claiming and unwrapping a gift that I know is mine. I choose joy. God’s joy dwells within me, I just don’t always choose to let it determine my responses to life’s circumstances. This is a great season to cultivate joy and spill it out on those around me. Thanks for your thoughts on gifts, Beth!

    • December 5, 2011, 10:31 am   /  Reply

      I hope joy came wrapped in a huge, huge box, Jeanne.

      One Christmas I received an initial ring. Same thing happened: It disappeared in all the wrapping paper.
      Sigh.

  12. December 5, 2011, 11:39 am   /  Reply

    I’ll take the gift that you left for me at my blog … Bravery! It helps to have a little as I step outside of my comfort zone with my writing and publish my book independently.

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 12:00 pm   /  Reply

      Joanne: The gift is yours and it’s opened! Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Sarah Forgrave
    December 5, 2011, 6:41 pm   /  Reply

    Wow, what a powerful post, Beth. I feel like I’ve finally unwrapped my gift now that I’m writing, but there might be others I need to discover yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 9:51 pm   /  Reply

      Sarah,
      I am certain there are other gifts waiting to be unwrapped!
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. December 5, 2011, 7:31 pm   /  Reply

    When gifts come in the form of a talent or knack for something, it usually takes work & determination to achieve your full potential. And the motivation needed to pursue making the most of that gift can be hard to find, especially if we don’t know where to use it, or why we’ve been entrusted with it. I think if we look at the “gift” as a gift not for or to us, but for God, the One who gives the gifts, then we may feel more of a sense of honor & responsibility (as in the parable of the talents) to make the most with them, and to do our best—for God. We can certainly enjoy the fruit and blessings that come from using our gifts, but I think the greatest satisfaction and joy comes from knowing we “played our drum” for Him, and played our best for Him (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum… sorry, couldn’t resist. :D). Just my opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      December 5, 2011, 9:53 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you for putting music to this post, Camille.
      Seriously, you are so right to consider the “why” of the gift … especially spiritual gifts, but also any talent that we possess. Are they merely for our own enjoyment or to be used for others’ benefit?

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