I love giving gifts wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons. It's a real delight to make the package beautiful. The real joy, though, is when I present the gift to the recipient and watch her unwrap it.
How disappointing it would be, then, if the person never unwrapped the gift I gave her; how lopsided an affair it would be, for the exchange would be incomplete.
As pretty as any parcel may look on the outside, it is the gift inside that matters. Unopened, it remains un-enjoyed, un-useful, and un-appreciated. I'm reminded of a quote Mary Kay Ash was known to say often: God didn't have time to make a nobody, only a somebody. She truly believed that every person has God-given talents waiting to be 'unwrapped' and brought out of the box of their heart into the open.
Yet, sometimes another person's gift to her world is 'packaged' so beautifully that a less confident person gets the perception that hers is not so wonderful, too little, maybe even second-rate. But that's the problem, isn't it? When every person has gifts of different shapes and sizes and uses, to compare ourselves to others it's quite like comparing ducks to horses. Both are wonderful species, but don't ask a duck to win a Derby race, and don't ask a horse to swim with the grace of one who has webbed feet.
Years ago I read the story of a young girl who took piano lessons; her parents hoped she would become a concert pianist. They found the best teachers and did everything to make it possible for her to succeed. Except, she really didn't have the exceptional ability for it. Not that she didn't have any music ability, just not the right combination to make it in the piano concert world.
As the girl grew up and thought about her life, she took the talent she did have and began to use it to teach music to handicapped children. And what fun she had and what joy they had! They loved her! What if she'd decided that since she was not talented 'enough', she wouldn't do anything at all with her ability? She still opened the gift and used it.
So it's not about fretting that we're not good enough -- it's about taking the size of talent we have and rejoicing that somewhere in this world someone needs and will enjoy what we have to give...........
You may have the gift of inspiring others to believe in themselves. So get busy and lead by inspiring others, all the while letting the teachers in your midst passionately share their love of learning.
You may be a giver by nature, always on the lookout for ways to surprise others. It's a beautiful gift.
Maybe you love serving others by helping them reach their goals or even dishing up dessert at coffee time. Where would we be without you?
And what about the individual with a gift for enthusiasm? In the midst of heated challenges, she can be like a cup of cold water on a scorching day, greatly refreshing someone who has wilted under the heat of pressures and commitments.
When we let go of the fear and just walk in our own giftings, gracefully doing what comes naturally, we will 'naturally' touch the lives of others in ways that will influence and encourage.
I believe that's a beautiful way to live!