Thoughts on value

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Have you ever met one of those people who received an insane amount of talent, and every time you realize the depth of that talent you just want to hate them? Ok hate them is really strong term, you actually really admire them and want to be them but to save face you tell people you hate them. I came across one of these this past weekend at my in-laws church. She was playing the flute and has incredible tone and is really good (I used to play flute in what now feels like a former life, and I couldn’t have produced that kind of tone to save my life). I leaned over to my sister-in-law and told her she was really good. Then for special music this girl sat down and the piano to play and sing. This required the remark, “oh I hate how good she is”. My sister-in-law said to me, “you should hear her play the dulcimer” (the dulcimer? who plays the dulcimer?), which only furthered the thought that someone had been handed too much talent. Then she (my sister-in-law) added the final blow, “you should hear her sing the music she has written”. Uh you have got to be kidding me. Song writing is one of those talents that I have always admired. I write some poetry, but I can’t put music with it. It is something I don’t understand, but greatly admire. I also took seven years of piano lessons but can’t seem to get my left hand and right hand to do something different at the same time.

As I was thinking about this I was reminded of something my grandfather and my dad used to say to me, quite often, “There is always going to be someone a little better than you”. With the way my mind works this was actually a really depressing thought because I naturally thought, “Well then that means that the person who is a little better than me has someone who is a little better than me, and they have someone a little better than them… ” You get the neurotic thought process right? I found this so depressing because I used to find my value in my gifts. If I was admired because I could sing, then I was truly valuable. If I was a good student or reader, then I was truly valuable. The list goes on and on. Wouldn’t you know that God gave me the “gift” of being a jack of all trades, master of none. I dabble in a whole lot but wouldn’t consider any one activity the one that I live and breathe for (which in retrospect is actually a good thing). This kind of gifting always left me feeling lacking in every area.

The past several years God has done a lot of work in this area of my life, breaking me of this destructive thought pattern. I have had “gifts” or the opportunity to use them, stripped away until I found myself doing nothing that I would consider a talent. I was doing tasks and work that I thought of as unimportant and definitely lacking the flash and glory of what I wanted to be doing. In this time God taught me to find my value in Him. I am not the sum of my talents, I am valuable because I am His and He created me. These times of disappointment and heartache seemed overwhelming at the time but as I look back I am so thankful for them and what they taught me.

As I was sitting in church this past weekend after I had jokingly made those comments I found myself thanking God for the talents that He has given others and that they share with me. I find myself in a place where I feel contentment and peace with who God created me to be. I don’t have others on a pedestal with unrealistic ideas of what makes them great, and I don’t have fits of jealously that short-circuit my ability to serve using what God has given me (ok most of the time… I have my moments of weakness). I am so thankful for what I have and who God made me.

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