If you are walking into stores and smelling cinnamon and being accosted by glitter, you're not alone. The Christmas season seems to be among us early this year. For those of you who love getting all the ornament/tree/wrapping paper shopping out of the way before Halloween, this is truly a season of glee. However, for those of you who are still recovering from astronomical electrical bills amassed during the summer's record breaking heat, the season of joy means finding money to buy gifts for everyone on your list. Again. Thanksgiving dinner, for those who celebrate the holiday with food, will come with the challenges of rising food prices, rising fuel costs for travel, and because the cost of living has gone up, some are also living with relatives they did not live with last year.
This kamikaze of change is enough to make anyone forget what they have to offer that money cannot buy. I'd like to add that some people use what they have to make a living. I'm talking about natural gifts. The talents you were born with. What you were uniquely given to share with the world to make it a better place.
Have you found your gift? What are you giving to the world?
I'm not really saying I've got the answer to what your specific purpose for being alive is, nor am I saying I know the meaning of life. But I do know that every person is gifted with something to give to the world.
I can play piano. I've been doing it since I was in 2nd grade. I cannot, however, play piano by ear. I am completely lost without sheet music. Playing piano, for me, is a talent. It is learned. Any person can learn a talent or certain skill set. But those who play by ear have a gift. Their brains remember where the sounds came from, their fingers remember where to go to bring that sound out of the keys without them making a conscious effort to memorize it. Both piano player types may practice, but the one who can play by ear has something the other type doesn't.
Playing by ear and only being able to be able to play what you can read is the distance between gift and talent. They are not the same, yet people mistakenly interchange the two.
I can sing. I've always been able to, since I was a toddler. On pitch. In key. Keeping tempo. Until the place of worship I attend now, I've auditioned and been added to every praise and worship team that existed. People have made room for me. I've sang backup on albums and worked with accompaniment track producers. Done worship sets for street revivals. I've also sang with the jazz band in which I also played piano. Singing is one of my gifts.
There are a lot of people who sing. People take voice lessons, even those who are singers by nature. But if singing isn't their gift, no matter how many lessons they take, they will not sing like those whose gift is singing.
Singing and piano may not be your gifts. But what do you do so well that you're practically known for it, that you can do with zero effort? What do other people tell you that you're good at, but you just shrug off because you've been doing it all your life and it's not that big of a deal?
Do you get lost in writing, whether it's your blog or poetry or stories? Does chatting up strangers in the coffee shop line come as easy to you as breathing? What characteristics are you drawn to in others? Usually we're attracted to what we have or what we want to see within ourselves.
How well do you know yourself anyway? There are oodles and gobs of personality tests out there. I am a fan of 16Personalities for personality testing because of how accurate their algorithm has been. A personality test doesn't necessarily tell you what your gift is, but it tells you more of what you are comfortable with doing, and that can help you set yourself up for your own contributions to the world.
Once you know what it is, and it could be many things, that you expressly offer to the world, go out there and give it. And give it your all.