Sunday, August 17, 2014
It's OK To Be Talented
Have you ever wondered why being talented doesn't always lead to the same place? Some people are very talented and also popular. It seems that everyone wants to be their friend. But for some people it seems that their talent tends to drive other people away. Next I'm going to say something that might be hard to accept, but I have to go there.
Here's my point: Talent is kind of like money–both tend to amplify whatever was already there. If you're the kind of person who tends to attract people into your world, then having money or being gifted in some area will probably enhance that. On the other hand, if you're a person who is difficult to be around, then being wealthy and/or talented will likely help people keep their distance.
I know, you're probably already thinking about certain people who are popular or in demand, and it seems that their money or talent help to make their issues invisible to the people around them. Sure, there will always be exceptions. But for now I'd like to focus in on how you and I can improve in some personal areas, and along the way possibly see some new perspectives about our own talents and gifts.
Depending on the field or arena you're in, it may be common to have only a few friends there. For where you are, this may be perfectly normal. But sometimes there are other factors at work. Some people in your world may withhold their friendship from you, since they may resent your talent. And yet other people are overly competitive and don't have many friends either.
But there's a hidden trap here that I'd like to help you avoid. Sometimes when people withhold things like approval or friendship, we try harder and achieve more in order to try and win that love and approval. But sadly, this only makes things worse with some of those people. If they had a problem with your talent and success in the first place, why would they like you more as you begin to succeed even more?
There will always be various people in your world. Some will celebrate you. Some will merely tolerate you. And some will have nothing to do with you. Some of this is to be expected in life.
However, if you have outstanding talents and abilities, then that can push tolerators and enemies even farther away from you. When you have obvious talents and gifts then there are those people who are already looking for an excuse to not like you or give you a chance. You may never win those people over, but that's ok. Not everyone was happy with Jesus, so today we can't expect everyone to celebrate us either.
But before you completely write off those people in your life who keep their distance from you, try to get some perspective about things. Some may never tell you personally, but they would give anything to have the kind of talent and success you've already had in life. If those people see themselves as inadequate or even as losers in life, then being around you may feel like having their noses rubbed in it.
I'm not saying this is all your fault. I'm just saying that sometimes that's just how it is. And while it might feel natural sometimes to reward their rejection with your rejection back toward them, can you see how a reaction like this can only make a bad situation worse?
As hard as it may be at times, remember that Jesus showed us how to love those around us who may never accept or celebrate us. He also showed us that giving up on our dreams and life's purpose in order to ease the tension around us is not a healthy option. God gave you the talent you have for a reason, and it's your job to make the most of it.
Let me wrap this up with a couple of encouraging thoughts:
1. Realize it's ok to be the package of gifts and talents God made you to be.
2. It may be time to find some friends outside your area and to enjoy friendships that are less likely to be competitive.
There's a healthy balance in all this. On one hand, you don't need to apologize for your talent or ability. After all, that came from God anyway. Sure, you and I can develop those natural gifts, but we all know that some things can't be faked. But while you don't want to apologize for what you're good at, you also want to avoid rubbing other people's noses in your success, intentionally or otherwise. You may have to spend some time praying and sharing with others about all this, but I believe it's very possible to find a way to be gracious around all types of people, regardless of how they feel about you and your gifts.
Bottom line, it's ok to be talented, gifted and special. But if you're also hard to be around, then you're pushing people away from you, and you may need some of those people to stay connected with your life in order to reach your ultimate success. So finding a way to build and keep as many bridges as possible is always helpful.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
–2 Cor. 9:8 NKJV
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