Here’s a guest post by Rebecca Belliston. She’s a wife, mother, writer, and awesome friend. Enjoy her words of wisdom.
If you were a body part, which would you be? No, seriously. Think for a moment and decide.
Maybe you would be the:
- Mouth because you like to talk
- Foot because you like to move
- Eye because you like pretty things
What do you do?
Often, when we first meet someone and we’re struggling to make small talk, they’ll ask, “So…what do you do?”
How do you respond?
This is a common question because it helps us put people into nice, well-defined boxes. It helps us remember people and figure out what makes them tick. “Oh, she’s a doctor. He’s a teacher. She’s a nuclear physicist. He’s the Prince of Wales.” Just like that, BAM, we’ve boxed them, nice and tidy. It’s how we define people.
We box ourselves too—or try to, if only so we can answer that question.
Just a few weeks ago, I was getting my hair cut, and the hairdresser said, “So…what do you do?” I answered my typical answer, “Oh, I’m a stay-at-home mom.” She nodded politely. “Oh, that’s nice.” A long, awkward silence followed. To make it less uncomfortable, I followed up with, “But I also write books.” The lady perked right back up and began asking me questions about writing. She’d found a box to put me into.
Needless to say, I don’t love that question.
“So…what do you do?”
If you’re like me, you sometimes struggle to figure out your own boxes. In fact, I think it’s easier to define other people’s boxes rather than our own. When it comes to ourselves, we’re usually better at the I’M NOTs than the I AMs. Women, especially, seem to be experts at making “I’m not” lists.
- A clean-house kinda gal
Elder Uchtdorf said, “Much of the confusion we experience in this life comes from not understanding who we are.”
I love the story of the ugly duckling who turns into a swan. In so many ways, that describes us as we live this life behind the Veil of Forgetfulness. We don’t always know who we were before we came to earth, who we are today, or who we will become someday. Thankfully, someone does.
If the Savior were to sit down beside you on a bench and ask, “What do you do?” would you answer the same way?
Even further, if the Lord were introducing you to someone else, do you think He would say, “Oh, she writes books.” Or… “Oh, she’s a doctor.” I don’t know. He might get to that eventually, but I don’t think He would start there.
But for a moment, pretend the Savior asked you, “So…what do you do?” And you were to answer with your profession or hobby. What do you think His follow up question be? Obviously, I’m guessing, but maybe something like,
“And how have you used those gifts to bless others?”
Because it’s not wrong to have gifts and talents. We shouldn’t be afraid of them or embarrassed to share them with others. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Think of how Heavenly Father answered this question Himself in Moses 1:39.
Behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men.
Not…I create worlds without end, make mountains rise, suns to collapse, or new species on new planets. His work and His glory (in other words, His job and hobby) is to help us. That’s what He does. That’s how He defines himself.
Purposes of our talents and gifts:
- Bless ourselves. Make us happy. (Writing books brings me joy. It’s my escape, my happy place.)
- Bless others. Make them happy. (I love to read as much as I love to write. I’m grateful for the talents of other authors.)
- Build up the kingdom of God on earth. (As members of the Church, we covenant to use our abilities to help build up the kingdom of God and bring him glory—to help him with his purpose.)
Write down one OUTWARD talent you have, and one INWARD talent. For example:
- Outward talent: baking, music, sports, organizing, etc.
- Inward talent/spiritual gift: charity, faith, knowledge, wisdom, etc.
If you’re struggling with this, pray about it, ask others about your gifts and abilities (since it’s easier to see it in others), and refer to your patriarchal blessing if you have one.
Once you have your two gifts/talents, write down 1, 2, and 3 from the Purposes list, and figure out how your abilities can bless you, others, and the kingdom of God.
How are you doing with those three things?
I’m convinced that knowing and seeing the purpose of our gifts and abilities will not only help bring us happiness, but will help bless the lives of others. It will help us feel less ugly duckling and more swan. For each one of us has something beautiful and glorious to contribute while we’re here on earth, and it is something unique, that only we can contribute.
Read and ponder 1 Corinthians 12. Not only does this go through spiritual gifts, but Paul gives a beautiful analogy of the body of Christ, and how we are all members of it, fulfilling different roles (talents), to create something beautiful. Hopefully you’ll find the need for the type of body part you chose up above.
Reread 1 Cor 12:18; 25-27 a few times.
Let it fully sink in.
Then read chapter 13 and add charity to your list since ALL of us should want this in common.
Once we figure what part He’s making us into, we can find out how to bless ourselves, bless others, and help build up the kingdom of God.
Elder Wirthlin gives a different kind of analogy, likening us to musical instruments. He said,
Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. That sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. (Sounds like the ugly duckling, right?) The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.
Listen to this song and ponder the lyrics.
I don’t know your weaknesses. I don’t know your strengths. Honestly, maybe you don’t either. But your Heavenly Father does. In fact, He could fill out your talents and gifts list faster and better than you can. Let Him help make your life better and happier, so in turn, you can use those gifts and talents to bless not only yourself, but the lives of people around you, to help us build up the Kingdom of God on earth.
For there is something you can do that no one else EVER BORN can do.