Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever - 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
When it comes to fixing things, for the most part, I am all thumbs. I have gotten better over time, but I usually look up the appropriate professional when it comes to repairing the more difficult things around our home. There use to be a time when I would be jealous of those individuals that can easily repair the routine items that break in addition to possessing the talent to plan and tackle the more complex projects that require guys like me to spend money out of our pockets. Why do they have the gift to be talented with their hands and I have to struggle with simple items such as driving a nail into a board without bending it?
Men, why are we reluctant to embrace how different we are from others? I think there are a few reasons why we don't embrace our differences and appreciate and use the gifts that we have been blessed with. The first is that we are insecure or don't really know who we are. We are either hesitant to start the journey of discovering who we are because we are afraid of the answers or don't know how to go about uncovering who we are. The second reason, which in some cases is more insidious than the first, revolves around society encouraging us to fit in. This societal norm has been a part of the majority of people since childhood. "Don't take risks", "don't cause any waves or draw any attention to yourself are some the mantras that have been preached to us. This type of societal advice runs counter to what we are as men. We are made for adventure. We are made to color outside the lines. The only way that we can do this effectively is learning to embrace our uniqueness and the differences that come with being individuals. We must learn to use whatever gifts that we have to positively impact our world and lead our families.
How do we learn to find and use our gifts? The first place that you need to start is by taking inventory of the things that you truly enjoy doing and seem to come easy for you. Let me caution you that when you engage in this exercise, you will have to do 2 things: 1) You will need to be brutally honest in this self assessment exercise as you identify your gift and 2) You need to be ready and willing to act upon utilizing your gift after you have correctly identified it. If you are not willing to do these 2 things, you may as well not even start the process. It pains me to see my fellow men that struggle with the concept of embracing their differences and not living up to the potential and settling for being like someone else. As Soren Kierkegaard (a Danish philosopher, poet and theologian) stated, "the deepest form of despair is to choose to be another than himself."
Starting today, resolve to discover your gifts and use them to serve others. Take some time to go to a quiet place where you won't be disturbed (I know that's tough for you with young ones, but this is a life changing task!) and begin the process of uncovering your talents. The discovery will not happen overnight, but with consistent effort and God's help, you will find the things that make you unique.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.