This is a hard topic for me to write about because today I still struggle with knowing what my God given gifts are. I danced for 5 years of my life and was not the most graceful ballerina. I tried baseball, softball, golf, and cheerleading and my participation in those sports were definitely not my gift to the world, lol. I went to a school that thrived in its athletic department, so imagine how I felt as a person who was not athletic among the masses of athletes. I grew up in a crafty household, and now that I think about it, the majority of my friends were artistic, where here I was making the best stick figures around.
In high school it was almost as though I had an identity crisis. Who was I? And what was my contribution to the world? I mean I had done several cool things; gotten a law passed, spoke at charity events (which is weird considering how shy I was), won a national award for my advocacy work, participated in many after school clubs, created a fundraising team raising money for cancer research, and graduated 11th in my class with honors. I had big, out of the box, ideas and dreams, yet still felt as though my participation and contributions were small because of my insecurities and feeling like my ideas wouldn’t be accepted. It seems I was always overshadowed by a confident group of kids and conformed easily to their ideas.
Being in the social work program now and looking back on my high school years, I can see how my lack of self-esteem hindered me from being all God wanted me to be. I’ve always possessed leadership qualities, though rarely acted on them. I’ve always had a lot to say, but rarely did I share. My family tried to help me channel my gifts and talents but it was within my peers that I would lose my focus.
I have had the opportunity to interact with and communicate with high school students in the past few months and it was upsetting to see how many students were like me; lacking in confidence to use their gifts. They openly said that they were shy and their confidence and esteem had been lowered because of peers. If more and more people are in the position I was, how are we ever going to be able to express ourselves? How are we to make our mark in the world if we don’t believe our contribution is good enough?
We live in a world that gives us so many opportunities to showcase our strengths. Why is it that there are still people out there rooting for others to conform to the norm? What is the norm? The norm changes wherever you go. If I was to conform to the ideas of my peers, I would not be a benefit to the world. I’ve accepted that I was created to look different and I believe I was created to BE different. I never wanted to be that high school girl that didn’t speak up and I will never be that girl again.
I would like to challenge you to think about what your God given gifts are. How are you going to use them? Do not let anyone get in the way of you using your gifts to make a mark on the world.
Tomorrow I want to discuss the importance of a positive attitude and how it’s helped me overcome obstacles and challenges.