What Do I Have To Offer

Intro

The concept of belonging somewhere is intimidating for all of us because it hinges on the very vulnerable issue of our self-worth. When you’re moving to a new installation and starting all over in a new school, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about how you are going to approach situations this time. You consider what you did before and think about what you want to do differently, because we constantly look for ways to belong more fully and completely. It might be overwhelming at times and maybe even make you wonder - what DO I have to offer? Keep reading to find out how God made us all in unique and special ways, so that we each have something to offer.

Story

One of the characters I like the most in superhero stories is the rich boy who discovers he can do something that matters. Sometimes that makes him into a bad guy, but more often they become heroes themselves. It’s really fun to watch, and I think one of the main reasons we have such a fascination with their transformation into superheroes is because we get to witness the start and the result of them figuring out what they have to offer.

In the movies there is always that realization moment when the character finally “gets it.” They finally understand that they have skills and that they can use those skills to enact change around them. You know, that’s something we have in common with them; we all have skills and the ability to use them for good or evil. Maybe you haven’t had that Aha! moment when you connected the dots about what your gifts and abilities are. That’s ok. Seeking after them and then discovering how to use them can be some of the most invigorating and challenging times in your life.       

Here is a story from thedailygreen.com “40 Inspiring Stories of Real People Making a Difference.” As you read it, notice how the young woman first found her ability through a personal interest/passion and giving a try to something new. Then she started impacting the people around her, like her family and neighbors; and by the end it’s extended even further. This is a very good example of what our skill discovery might look like and where our development should go. The Lord created us to not only experience personal realization and transformation, but, so that we could help bring it about in the world around us!

“I wanted to nominate my wife, Rosamaria Caballero, for the Heart of Green Award consideration.

Rosamaria set out to green our home about 18 months ago and when she realized how much research it was to pick the right showerhead and the right non toxic cleaner and dimmable CFL she realized that green would never go mainstream without a little help from a local green friend.

She created a woman- and minority-owned company, Green Irene LLC to train local people (via the web) to be a force for green in their communities and also make a part time professional income doing something they can feel great about: Greening Our World, One Home and Office at a time. She is the original “Green Irene”: That green, non-judgmental friend you wish you had to help you green your life without making a hobby out of going green.

Her Green Irene Local Eco-Consultants, just within a year, are in over 30 states and number almost 100. She didn't just green her own home, she set out to green the homes of 1000s of people and create a trained team of people who can make a green difference in their local community.

Please consider Rosamaria for one of the Heart of Green Awards. She is using private enterprise to bring the green message and implement solutions, not just to her own community, but through her Green Irene Eco-Consultants to 100s of communities. And she is just getting started.”

Bible intro

Maybe all of this talk about abilities and talent sounds ridiculous to you. You think “I’m not a secret wizard or something. I’m normal and not that special when you get right down to it.” This is so far from the truth! God created you individually. He made you with a personal and unique piece of him in you for you to reflect back to the world so that they may better know him. Look at this psalm and notice how deeply, completely, and perfectly God created you, knows you, and loves you.

Personal Questions
Can you remember a time when you were doing something that felt natural, you gained energy from it, and learning the ins and outs seemed to happen effortlessly, like everything was falling into place? What skills and abilities where you using?

Do you really buy into this idea that God created you with specific abilities?
How does the idea of impacting others make you feel? Does it inspire or scare you?
How do you think having God in your life impacts how you use your talents and abilities?
Prayer

Lord God, You are so amazing! You created us all so uniquely, and yet also as a whole. We were meant to belong and commune with you and with others. It’s so incredible when I think about you forming me inside of the womb, and how you placed these abilities in me that I can actually use to impact other people. Thank you for creating me so purposefully. You constantly show me how important I am to you and how much you treasure me. Help me believe in and be accepting of your love. I want to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and shown what I have to offer to others. I know that through your guidance I can do something wonderful! Amen.

411

Perhaps you feel reluctant to put the effort into discovering your skills and gifts and then continuing that hard work by using those talents to improve others lives. It is a big task and it might not seem worth it. That’s why it might be interesting for you to read this article on CNN.com: “The Importance of Belonging”(even just the first half before it gets into different case studies.)  In it you will find details about the physical benefits belonging has for us. Honestly, it is always amazing how perfectly we are designed by God. He makes something spiritually good for us also to reap physical and mental benefits. Then he compounds that by making what is good for us also good for those around us. How amazing! As you think about how all of this fits into your life, consider Ephesians 5:15-20:
“So be careful how you live. Don't live like ignorant people, but like wise people. Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days. Don't be fools, then, but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.
Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.”

Quizical

Here is a great tool for understanding more about your abilities and skills. The information offered on this website goes into a lot of detail about different aspects of your personality and the ways God is reflected in you. So don’t feel overwhelmed and feel free to go as in depth or superficial as you want. This quiz is a great place to start learning more about what you have to offer.

The website with all the info: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/

The website with 2 shorter versions of the quiz: http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php

The website with the full length quiz: http://www.personalityonline.com/tests/engine.html?testid=2 ;

Scripture

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 - Here you will find some of the spiritual gifts we have been given. You might even find one that your never considered calling a spiritual gift.

Matthew 10:16-20 - Jesus advises us on how to act when we are under persecution, and we get a glimpse at one of the bigger reasons as to why we have abilities and skills - to bring the Good News to others.

Joshua 1:7-9 - Whenever you feel unsure about what you are supposed to be doing with your talent, look to what God said to his servant Joshua when it came time for him to lead the Israelites.

1 Peter 4:7-11 - Here Peter gives some directions for good general management of the blessings and abilities we have received from the Lord. Again, notice how it starts small with you, and then grows bigger to impact others.

Exodus 35:30-35 - This is an account of one of the workers God used to create the first temple and all it's parts. You never know what skill God included when he created you, or how he'll use that gift to work his purpose.

Video

Here’s a great clip from The Green Hornet where they get into their first fight. The green hornet definitely hasn’t figured out his strengths and talents. On the flip side Kato is a master of his skills and totally saves the day. 

 

This is a great clip from a great article about 8 kids who have changed the world! Listen to Ryan’s story. Notice what he did to accomplish his goal, and how he utilized and is still utilizing his abilities to help others. Once again we also see the ripple effect of how what we have to offer can change the lives of others and impact those around them and on and on! Don’t forget to check out the other stories in this article. They are pretty amazing!

The article: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/photos/8-amazing-kids-who-have-changed-the-world/ryan-hreljac

The video:

Life Questions
Make a list of ten abilities you might have. Try and think of things that you have actually done rather than things you want/dream to do. Think of specific instances when time flew by and you became absorbed in what you were doing. Some ideas - singing, organizing, building something, being a shoulder to lean on for others, an ear for pitch and tone, teaching someone else, making others laugh. I’m sure you can think of a bunch more!
Take a minute and reread the Supporting Scripture section. Afterwards, spend some time considering what struck you most in those verses. Talk with Jesus about his part in your life and identity. After thinking over these Scriptures, choose one, or part of one, to keep in a place you see multiple times a day - locker, notebook, duct taped onto your Xbox controller, wherever! Keep God’s words present in your heart as you begin to discover more about how you were made and what you have to offer. I encourage you to memorize them but, more than that, use these words to push you toward your next step of action in living life the way you were created to live - experiencing the loving, inspiring presence of God and helping others experience it too.
Reflect

Read these two pieces of literature and notice the language used and the thoughts expressed. Do they sound familiar? Or are they not at all what you’ve experienced? Consider why that is. After thinking about it for some time, even a day or two, use a method of self expression you prefer, like dance, painting, writing, etc. to convey your own thoughts and life experiences you’ve had while discovering your skills and how to use them..Share these with a close friend, youth leaders, and parents to see what they see as some of your gifts and abilities.

 

If I Could Do Anything I Would

If I could do anything I would

Change the world, make a difference for good

Don’t care what people will say

The impossible is I AM possible today!

If I could do anything I would

Live life feverishly I should

Close my eyes at the end of each day

Saying “damn, I love living this way”

If I could do anything I would

Saying I can, and never I could

Fly to the moon, something impossible it may seem

Open a nursing home, realizing my dream

If I could do anything I would

Even at the risk of being misunderstood

Make a difference, change a life I say

When I am gone, they will say “wow, she did it her way”

 

(c) 2010 by Gerard C. Johnson

 

Psalm 118:5-17

In my distress I called to the Lord;

    he answered me and set me free.

The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid;

    what can anyone do to me?

It is the Lord who helps me,

    and I will see my enemies defeated.

It is better to trust in the Lord

    than to depend on people.

It is better to trust in the Lord

    than to depend on human leaders.

Many enemies were around me;

    but I destroyed them by the power of the Lord!

They were around me on every side;

    but I destroyed them by the power of the Lord!

They swarmed around me like bees,

    but they burned out as quickly as a brush fire;

    by the power of the Lord I destroyed them.

I was fiercely attacked and was being defeated,

    but the Lord helped me.

The Lord makes me powerful and strong;

    he has saved me.

Listen to the glad shouts of victory in the tents of God's people:

    “The Lord's mighty power has done it!

     His power has brought us victory—

    his mighty power in battle!”

I will not die; instead, I will live

    and proclaim what the Lord has done.

Lol

Have a good laugh at this little girl’s strange talent!