If you are going to discover what you are good at doing, you must be honest about your talents. I would love to be a NFL quarterback like Tom Brady. I would love to be able to call plays, throw a football fifty yards for touchdowns. But, you know what? It’s never going to happen. I could go to quarterback school and hang out with NFL quarterbacks, but still it is not going to happen. I’d frustrate myself and others. Much of the frustration you experience and cause others to experience is because you are attempting to operate outside of your talents.
GET A LIFE
By Pastor Delbert Young
What Am I Good At?
What Am I Good At?
John 10:10; 1 Corinthians 12:11, 17-19; Matthew 25:14-15, 26, 29-30
(Video) Today, I want to talk about “What Am I Good At?” If you are going to discover what you are good at doing, you must be honest about your talents. I would love to be a NFL quarterback like Tony Romo, or Bertt Favre, or Tom Brady. I would love to be able to call plays, throw a football fifty yards, and be able to run and score touchdowns. But, you know what? It’s never going to happen. I could go to quarterback school and hang out with NFL quarterbacks, but still it is not going to happen. I would frustrate myself, frustrate my family, and frustrate those players going through this with me. It would not be because I didn’t have passion and a dream and ambition. It’s because I DO NOT HAVE THE TALENT. I would simply waste and wish my frustrated life away.
You laugh, but the same thing is true with you. Much of the frustration you experience and cause others to experience is because you are attempting to operate outside of your talents. You will never know what you are really good at doing until you know what your raw talents are and then developed your raw talents into strengths. Many people are naïve in this area. So today let’s talk about how answering the question of “WHAT AM I GOOD AT?” will help me GET A LIFE.
John 10:10 The thief COMETH not, but for to STEAL, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The thief comes. You cannot stop the thief from coming. A major way the thief (again, the thief traditionally is the devil, contextually religion, and in reality, anyone or anything that steals, kills, or destroys your life) comes is by stealing, killing, or destroying your God-given talents. “Your best shot at making your best contribution to the world is for you to get better at what you are already good at. You will get a life by building on your strengths. Focusing on improving or eliminating your weaknesses will never deliver to you the quality of life that practicing your strengths will.”
Think about this. People who focus on their weaknesses are frustrated and unmotivated. A child in school is frustrated and unmotivated because he or she is forced to focus on weaknesses. A large part of the unhappiness people experience throughout life is related to their failure to focus on their strengths.
SO, WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? Your strengths are a combination of your raw talents developed through your life experiences until they become powerful contributors to your life. Strengths are abilities you possess that you call up on demand and use effortlessly in a near perfect way. You now use that strength to consistently perform with excellence. Talents can be in music, singing, sports, arts, relationship, intelligence, technology, administration, communication, writing, sewing, cooking, and on and on.
Strengths are not only raw talents. Every human being possesses raw talent in some area. However, raw talents do not become strengths until developed through experiences and practice. Anything you are really good at, you developed by taking a raw, God-given talent and practiced with it until you became really good at it. For you to GET A LIFE, you must know what you bring to the table and figure out how to get better at it.
The problem is we live in a culture that majors on identifying and amplifying weaknesses. People point out where you come up short instead of where you are strong.
Let me ask you a question. When you were in school (or maybe you are now), what was most frequently marked on your test, what you got wrong or what you got correct? If you ever had to “stay after school” and redo a test, was it on something you did well, or were you forced to spend time on what you did not do well then and probably never have done well? It’s that way throughout life. If given a “work evaluation,” are you primarily confronted with what you do well or with what you are not doing well? Even in relationships, we don’t seem to mind a bit to point out a person’s flaws to others.
Think about this. It does not take a lot of insight from a parent, teacher, employer, you, etc to help me find what I am not good at doing. There are many more things I do not do well than things I do really well. The reason is because my talents do not go in all areas. Neither do your talents.
We do this in marriage. How many divorces have happened because a spouse decided to “fix” their mate? The emphasis became the flaw. I am not talking about right and wrong. I am talking about when simply changing the focus from a negative to a positive could save a relationship. What attracted you to the person in the first place? Focus on that.
Not only does society’s approach amplify our negatives, there is psychological damage and scaring done to us. People are injured for life because they were told they were no good at doing something God never intended for them to do well. We train people to exist in a social myth, which is YOU MUST BE BALANCED or WELL ROUNDED. Where is that in the Bible? The scriptures teach the exact opposite. God did not create us round or balanced. The Bible relates people to a body and emphasizes how each person is an individual. At the church at Corinth, people thought they could do and be things they were not gifted and created to do. The apostle corrected that.
1 Corinthians 12:11 It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decidesWHICH GIFT EACH PERSON SHOULD HAVE.
1 Corinthians 12:17-19 Suppose the whole body were an eye – then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put EACH PART JUST WHERE HE WANTS IT. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part!
God never intended you to be “BALANCED” or “ROUNDED OUT.” He built you with specific gifts and talents to contribute to the world. NEWS FLASH! That is one way he shows you your need for other people.
Winning teams amplify a person’s talents and strengths. How absurd it would be for a football coach to put a three hundred pound slow offensive lineman at running back or at safety. That would be detrimental to the person and the team. We would say the coach was crazy. Yet, this is how many coach their lives, the lives of their children, and employees. They place their own selves and others in positions where strengths are wasted and then they expect everyone to have happy productive lives.What do you bring to the table? What contribution are you expected to make to the world? Do you practice and develop your strengths?
BE HONEST ABOUT TALENTS. Ted Williams was a legendary baseball player. He was perhaps the greatest hitter ever. One day he was instructing a rookie on hitting a 95 mph fastball. Ted said, “Just watch the stitches.” The rookie said, “What stitches? The stitches on the baseball?” Williams, somewhat annoyed, responded, “Yes.” The rookie said, “You can see the stitches on the baseball?” Williams did not understand that, to nearly everyone, a baseball going 95 mph is only a blur at best. However, Williams could sometimes read the commissioner’s name on the ball. What came easy for Williams to do was impossible for nearly anyone else to do. Eventually, they discovered that Williams had 20/10 vision.
You either have talent or you don’t. When you do, things pertaining to your talent come easily. It’s a gift. You didn’t earn it. You were born with it and developed it into a strength. YOU SEE STITCHESIN SOMETHING. What is easy for you is impossible for many. Where do you SEE STITCHES? Think for a moment. What is easy for you, but you become annoyed at others because they can’t do it?
YOU DON’T GET TO PICK YOUR TALENTS. People think they decide what talents they will have in life through self-determination. “I will go to this college and become ….” No. How many people have gone to college, struggled through the years to just pass, and never “became” what they said they would? You do not “become” anything. You discover. A huge part of getting a life is discovering your God-given gifts and not wasting time, effort, and frustration on a pursuit of gifts and talents you don’t have. Jesus told a parable.
Matthew 25:14-15 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five TALENTS, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ABILITY; and straightway took his journey.
Some coins were called talents in that time, however, the lesson is about taking what God gives you and developing it. The servants did not decide the talents given them. Each servant was to develop the talent(s) given him. Two of the three did very well. They took the talents given, developed them, and lived joyfully and abundantly. One did not develop his talent at all and received a very sharp rebuke from his lord.
Matthew 25:26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
Matthew 25:29-30 For everyone who has will be given more, and HE WILL HAVE AN ABUNDANCE. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the DARKNESS, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Oh my goodness! All the guy did was not develop his God-given talent. Don’t think this judgment is for only a later time in the next life. It happens right now today to many, many people. If your life is dark, confusing, and seems worthless, you need to take a look at your talents. JESUS TAUGHT THAT GETTING AN ABUNDANT LIFE COMES THROUGH TALENT DEVELOPMENT. No place in the scriptures are we told that we will be judged or held accountable for developing talents we are not given. However, we are judged and accountable for developing the talents God gives to us. WHERE DO YOU SEE STITCHES?
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND TALENTS? Let’s look at some clues.
WHAT INTERESTS YOU? What gets your interest quickly and easily? What are your hobbies, passions, or yearnings that will not go away? As you think about your interests, ask and ponder these questions: Why do I enjoy this? Why am I drawn to this? What talents do I get to use when I do this? How do others respond to my efforts? What part of this activity gives me the greatest satisfaction?
WHAT BRINGS YOU FULFILLMENT? Things that bring you fulfillment ALWAYS bring you joy and a sense of significance. You feel meaning for your life. The truth is, when you are operating in your “zone,” you are then most likely able to bless others. The reason is you are fulfilled. You fill up and spill over, in positive ways. into the lives of others. When you are not fulfilled, you suck and drain the life from others as you try to fill your own self. Until you know your talents and strengths, you will only drain others. Ask: When do I feel the smile of God? What do I do that when I do it, I say, “This is what I was born to do!” What talents do I use when I feel this?
WHAT DO YOU DO WELL? Because you enjoy doing something does not qualify it as a talent or strength. I enjoy singing, but no one in this room would mistake it for a talent of mine. Remember, a strength is raw talent, practiced and done with excellence and near perfection. Simply dreaming and wishing does not make it so. Lot’s of people have “wish-ion” and not vision. Dreaming and wishing I could fly will not cause me to grow wings. What do I do well, not wish I did well? What talents do I use when I do it?
WHAT DO OTHER PEOPLE AFFIRM THAT YOU DO WELL? Pay attention to what people tell you that you do well. You need positive affirmation about what you do well. IT’S JUST AS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE TELL YOU WHAT YOU DON’T DO WELL. You can save yourself much frustration, time, money, etc if you have honest people in your life. Too often, people tell us we are good at things we are not really good at doing. SOMEONE SAYING YOU ARE GOOD AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT COULD BE ONE OF THE CRUELEST THINGS A PERSON EVER DID TO YOU. Sometimes parents and close friends are prejudice. Sometimes people just want to say something nice. You need affirmation, but you need honest affirmation. What do MANY people compliment me about? What have people through the years complimented me about? Has there been any compliments in the past few weeks that affirm my strengths?
WHAT COMES QUICKLY AND EASILY TO YOU? I was installing a HD box for my 52″ LCD television. A simple task, right? I am no dummy with electronic stuff, but I was having all sorts of difficulties. I called tech support at Comcast and Philips. They couldn’t get me going. Then I called a close friend who is really sharp at electronic stuff. Within 5 minutes, he had it all working. It just comes quickly and easily to him. He could see the STITCHES. Once he did something and I remember thinking, that is not going to work, but it did. This is a huge clue in discovering your strengths and x-ing out things in your life that you need not waste your precious time doing. If you are a student in college and find yourself busting your brain on “all nighters,” you are probably in the wrong major. Transfer! My first degree was in Accounting and Business Management. A test revealed I had “aptitude” in those fields. I hated it until we hit a course on psychology – how people think. That came easy to me. I could see the STITCHES. I loved that part. I should have transferred. Instead, I stuck it out. I can do accounting and I am a good business manager (aptitude), but I love helping people think correctly. Ask yourself: What can I do almost without effort? What do I learn quickly?
WHAT DO YOU SIMPLY WANT TO DO? What kind of things do you volunteer to do? It has nothing to do with making money or someone telling you to do it. You simply get a buzz out of doing it. Ask: If I could spend my time doing anything I wanted to do today, what would I do?
“Over the past decade Gallup has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement (or how positive and productive people are at work), and only one-third “strongly agree” with the statement: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day… In stark contrast, our studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”
That means that about 2/3 of you are not happy people, living an excellent quality of life. Why? You have not discovered or developed your talent until it is a strength in your life. You have settled for making money or “being balanced.” You are frustrated, angry, unfulfilled, and difficult to be around… It’s supposed to be that way. You are not developing your talents. You are in darkness, weeping and gnashing your teeth. You are a mess except when you are operating in the areas of strengths. God wired you with talents. You flourish when you perform in the areas of your strengths. You wilt when forced to perform in the areas of weakness. Discovering and developing your talents into strengths is the only way to flourish and experience the abundant life Jesus came to give you. STOP ALLOWING THE THIEF TO STEAL, KILL, AND DESTROY YOUR LIFE BY ATTACKING YOUR TALENTS.
Other Related Sermons:
Some books to help:
GET A LIFE by Reggie McNeal
LIVING YOUR STRENGTHS by Albert Winseman, Donald Clifton, and Curt Liesveld (comes with a key to take Gallup’s online evaluation)
STRENGTHS FINDER 2.0 by Tom Rath (comes with a key to take Gallup’s online evaluation)