and ramblings on everything in between
I stumbled across this quote while reviewing a client’s LinkedIn profile. It seemed like an odd place to see it, but I scribbled it down and pondered it for the rest of the day.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
– Erma Bombeck
We talk a lot at church about our spiritual gifts or God-given talents – our passions that bring us to life. I have a talent for chasing around small children and sending an encouraging word to others and writing blog posts. They are small things that won’t cure cancer or earn me a million dollars, but they make me happy and they have an impact on others.
I just spent a month writing a novel about a man who fell in line behind the one who stood before him and forgot to ask what the line was for. So there he waited his whole life. I don’t think this character would be able to tell God what his talents were, let alone that he used them all up while he could. We get busy, we get distracted, and we forget to live. We forget to be in the moment when we’re with the ones we love because our mind is a million miles away. I find that when I’m using one of my talents this doesn’t happen. When I’m babysitting or helping out in the 1-year-old room at my church, my heart is so filled with joy that I purposely engage with the children and look into their eyes while we play and laugh. I’m in my element and right at that moment there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Like many of you, I have a deep desire to live a life of purpose. Our time is so short and so limited, and I don’t want to wake up 20 years from now and realize I missed the point. I, too, want to stand before God and say, “I used everything you gave me.” I don’t want to hold them in or ignore them or forget about them all together. I want them to shape my life and change who I am for the better so I can in turn enrich others’ lives.
I’ve placed the quote above my laptop so I can continue to ponder it. In what ways am I holding back with my talents? In what ways am I failing to see how they should be used? Because when it’s all said and done, when I stand before God, I want to be utterly and completely exhausted from living a life well lived.