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Know Thyself (your strengths, gifts, and talents)

COVID19 was a year of isolation for most of us. It provided a time to look internally at oneself and truly contemplate what makes you tick. Self-reflection was a positive for me during a time of despair. I remember back in my early twenties sitting in a church pew at Bible Baptist Church in Mattoon, Illinois reflecting upon scripture, Romans 12, that talked about various gifts of God that He provides to mankind. I prayed fervently to identify my gifts so that I could make an impact upon on our society. Despite my agony and pursuit of discernment I did not immediately receive the answer.

Over the past few decades I would listen to others as the journeyed to know themselves. I heard the frustration in their voices. It was a shadow they could see afar off, but could not quite make it out. To know oneself, to search for answers deep inside is indeed a quest. A quest some of the boldest do not even attempt. It is a quest that seems dauntless. However, to truly know oneself is to truly enable you to make the best impact upon our world.

Matthew 25:21 speaks of pleasing God and entering into His joy. I used to think that is a heavenly encounter moment. Like meeting St. Peter at the pearly gates. I see it differently know. I know see it similar to when you see others working with you. When your team employs their gifts and talents and how that brings you joy. They too experience that joy as the team works in unison and is successful. Thus, when we utilize the core strengths that God gives us, we bring Him joy. That my friend produces a better society and joy for you and others.

Psalm 37 talks about delighting in the Lord. Trusting in Him. Committing to His way. That simply means being delighted in the things that bring delight to God. When you use the talents, gifts, strengths that God gives you, you make our world a better place and bring delight to God. On the other hand, when you do not use them, you do our world and your team a disservice.

Through my 17 plus years of executive level leadership in 4 different local governments in 4 different states I have seen talented team members. The joy they feel as they use their talents for the betterment of the team. As most of you know, I end my missives with "Keep Shining" What do I mean by that? Psalm 37 talks about shining like the noonday! I observe my brothers and sisters light up, shining, when they embrace their talents. They truly shine. What a blessed thing to observe. When your team shines it benefits mankind. When you shine, your team shines. This leads me to the point of this blog.

Socrates many moons ago talked about the deep importance of knowing yourself. Have you made any effort to self-reflect? One thing that I can promise to you. One guarantee that I can make to you. You have a talent. You have a strength. You have a spiritual gift. Despite you mental ability, spiritual beliefs, physical condition, my friend you are strong and you are endowed with a gift. More to the point, you more than likely have more than one. My God is not stingy! How can you discover it?

As I began this blog, I prayed fervently hoping to have a mountaintop experience where God would lift me up and open my eyes to my talents. This my friend may be the way you discover it, but my revelation occurred over time as I matured in my faith and my leadership abilities. You can also discover your talents through personality tests, strength finders exercises, predictive indexes, and by simply asking your closest friends and family members for them to identify the areas in which you excel. One thing is for sure, you have talents that I do not have and you have spiritual gifts that I do not have. The key thing is that you have to seek them out and once you discover them, make sure you use them to benefit mankind. Yes my friend you are blessed! You are talented! You are gifted!

I am a fan of Marvel and DC Superhero movies. As most of my colleagues know I often wear a Superman belt buckle. Other times, when I am feeling ornery, I break out a Hydra belt buckle. The superheroes and supervillains have strengths that make them "super". They use their strengths to either save the world or to destroy it. While this is fantasy, it is not too far off from our reality. I humbly say to you that you have strengths that make you super. Take some time to identify them, and then put them to use to benefit our world. We need superheroes. The good news is, you are one of them. You have it inside you. Discover it, use it, and let your light shine!

Keep shining!

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