Query

Question: Is it an act of obedience to God to practice, develop, and share a “gift” or talent that He has given you?

I suppose I already know the answer to that.

The real question, perhaps, is whether I really have a God-given gift or talent that I should practice, develop, and share.

I have been told by many that I am a decent enough writer. Still, even after all this time, I don’t know that I really believe those people. I don’t think they’re lying; they are, by and large, honest folk who know enough about literature to recognize competent writing. And I acknowledge that I am competent–but gifted or talented?

That’s where I’m not sure.

This last week, I started thinking about knitting as it relates to writing. I recently finished making a baby blanket for an acquaintance. I spent a fair bit of money on the yarn for that blanket, but I didn’t mind at all. I spent my own money–my monthly “blow” money–on the yarn. Some was sitting in my stash, some I bought on sale, and some was full price. But it really didn’t matter. I undertook the project because I like the people, I needed a project, and I enjoyed the process. And I will admit–it’s fun to give away a handmade item!

I’ve been putting together gift baskets for a silent auction for our American Heritage Girls troop. A few of the baskets are getting little handmade items–handwarmers, hats, and even a little dragon.

Earlier today, Lucy wore a hat I recently made for her out in the snow. When she came in, Mr. P put it near the fire to dry out. Unfortunately, it got a bit scorched. But Lucy and I don’t mind; it’s just an excuse for me to make her another hat. (And Lucy suggested, “maybe I can just put a button over that part!”)

I have no trouble sharing my knitted things. I love giving my knitting away. And it would never occur to me to charge for it. I need the projects–they keep the anxiety at bay and give me something to do with my twitchy fingers. The only time I might ever charge anyone anything would be if she (or he) requested something from very expensive materials. Even then, I can’t imagine charging for the labor–just for the materials.

This whole realization this week started me thinking about writing and publishing again. When I was publishing my work before, I thought I was good enough to be able to earn a living at it. The agent I had told me I should be able to earn a living at it. People told me my writing was as good as anything they had read in the mainstream fiction world. But still, I tried and failed, both in self-publishing and traditional publishing.

But what if I just didn’t care anymore?

What if I just published it for . . . well, for the heck of it? Like I give away hats? What if I just never even tried to make money off it? What if I just gave everything away for free, just for the validation of sharing the work?

There’s something liberating in that concept.

Which brings me back to the original query . . .

I have been feeling rather guilty lately that I’m not writing, and I couldn’t figure out why. But I keep seeing all of these quotes, discussions, articles about our responsibility to use gifts and talents that God has given us for His glory. And it’s not like I’m not doing that at all–I do use my stupid administrative gifting for my duties in American Heritage Girls, and I use my questionable mothering capabilities for . . . well, mothering.

But writing . . .

I thought for a long time that my skill/gift/talent really was a talent–was something that made me a little bit different.

But maybe that was the problem–maybe I was focused too much on how it made me different or special. Maybe I should have been thinking more about how God wanted me to use it.

I am absolutely certain that God wrested my writing from my clenched fists back in August 2012 because I had to realign my relationship with Him.

Now, I fear that in His mercy and goodness and wisdom, He is challenging me to obey Him again by once more picking up my keyboard and creating.

So I return to my query: Is it an act of obedience to God to practice, develop, and share a “gift” or talent that He has given you?

More importantly, is it an act of disobedience not to pursue said gifts or talents?

And most importantly, should I engage in the practice and development of said gifts, am I obligated to God to share the resultant creations?

This is a rambling and frustrated post, I know. But I would love to hear your thoughts.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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