On Fire: Finding Your Gift And Using It

When it comes to being real and giving the Gift we’re here to give, there are two tactics that don’t work—and two that do.

1. Shame.  It doesn’t work.

Growing up, shame was the tool of choice for adults—parents, teachers, and clergy— who wanted something from someone, especially those beneath them. Not surprisingly, I learned to use it on myself: You shouldn’t, Why do you always, Good girls never, When are you ever going to, You are such a…

But it doesn’t work.  Shaming myself does not make me

  • exercise more often
  • eat healthier
  • stop destructive habits
  • be more productive
  • become successful, or
  • be a better person.

Not even a little. Shame crushes me and keeps me down.

2. Pretending.  Doesn’t work either.

“Fake it ‘till you make it,” actually keeps me back. Every moment I

  • force myself to be friendlier or more outgoing than is natural for me
  • pose as a good or spiritual person when I am completely self-absorbed
  • say everything is OK when I am a basket case
  • pretend to be conservative when I am actually liberal or undecided
  • use the lingo of a certain group to fit in, or
  • pretend to care when I don’t

I lose ground.

Why do I pretend?  To be



included and to

avoid pain or punishment.

However, like everyone else, I face



exclusion and

pain anyway.

Sadly, pretending means I inhabit the earth as a counterfeit rather than a true reflection of who God made me to be. Thus, I can subtract moments of pretense from the total time I’m allotted on earth:

90 years of life given to me minus 50 years spent pretending to be something I’m not

=   40 years of real life left.

3. Encouragement. Works.

There’s precious little encouragement from others to be ourselves, recognize our talents and use them liberally. But it doesn’t take much. We can go a long time on a cheering word from another. We can also help ourselves by being self-supportive.

When I miss a deadline, don’t get to the gym, or see little progress on my goals, I’m learning to be gentle and encouraging:

It’s OK, you are doing the best you can.

Perhaps this day was meant for rest.

You flubbed but that’s how you learn. You’ll do better down the line.

Progress takes time…and God’s help. Trust—that’s the best thing you can do.

 It easier to get back in the saddle when I encourage myself rather than shame myself.

4.  Humility.

Humility is accepting myself and the life I’ve been given, just as it is.

It’s being me—no more, no less:

  •  refusing to compare myself to another
  • being grateful for the unique twists and turns of my journey
  • treasuring my talents and developing them
  • respecting others but not copying their lives, or trying to
  • refusing the false gods of fame or notoriety
  • speaking up and communicating my truth and
  • helping heal whatever brokenness I can.



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photo credit: NA.dir (creative commons)

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Gloria Rose, Life Coach






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