On Fire: Finding Your Gift And Using It

Getting Nowhere

Getting Nowhere

To myself:

You’re unproductive.

You’re too emotional. Insecure. Scaredy-cat. Just push ahead, stupid!

Look at Joe (or Susan). He gets after it every day. Steady outcomes. Can’t you be more like that? Just do it.

Your work doesn’t really matter. You’re too serious. Give it up. Go find a good time. Chill.

You’ll never get ahead.

Your dream is way over your head.

You made your bed, now lie in it. That’s how things work.

I can wallow in negative, self-loathing for days.

This is my daily battle…and everyone’s to some degree, who is alive. Alive, as in, pushing ahead to be true, be their best, give their God-given gift.

The fight we wage is inside.

Our rescue isn’t positive thinking. Grabbing ourselves by our mental bootstraps and “bucking up” doesn’t go deep enough.

The way forward is to stop thinking about ourselves at all. Change focus:

— Look around and see the needs of others. Who is struggling, hurting, going down for the third time? Who is stuck? What can you do? What’s the gift you’ve been given? How can you give it right now?

— And drink in God’s grace. We need daily doses of grace to keep us alive…engaged.

“You made your bed, now lie in it” isn’t how things work. We’re all messing up all the time. God loves us and gives us unlimited fresh starts. Accepting grace is our daily opportunity.

God offers us a place in the line up again and again.

So we can fight.

With Him.

For others.

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977696_globe_4Today these words infuse new life into me. I share them with you with the hope they will encourage you too.

“In our faithful listening to God’s Word, we often neglect his first word to us–the gift of ourselves to ourselves: our existence, our temperament, our personal history, our uniqueness, our flaws and foibles, our identity. Our very existence is one of the never-to-be-repeated ways God has chosen to express himself in space and time.

Because we are made in God’s image and likeness, you and I are yet another promise that he has made to the universe that he will continue to love it and care for it.”

– Brennan Manning in Ruthless Trust


 “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

– St Catherine of Siena


 “It is not in the still calm of life…that great characters are formed.”

– Abigail Adams


 “Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.”

Adele Brookman quoted in More Magazine


“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.”

– Jesus in John 15:9 (NLT)


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photo credit:

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You need each other

You need each other

Your gift is an insight wrapped in talent and shared with others.

“But who are my others?” you ask. “I’ve tried giving my gift. No one wants it.”

Perhaps your gift is mediating conflict. Your insight into human personalities and communication styles gives you the ability to bring people together who seem very far apart. You’ve offered to play that role at your job, but the Human Resources Department turns a deaf ear.

Or you restore furniture. You can take a table, broken and abandoned by the side of the road, and remake it to fit in a palace. The few pieces you’ve placed on consignment in a boutique downtown aren’t selling.

Turn around.

Your audience most likely isn’t the people you run with. Not the professional, rich, privileged, fee-paying, famous, well-networked people who can make your time and effort worthwhile financially or further your reputation.

Your “others” are folks who have less than you. Who can’t pay you back.

Who has:

-Less access

-Less support

-Less freedom

-Less money

-Less education

-Less opportunity

-Less status

-Less hope for the future than you?

Think: the poor, elderly, imprisoned, laid off, disabled, stuck, discriminated against, newly immigrated, or under-utilized.

Right now, you may not know any of these types. They are your others, nevertheless. They need you – and you need them.

A popular page on facebook shows a photo of Anthony Cymerys, a barber.

He’s 82 years old. Every Wednesday, he brings his chair, his clippers, and a car battery to power the clippers to a local park in Hartford. He then gives haircuts to the homeless. He doesn’t charge them a dime. All they have to do is give him a hug…

Anthony has found his others. He’s not making money or furthering his barbershop clientele. But he’s being paid back in ways that can’t be counted.

You will too. Don’t give up. Keep looking.

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Have you found your “others,” the audience for your Gift? I’d love to hear about it. Email me:

Thanks for stopping by ON FIRE. You input and comments are welcomed.

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photo credit: Microsoft clip art



Grow Your Talent

Grow Your Talent

In old age, I don’t want to review my life and wish I’d done more with the talent given me. I don’t want to wonder what held me back. Should I have found better teachers? Practiced more? Knocked on more doors? I don’t want to remember a fork in the road when, after facing the 100th obstacle, I gave up.

Because I’ll know in my heart of hearts I didn’t value my small, budding talent enough. Enough to give it everything.

So, I’m writing a Talent Manifesto. The Manifesto is a declaration, a guide—for me and for you:


1.  I’ll receive my talent, even though very, very small, as a gift from God. A gift God expects me to develop.*

2.  My talent takes me out into the world. Therefore, I’ll keep an open mind to the possibilities. I’ll use my talent on behalf of children, the elderly, the poor, the rich, the imprisoned, and the privileged.

3. I will stay abreast of what others accomplish in my field and learn from them. However, I won’t stack my talent up next to someone else’s and judge mine as inferior. Daily I’ll remind myself that God created every person unique. Who I am and the talent entrusted to me is a one-time event. Comparison is invalid. Ridiculous. Poison.

4. I will see obstacles as necessary lessons. Everything is training. In time, frustration and discouragement will only increase my passion.

5. I’ll develop my talent whether or not there are visible results. I’ll enjoy recognition and rewards if they come. But I know appreciation is like an after dinner mint—not required.

Then, as I review my life before passing over to the other side, I’ll be able to say, “I gave it everything I had… Thank you, God, for my talent.”

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*See The parable of the talents/investment in Matthew 25

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