On Fire: Finding Your Gift And Using It

My Gift

My Gift

Every person has been created by God with a Gift to give for the bettering of mankind. This message—along with writing and teaching—is my Gift.

This morning, upon waking, I pull my laptop onto the bed and open it to compose a blog post. As ideas come, an enemy also appears.

Will my writing be as smart as Don Miller’s? Will it look cool technically like Michael Hyatt’s? Are my ideas as insightful as Leo Babautas’ are?

 Will my words make money?

 How will my blog post be received? Will it get a lot of views?

My ego.  It’s out to keep me “safe” and enhance my reputation.

I know I need my ego for certain things—paying taxes, obeying traffic regulations, and remembering to take my blood pressure medication. It dresses me in the morning.

My ego is all about me.

What frightens me is the knowledge that I have lived entire decades with my ego firmly in charge, at the wheel, running my life. No questions asked.

Precious little of my Gift leaked out during those years. My Gift is just that—something given to me to pass on to others. Being all about me, my ego thwarts giving.

Now I realize that if I live from my ego, I’ll die with regret. My life will seem futile!

Creatives, artists and mystics rescue me—a modern, commerce-loving, internet-surfing woman—from myself. I fish a book I’ve been reading out of the covers:

We nourish the spirit by disbursing our gifts, not by capitalizing upon them…The artist who is nourishing…is not self-aggrandizing, self-assertive, or self-conscious, he is, rather, self-squandering, self-abnegating, self-forgetful…

 — Lewis Hyde in The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

 Self-forgetfulness. To create space in my life for my Gift and the giving of it, I must forget myself.

Instead, I must seek to be infused by God and yield myself to be His instrument.

I direct my thoughts: “Oh God, thank you for my life and Gift. I am yours. Flow through me…”

…and return to the keyboard.

I finish and publish this blog post.

There’s no feeling like it in the whole wide world. It’s beauty and peace and strength all wrapped into one. To know that, just for a few minutes,

I’ve been an instrument

…not an image.


On Fire

On Fire

Be you.

You don’t have another choice.

Copying someone else gets the same results as lighting a firecracker that is a “dud:” a very short-lived blaze of glory followed by a fizzling fall to the ground.


Developing and using your talents toward the causes you care about results in slow growth and, ultimately…

You become the best expression of who you are.


Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire.

                                    — Catherine of Siena

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photo credit: aussiegall (creative commons)



Our Dashboard

Our Dashboard

Somewhere each day we have to fall in love with someone, something, some moment, event, phrase. Somehow each day we must allow the softening of the heart.

 Otherwise our hearts will move inevitably toward hardness. We will move toward cynicism, bitterness, fear and despair. That’s where most of the world is trapped and doesn’t even know it.

 The world’s been in love with death so long that it calls death life. It tries to conjure up life by making itself falsely excited, by creating parties where there’s no reason to celebrate….

— Richard Rohr in The Passion of God and the Passion Within

The person we are growing into,

the way we are hard-wiring our brains,

and the effect of our lives on others

comes from the moment-by-moment choices we make in our thoughts. We manage our thoughts from our central administration dashboard—our heart.

We choose what to observe, focus on, move away from, and move toward. We choose our interpretations, what things mean. What our life is about.

The pull downward is so rational, safe. It’s like stepping into a small box.

The climb upward isn’t prescribed, safe. It means to steer our thoughts toward openness, wonder, love…God.

Again and again.

Somewhere each day we have to fall in love with someone, something, some moment, event, phrase. Somehow each day we must allow the softening of the heart.

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photo credit: markvall (creative commons)

Why not?

Why not?

I lost my reasons to live in midlife. My husband walked out. Our teenagers left home. My home and possessions disappeared. Friends slithered away. I was so blindsided by hurt and chaos, I could barely work.

 But over time things changed. Not a different husband and house and a new social setting. No, I found something even better.

 What dawned was a realization that I was here for a purpose. I could metabolize the pain, mix it up with my talents and perspective and do good—for others.

 This discovery saved my life.

 What’s so amazing is that a purpose is an ever fresh, renewing force inside me.The possibilities are limitless. The people to meet cover the planet. I’m continually being forced to change—come out of hiding and be more real, more faith-filled, and more daring.

I recently heard a presentation by Ginny Hanson, founder of Sak Saum. Ginny began with “one girl, one sewing machine, one bag and $25” in 2007 and founded an outreach to help people escape poverty and sexual trafficking in Cambodia. She provides an opportunity for people who yearn for a different life to have it. The women and men of Sak Saum make beautiful bags, jewelry and accessories. This rescue operation is a self-sustaining enterprise—and a place of hope and healing.

Hearing Ginny speak sent me back to my day-to-day life—my relationships,  writing opportunities and community—with the question: Why not?

Why not believe that every person deserves a free and fulfilling life?

Why not believe it is possible to provide that kind of life to everyone who wants it?

Why not believe I have a part to play in freeing others?

Why not believe





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photo credit: m’sieur rico (creative commons)