Natural Talents and Abilities . . .

In nature, each animal is born with special abilities that make them unique, instincts that help them survive, and gifts that serve a purpose to the world around them. I am in amazement at how quickly that tiny bear cub I have watched since birth (on the den webcam) go from a wobbly, falling down bundle of fur to a master tree climber in the short period of a week or two (video footage of her climbing escapades can be found in the links at the end of this post). This photo of Lily and Hope climbing from

People, too, are gifted with special talents that make us unique. However, unlike animals, our natural abilities and talents are not usually visible at birth, may still be hard to see as teens, and even some adults are still searching for them or are in the process of discovering new talents they possess. Animals just seem to “know” what their gifts are and how to use them … people on the other hand, usually have to search for them.

As an educator, part of my job is to assist teenagers in their search for their talents and gifts, provide them with opportunities to try new things and expose them to the possibilities. When they inevitably ask that question “when am I ever going to have to know/use this stuff” I answer them honestly “I don’t know for sure how often or in some cases if you will need this … life is a mystery, but don’t you think you should be prepared .. just in case?” I use the toolbox analogy … everyone has a life toolbox and learning is a way to fill it up with tools you will need for life .. some tools you will use every day, some for only special occasions .. but, in life you will never regret having a tool in that box .. even if it is seldom used and a little rusty. By trying out new tools, you may find out something special about yourself.

“God made only one version of you.  He custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment. You are heaven’s Halley’s comet; we have one chance to see you shine.  You offer a gift to the world that no one else brings.  So find it and bring it! And when you do, both you and God will smile.” ~ Max Lucado

This quote by Max Lucado represents my beliefs (and many others) that we are born with purpose, innate talents and special abilities to be God’s hands here on Earth. The belief goes even further … if you take the time to listen to your inner-self, experience a variety of things, pay attention to your life … etc .. that the clues to where you belong are all around you, you just have to look. They are the things that come easily (naturally) to you and the things that make immediate sense to you. The people, places and situations that are in your life are also there for a purpose and in turn, direct your purpose.

Obviously, this warm-feeling belief system does not work for everyone or there would not be millions of self-help books, websites, counselors and programs all designed to help us figure it all out for ourselves. Finding our purpose and place in this world is a strong driving force in most of our lives. We easily recognize when someone has found their special niche in life … they stand out … they tend to be happy, fulfilled, really excellent at whatever they do and they enjoy doing it. Isn’t that the type of life that we all want? … a job/purpose in life that we are good at, enjoy and makes us feel needed?

Graduation is in the air. There are a lot of graduates who have been yearning for this day for a long time that are now nervous and unsure about what they should be doing next. There are many unemployed people being forced into a career change and are again in the process of trying to discover a new purpose for their lives. And, there are many people that have reached a stale point in their lives and are searching for new challenges.

Even if we do not currently fall into one of those situations and are comfortable in our lives, we should all still look inside from time to time and ask those tough questions: Am I doing what I am being called to do? What are my special talents and abilities and am I using them the best way I can? Is there something more important I should be doing with my gifts? … is this my purpose in life or just a stepping stone to my true vocation? It takes a lot of carefully placed steps to get across the rocky river of life (and we all get a little wet on the journey).

Bear climbing cub can be seen here:
April 28, 2010 – Hope feeding in birch tree and April 28, 2010 – Lily & Hope climb high

~ by bearyweather on May 7, 2010.

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