“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” (Rom. 12: 6).
The doubts others plant in us can be suffocating. Stifling to our spirit.
Often this starts very early, with the harsh criticism of childhood endeavors, the imposition of restrictive adult standards on children too young to fulfill them. We learn to pursue perfection – ever elusive perfection – rather than develop our own art.
That applies whatever form our “art” may take: poetry, sculpture, music, carpentry, cooking, laughter. You name it. Denied tenderness, we are robbed of words, robbed of rhythm, robbed of savor, robbed of joy. Denied our natural way of relating to things.
It is as if our hands were cut off, our lips sewn together.
We stumble on, unable to say why it is that we feel so clumsy. Why our efforts feel awkward, inadequate. Others have learned to dance on their hands, paint with their feet. Surely, we can, as well.
We search for the fault in ourselves, certain it must be there. Knowing it must be there. This emptiness, this persistent feeling of failure, cannot be the fault of those who raised us. Can it?
Still, we falter and lose heart. Our doubts loom large. And all because the adults around us did not have imagination enough to recognize what we might become.
Not every child is the spitting image of his or her parent. Many children, in fact, seem mismatched with those who brought them into this world. A sportsman may sire a scholar; a lion tamer father a software engineer. This is not a failure on the part either of parent or child. It is rather a reflection of the One who gave each of us life.
It is Him we honor when the talents He bestowed on us find expression. Only He knew beforehand how our lives would intersect those of others, and our talents could best be employed.
Whatever limitations may have been placed on us as children, whatever obstacles may have been put in our way since, God can still use us for good. His capacity is infinite. Ours need not be.
We can at last lay our doubts to rest.
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