Isn’t it odd what our culture deems to be talent? The value placed on different abilities, the standard of excellence and proficiency… It’s not consistent with actual value. It’s all very consumer oriented.
For example, people with a high intelligence in interpersonal communication are extremely and practically valuable. They are the people who act as diplomats in any and every situation, reading emotions and evaluating possibilities for compromise, facilitating connections between eternal beings forging their ways through time. That is pretty crazy awesome. It might be come through as the gel that holds a group of diverse friends together. It might be a high pressure job of talking with difficult commercial clients to ensure future investment. It may even be a mom who can diffuse the fights between her grown siblings so that Christmas is actually pleasant for everybody. Blessed are the peacemakers!
And yet, if those very same people can’t show a few letters of education after their name, if they aren’t musically inclined, if they don’t tell hilarious stories at parties, if they aren’t the best at getting a job done efficiently, if their social climb is more like a random meander–they tend to feel useless and aimless. Nobody puts an ad in the classifieds: “WANTED: Person skilled at peacemaking and making friends. Job qualifications may be varied and difficult to explain, but will be readily apparent to those with high intelligence in good conversation.” And if that ad DOES appear, nobody thinks it’s a legit opportunity. That sounds like baloney.
It’s so much easier to point to the talent we are used to valuing, but why do we value it ABOVE other talents?
Church is the worst for this sometimes. If you can sing well, obviously you could do worship team. If you can plan well, obviously you could help organize a ministry or work in the office. If you have a way with kids, you could devote the rest of your life to working in the nursery because let’s face it–nobody else really wants that job. (I am only kind of kidding.)
But if you’re “just” really good at being a supportive friend, you may feel like there is no spot in the puzzle where you fit. It’s not true but it FEELS true.
If you’re “just” really good at asking questions, you may feel like talent is something you will never have. Again, not true but it FEELS true.
If you’re “just” a very loyal person, the one who consistently shows up week after week and lends a hand whenever possible, you may feel like you are expendable. NOT TRUE. But it can sure feel that way.
I wish we spent more time in grade school and college and everyday conversation considering how MANY types of intelligence there are. People are proficient in so many ways! It’s such a shame to limit recognition of it to those who entertain or make our lives more comfortable. Yes, concert pianists and video game designers are talented. And that’s fantastic. I wouldn’t want a world without great writers, great painters, great inventors, great philosophers, etc.
But can we all agree to open our eyes and see what ELSE is out there?!
What is something you are talented in that you never felt was worth recognizing? Example: I can make most people feel at ease within a couple minutes of talking with them because God gave me the eyes to see something interesting in everyone. It isn’t worth making a Youtube video about, but I know He uses me through it.
Next time, let’s talk about using talents. 🙂