I’m in a very special season of my life right now. For the first time in my life, I have complete control over my time and money.
I’ve been professional student, a professional Elementary Music teacher, and a professional Stay-at-Home-Mom. In each of those instances, I worked, then during my free-time, I would pursue my passions. I would film YouTube videos in-between classes; I would write a blog when I got home from teaching; I would create content when my child was sleeping.
My life was a crazy conundrum of American normalcy, in which your passions revolve around your profession, instead of the other way around.My husband and I decided that it was time for me to activate the gifts that were laying dormant within me. We hired a nanny.
With my son away from the home in a trusted environment, I’ve been free to shape the trajectory of my life. There is no “one thing” that is taking up my time. I have no excuse but to use my gifts, and be profitable doing it.
In my first full week of being a full-time entrepreneur, I’ve made more money than I set out to make in my entire first month. I accredit this to God who has sent business my way, and I also accredit this to the burning desire within me to maximize each of my gifts.
What I’ve learned is that life is far too short to spend your time being anything short of passionate. I resolve to lead a passionate, purposeful life in which all of my gifts are being maximized.
You should, too.
While not everyone is called to be an entrepreneur, everyone is called to be a good steward over their God-given gifts. Below are four ways to maximize YOUR God-given gifts.
Be Grateful for Your Gifts
When we don’t recognize the value of things, we abuse them.
My son is turning 1 year old in a matter of days. He has a fascination with phones. He’ll hold the phone, examine the phone, lick the phone, and then he’ll throw the phone. In fact, my phone screen is currently broken and out-of-commission, and my son has a huge part to play in that.
Can I get mad at him for breaking something so valuable? Absolutely not. He’s a baby. But it would be ridiculous for me, in my adulthood, to hold my phone, examine my phone, lick my phone, and then throw my phone. I would be fully responsible and completely stupid for breaking something that I’ve paid such a high price for.
I protect my phone because I recognize its value, and I’m grateful for what I’m able to accomplish with it.This concept applies to our gifts.
Some of us behave like adult babies. We hold our gift, examine our gift, we might even explore our gift a little bit, and then we’ll drop it. Some of us will even throw it.
Why would we do this? Because we lack appreciation, gratitude, and a healthy sense of its value.
In order to maximize your gifts, you must first recognize that your gifts are valuable. They were given to you for you to multiply, just like exemplified in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30). Be grateful for your talents and the opportunity to use them. God didn’t have to give you anything; but if He gives you some and, like in the Parable of the Talents, you let that some go to waste, He has every right to withhold from you in the future.
Your active gratitude, by virtue, opens up the hand of God to give you access to more!
Every morning, start your day with gratitude. Make gratitude an active part of your morning routine.
Choose to smile. Choose to be thankful.
Without this ongoing posture of gratitude, you’re guaranteed to forget how truly valuable your gift is. Gratitude is the first, and most important, step towards maximizing your God-given gifts.
2. Accept Opportunities to Use Your Gifts
When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a writer. From a young age, I would hop on our old desktop computer and write children’s books. Then, I progressed to chapter books. When I was overwhelmed with teenage angst, I journaled and wrote poetry. I created opportunities to exercise my gift.I’m not entirely sure why that changed when I entered into adulthood. Sure, I continued to blog here-and-there, and I would write excellent college papers, but I was quite haphazard about a something that my younger self treated with such dignity.
When I was offered opportunities to use my gift of writing by becoming a book editor, I accepted the opportunity. This decision was a game-changer. I could have made ridiculous excuses like most under-passionate Americans would, such as, “I don’t have the time,” or “I have other, more-important things to focus on.”What’s truly more important than maximizing your gifts?
What’s honestly more important to focus on than your portion of talents? Don’t you understand that God is holding you accountable for what you make of them in this lifetime? When opportunities to use your gifts come along, consider them a God-send!
The Bible says in Proverbs 18:16 that your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men. This means that the presence of your gift opens up opportunities for you. When your gift is in effect, it gets noticed by others. That’s how it happened for me! But, if you’re not using your gifts, how exactly can they make room for you?
There is more to life than working to fund your house bill, car note, and grocery budget. You have gifts to use. You have people to serve. When your gifts open up a door, yet the opportunity looks small, don’t be prideful.
Remember, your gifts make ROOM for you. What starts small can grow into something substantial and eternally-impactful. Consider it an investment.
3. Focus on Serving People
You’re given your gifts to serve others.
Even the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are all ones given for the edification of the Church.Maybe you’ve been under-utilizing your gifts because you think that focusing on your gifts is a selfish matter. It’s not. In fact, it’s a selfish act for you to neglect your gifts.
Neglecting your gifts does a steep disservice to every single person God ordained you to serve. It’s negligent.When you focus your gift outwardly, you’ll have drive, dedication, and urgency.
A servant puts the needs of others before themselves; as a servant, you’ll think of others’ problems as yours to solve, and others’ deadlines as yours to meet. There is nothing selfish in that. Subsequently, the greater your commitment to serving people, the greater your reward in heaven.
4. Trust that the Money Will Come
Stop reading right now and pull out your wallet.
Okay. I know that 80% will not pull out your wallet. To the 20% of all-stars that do: pull out a dollar bill. If you don’t have a bill, then pull out your debit card or your checkbook.
As you examine your money, or the symbol of it, be proud of yourself. Truly. Unless the money was given to you as a gift, then that bill, card, or check that you’re holding is a certificate of your service to others. Without working for the benefit of others, you cannot earn a penny.
Your money is directly tied to your service. The number of people you serve will, over time, dictate the number of dollars you make.
If you want to make incredible income, then you must become an excellent servant.You may need to look for ways to monetize your work, and you should; but don’t be discouraged if the numbers start small, too.
Remember, you’re making an investment. Your gifts will make room for you. As long as you keep service to others your priority, the money will come.