What is talent good for?
What is a talent for? No, really, think about it for a minute. If you have talent, whether it be singing, dancing, athletics, academics, super-sonic hearing, or whatever, what is it for?
How about a hobby? Does your enjoyment of model building, game playing, crocheting, or comic book reading serve a purpose? Does it need to?
These are issues I’ve been thinking about at great length lately. It began with the disappointment I felt in having to let go of very intense dance sessions/practices that had been in preparation for an event that is now over.
Going from having every waking hour consumed with physical and mental pressure, to not much on the horizon, has stumbled me in a variety of ways. I miss the exercise, the intensity, and the suspension from “real life.” The Lord is teaching me some important lessons through this experience, no doubt!
I’m a firm believer in the “no coincidences” rule, and a video I had seen a few weeks prior has also been rolling around in my brain. This nugget of wisdom came from an unlikely source: a comedian. It’s a video by Michael Jr. called “I Like Laughter” and you can see it here. It’s just about 3 minutes, but well worth the time.
In it, Michael says something that I believe answers the ultimate question about the purpose behind talents and hobbies: “If we just can stop asking the question ‘What can I get for myself?’ and start asking ‘What can I give from myself?’ I think people would learn that you don’t have to be a comedian to deliver a punch line.”
Don’t get the connection? Here’s what I think. When Michael began to view comedy and the talent he has in making people laugh as a gift for others, rather than an ego booster for himself, his comedy was transformed. His career was realigned and the new path he embarked upon had the express purpose of blessing others with the gift of humor.
If I can view dance (or anything else that gives me great joy or satisfaction) as something I can give for the benefit of others, the purpose then goes beyond my momentary “high” and transforms both me and the recipient.
The beauty of “giving away” a talent or hobby is that you don’t have to discontinue it– you just have to share it. So, if you love to sing, sing for the joy you might bring to others. If you like to read comics, share the wonder with a child who needs to feel valued. If you love trivia or model building, find someone with whom you can learn and build together.
It may take some effort to figure out how to give or share your talents. I’m still processing what that might look like in my own life. One thing I do know, is that joy experienced internally is self-gratification, but joy shared externally has the potential to impact others, allowing its reach to go on indefinitely.