When defining someone as multi-talented, most people will agree that it is someone who is skilled or gifted in a number of different areas. We’ve all sat in awe of the charismatic preacher who can also sing. Or the athlete who excels in several different sports. We’ve probably even found ourselves watching with envy-lite as we see someone whose abilities extend beyond one area; asking God, why can’t I do all of that?
I’ve been called multi-talented on several occassions and while it would be easy for me to revel in that, I also know that Satan is really good about perverting that which seems good into something that doesn’t not serve the purposes of or fufills the will of God. While it may sound wierd and maybe a bit border-line superficial, people who are multi-talented often find themselves experiencing some major issues and ultimately are more likely to succumb to failure then those who aren’t considered to be multi-talented.. You see, when you are gifted with the ABILITY to do many things well, you can find yourself assuming that you are supposed to be doing everything that you are ABLE to do. You end up doing a bunch of things but never the ONE thing that God has called you to do in that season of your life.
Unfortunately, I’ve experienced this paradox more times than I care to remember. I used to think that having a bunch of “irons in the fire” was a symbol of my savvyness and a result of the many wonderful gifts God has given me. What I found out the hard way was that many of those “irons” were not God-ordained and so therefore my gifts were still not very useful to the Kingdom of God and never really gave me any real joy.
I’m reading the book, Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald and he makes a wonderful distinction between being “driven” and being “called.”
“Jesus Christ will not do mighty works in the private worlds of people who are driven. He never has. He seems to prefer to work with people whom He calls.” “A Driven person is most often gratified only by accomplishment and the symbols of accomplishment. He is caught in an uncontrolled pursuit of expansion.” “Called people know exactly who they are, possess an unwavering sense of purpose, and an unswerving commitment.” MacDonald goes on to say that while driven people are not always bad people and often are very successful they tend to wear stress like a badge of honor and their motives waver depending on their goals.
All I can say is OUCH!
The fact of the matter is…ALL OF US ARE MULTI-TALENTED because, if we surrender our lives to Him, God will gift us with various skills, talents, and abilities according to His timing and the various seasons our lives. The important point is that we all must be careful to make sure that every thing that we do is something God has called us to…and not something we are driven to because we feel that we are skilled at it or we are running from some past experience.
In 2008, I’m striving to live the life of a called person. I’ve spent 32 years being driven and many times it has been only the negative experiences of my life that has driven my pseudo-overachievement. If that sounds insane, it’s because it is.
As multi-talented as I may be, I want to live a life that is not just marked by success but by significance. That is my confession for the new year.