Archive for February, 2010

Got Talent?

February 11, 2010

I recived a few emails from a 19 year old girl serving in Iraq.  To protect her identity, I’m going to call her Lucy.  Lucy is a paralegal and joined the army out of high school.  Lucy and my sister met over the summer when my sister was interning with the JAG program in GA.  Lucy deployed to Iraq in October and has been having a difficult time.  I don’t think that is hard for us civilians to understand. 

Yesterday Lucy sent me an email about her passion for soccer.  She has had the opportunity to play with guards from Uganda.  She finds such joy in the sport and I’m sure it’s a time spent that takes her away from war.   As I read her words I couldn’t help but think she was reading my heart.  I love helping others.   I love the look on their face when a complete stranger helps them.   I love knowing that I am part of something bigger than myself.  Lucy loves soccer and would like nothing more than to use that talent to help others.  

What bothered me about her email was the part where someone told her that her talent will never materialize because she did not go to college.  He said that talent was not enough, you need to be educated.  God has nothing to do with talents.   Her opinion is not worth anything and she has not acheived anything in life.  SERIOUSLY?  You all know that I value education and I believe that doors are opened and lives are changed through education.  But I do not believe someone without a college degree is “stupid”.  I find it incredibly heart-breaking that someone would tear someone down b/c they do not have college education.  I think someone joining the military out of high school and being shipped off to war is incredibly brave. 

So my question to you – what is your talent?  Do you believe that it is a God-given talent?  I assume you would have to believe in God first!   Here’s an excerpt from one of Lucy’s emails and I think it will give you a little more insight. 

One of the lawyers here asked me to read a book. I started reading it and the book was basically saying that there is no such thing as a “God-given” talent. That great performers and great people have had to input at least 10,000 hrs of “DIRECT PRACTICE” in order to achieve greatness.

It states that God has nothing to do with our future and how we turn out to be because “TALENT” and “GREATNESS” can be achieved by constant “DIRECT PRACTICE” of 10,000 hrs or more.
I told the lawyer that I do not agree with what the book is saying, and that I haven’t fully read it, but so far, I believe in God and that some people do in fact receive “God-given Talent.”

He tries to persuade me to believe the book because the theory was “PROVEN” by surveys and statistics received from thousands of GREAT PEOPLE! So I asked him, “What defines “GREATNESS”? And he proceeded with this example; a child who was raised in a household with parents who loves to read will in fact love reading and will sit and read to please his parents, and that that love for reading will cause that child to be successful in their studies and have a bright future. I replied by saying. Not true. That child could in fact be pretending to read just to please his parents, and further inquired what defines ones’ “GREATNESS”?

Here’s the thing.  I believe that my talents are from God.  I also believe that I have to work at my talents.  I read a book by Carol Dweck last year called “Mindset” and she talks about Michael Jordan’s gift and how he worked incredibly hard to become what he is.  He didn’t come out of womb draining 3 pointers!  I can understand where the practicing of your talent increases it.  I get that.  What I don’t believe in is that you do it alone.  I honestly don’t think I would be who I am if God wasn’t by my side every step.  I am comforted by the fact that God is there every step and whatever choice I make, he loves me unconditionally. 

I am inspired by Lucy.  Her life is not easy and I know she’s depressed.  She has chosen to take a Christian attitude and pray for this man.  She wants to use her talent and see how she can help Uganda.  What an amazing 19 year old. 

So again, I ask…what is your talent?  How are you going to use that talent?