Each of us have areas of creativity in which we excel and feel comfortable. For me, knitting is my favorite creative outlet. I love starting with a single piece of yarn, albeit a very long piece, wrapping it around a needle many times, and ending up with a blanket or a scarf or whatever I chose to make. Knitting is relaxing and can be done while conversing, listening to music, or watching television. It takes considerable time to knit to complete most items, so my knitting endeavors are generally gifts for loved ones. It is a rare occasion in which I use knitting to share God’s love with others.
Rather God has stretched me by having me delve into areas I would never have imagined. As a high school math teacher, I was challenged to develop creative methods to make algebra and geometry interesting and instill lessons in my students. Understanding mathematical concepts did not come easy to many of my students. As I prayed for direction, God gave me games and activities to bring the lessons home.
One year, however, I was assigned to teach kindergarten rather than math. God took me way outside my comfort zone and used that year to open me up to new creative endeavors that I had never tried. One of the biggest challenges was creating an act for the children to perform in a school program. The easiest thing I could think of was to write new lyrics for a common children’s tune. It was simple but effective. The children enjoyed singing it in the school program for their parents, and I fulfilled an assignment that terrified me. I have no desire to write songs, but the experience opened me up to trying new things to teach and delight children. It helped me to be less afraid of embarrassing myself and more open to taking risks.
There are many ways to be good stewards of the natural talents that God instilled in you.
- Hone your skills. As a child my grandmother taught me to knit very basic stitches. When I was a teenager, she determined that it was time for me to take over her hobby of knitting Christmas stockings for the family, and she taught me the Fair Isle technique of seamlessly weaving different colored yarns to produce a beautiful image or scene. Since that time, I have learned new techniques and new stitches, often with the aid of Youtube.
- Try new things. Don’t be afraid to feel foolish or to make a mistake. Working within your comfort zone is fine most of the time, but occasionally step outside of your comfort zone and try something new.
- Use your talents to bless others. Performance skills, such as singing and playing a musical instrument, offer many opportunities to bless others by performing in the church choir, nursing homes, and shut-ins. But what if your talents are not in the areas of performance arts? You can bless others by cooking a meal for someone who is ill, sewing clothes for a child in need, writing an encouraging note, knitting a scarf, arranging a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers, or sharing produce from your garden.
- Share your talents. Teach what you do well to a friend or a student. A few years ago, ladies in our church taught some Burundi refugees to cook on an electric stove; the refugees had only cooked over open fires before coming to America. I think our ladies were as blessed by the experience as the women they taught.
- Volunteer. As you allow God to stretch you, look for ways for Him to use you to bless others. I still don’t consider myself to be artistic, but I enjoy crafts. This year, I will be the craft coordinate for VBS. Church youth programs and day care centers provide many opportunities to use your talents to teach children.
Thank God for the talents He has instilled in you, and ask Him to show you how you can use those talents to honor Him and share His love with others.
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hand.” Psalm 90:17