St. Therese of Lisieux said, “How great must a soul be to contain a God!”
Kind of a funny statement, if you’ve never been taught to appreciate the handiwork of God.
Talent awareness has nothing—zero—to do with ego. In fact, if you delve into your natural abilities, I promise you, you will have a newfound appreciation for God.
Why? Because knowing our design helps us better know the Designer.
And the more we learn about our infinitely loving and creative God, the more we…
- stand in awe of how he calls us to image him,
- love him with grateful and humble hearts,
- desire to serve him boldly, with all of our gifts.
And that’s because the message that we are loved is then finally able to travel from our heads to our hearts. We don’t just think it. We know that we are loved.
If we are so wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), God must love us. If we are purposed in his design, he absolutely has an amazing plan for our lives (Jer 29:11). And if he has an amazing plan for our lives, what are we doing feeling so invisible and powerless?
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim 1:7)
And once you see how beautifully made you are, there is no more accepting a low bar on your fulfillment out of false (but well meaning) humility or thinking of God as a disinterested but blandly benevolent being.
He. Loves. You.
God didn’t make you in a moment of distraction or boredom. God loved you into existence, pouring himself into your being 100%, with a delighted smile on his divine face. God does nothing by halves, nothing random, and nothing without glorious intention.
A dear Christian friend and mentor of mine put it this way: “If God said yes to your talents when he made you, are you going to say yes back?”
And as much as I am passionate about the incredible nuances of the CliftonStrengths reports (my area of professional expertise), those nuances cannot begin to express how uniquely and unrepeatably (CCC 2275) you have been woven together (Ps 139:13) by the tender hands of Almighty God.
It’s a little bit like the image of God’s Divine Mercy expressed to St. Faustina by Christ himself, as an ocean. The image of a deep, majestic ocean helps us to catch a mere glimpse—an inkling–of something beyond our ability to imagine fully.
Yet, even the mightiest oceans are nothing—nothing—compared to the depth and majesty of God’s limitless mercy.
So, he invites us to a starting place, a point of contact that we can contemplate and grow into. He takes us from an inkling of his magnificence to a personal encounter with the real deal.
And when we reach back and embrace his invitation, we are blessed.
I think of the CliftonStrengths assessment in a similar—though less profound—way. As amazing as it is to uncover your hidden talents, own them, and aim them at your life for rapid growth in the spiritual, personal, and professional spheres, this powerful framework is just a teensy tiny hint of how wonderfully made you truly are.
Really, just an inkling.
But still, a powerful point of entry into the greater mystery of your being and your purpose.
So we have a choice to make. We can step confidently into God’s intentional and beautiful design for our lives—or we can take a pass.
I have an inkling that your heart already knows the answer.
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