God has deposited within each one of us gifts and abilities that He intends to use for His glory. Perhaps you’ve discovered your gifts already, but you’re wondering when they’ll find a voice, a place or a platform.
This is a common conundrum we all face at some point in our journey. Silent seasons accompany our giftings, and the length varies for each one of us. For some, opportunity seems to hunt them down like a hungry lion. For most, there’s a long runway with a painstakingly slow taxi to takeoff. So, what do you do between the taxi and the takeoff, between the silent wilderness and the soaring wonder, between the point of oblivion and the place of opportunity?
The Proverbs writer offers some insightful wisdom: “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16). Those words might give you hope, or they might remind you of what wasn’t, what isn’t or what feels will never be. No matter what comes to mind, I believe there’s some helpful perspective buried deep in this verse. If you want to make room for your gift, it begins with four things.
1. Embrace Your Gift
The verse begins with three foundational words: “a man’s gift.” It doesn’t say, “Your neighbor’s gift,” or “The gift you wish you had,” or “The gift you hope you get.” It’s personal. Singular. Individual. “A man’s gift.” The first step to opening doors for your gift is to make sure it’s your gift. You can’t grow the gift that doesn’t belong to you. Discover it. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Own it. Here are five steps to discover your gifts.
2. Exercise Your Gift
While this verse doesn’t explicitly say, “Use your gift,” it most certainly implies it. Hearsay about a gift doesn’t bring you before great men. The gift has to be exercised on a regular basis. That takes discipline, intentionality and focus. Before your gift will make room for you, you have to make room for it. That happens when you choose to use your gift regularly, even in the most obscure places.
3. Enlarge Your Capacity
As a gift is exercised, no matter how small the opportunity, something interesting happens—the gift grows. Its capacity increases. But if your gift is ever going to “bring you before great men,” you have to do the hard work of investing in your gift. You have to invest the time, energy and money necessary to fully develop it. The reason most people don’t enlarge the capacity of their gifting is because they’re simply not willing to pay the price. As a result, they never move to the final stage…they don’t earn the opportunities they’ve always dreamed of.
4. Earn the Opportunity
In most cases, opportunity has to be earned. Unfortunately, many people desire the opportunity without the discipline of preparation and practice. But it’s amazing how opportunity seems to appear to those who have toiled faithfully in the silent seasons. Opportunity comes to the prepared. As your gift grows bigger from regular exercise, careful evaluation and disciplined development, people will begin to take notice. Slowly they’ll trust you with new opportunities. The opportunities are small at first, but as you wisely steward your gifts (and those early opportunities), God will open new doors.
People get tripped up in several places in this process. Some never discover or accept their true gift. They spend all of their time trying to be somebody God never designed them to be. Others admire their gift but rarely put it to use. Excuses, schedules and laziness get in the way of activating the gift on a regular basis. Sometimes they’re too prideful to take small opportunities, convinced they deserve much larger ones. Still others aren’t willing to pay the price of enlarging their gift to the size that will actually earn them the opportunities they deeply desire. As a result, the true depth of their potential is never realized.
This process actually creates a cycle of growth and opportunity. The more you grow, the more opportunities appear. The more opportunities appear, the more you realize your need for continual growth. Pursuing opportunities reveals your growth gaps, and closing those gaps opens new doors of opportunity.
One last thought. Don’t get hung up on being “brought before great men.” Our 15 minutes of fame culture has created an unhealthy perspective on success and significance. We’ve allowed the lure of major platforms to overshadow the significance of smaller platforms. Be faithful with your gifts regardless of how big or small your opportunities may be today.
This article originally appeared here.