Do you know what your talents are? Do you know what your weaknesses and strengths are? (I will use the words strengths and talents interchangeably). Why do I emphasize strengths? I shouldn’t have to answer that but I will. We all tend to emphasize our weaknesses over our strengths. If we only focus on our strengths, our weaknesses will never improve. Our weaknesses give us something to work on and they can become strengths.
What we don’t need to do is become discouraged by our weaknesses. If we consistently and little by little make progress on them, then we have no need to be put out by them. Sit down and write a list of your talents and weaknesses. The only rule is that you cannot have more weaknesses written down than strengths. You have to either list more talents than weaknesses or there has to be an equal number. It always helps to ask close friends and loved ones what your talents are. My husband and I have this thing where we will randomly ask the other “tell me why you love me?!” This usually happens when one of us is feeling in need of some extra love. It’s then upon the person asked to come up with a reason why, and it can really be a boost to the ol’ spirits.
Are you wondering what this has to do with service? Well if you don’t know this stuff about yourself then there is a greater chance you aren’t using your time and talents to help others. Let’s say you always get compliments on how nice you look, hair, make-up, and clothes. Depending on your circle of friends, you may know people, whether you realize it or not, who don’t feel confident in these areas. How do you offer help without offending anyone?
Enter social networking… you simply put a status on Facebook that says something like, “Hey friends, I love helping others shop and find clothes that look awesome on them, and I love doing hair and make-up. I enjoy it so much I would love to help anyone with any of these – whooo girly time! Hit the Like button and I will message you or call you.” You could do the same kind of thing for helping others organize their homes or decorate. “Hey friends, you know how I love to decorate and organize. Well, I am more than happy to help (for free) anyone who needs it. I know I am crazy, but I really enjoy it! If you want my help hit the Like button and I will get in contact with you.”
Social media helps to make this a very easy way to reach a ton of friends. It’s also a great way to offer your help without it being awkward because they let you know if they are interested. I have never seen a status update like this, but how cool would it be if everyone was willing to use their talents to bless others. The point of making the list is to show you what you enjoy and where your talents lay. Hopefully you have an aha moment and realize: hey, I would totally love to help someone do x,y or z!!! Don’t be afraid to share your talents, please, I beg of you! Just do it and you will be happy you did, I promise you 🙂 Don’t let any negative self-doubt slip in, move forward and shut those negative thoughts down, shut them down!!!
Another example – let’s say you teach piano lessons and you leave one slot open for a freebie. Let people know about it via e-mail or social networking sites . . “First person to respond gets free piano lessons for a year.” Or you could contact someone another way, too. Maybe you know of a family who would love to have their kid in piano lessons but can’t afford it. You can always ask friends. I bet they will know someone or they themselves may want a child in piano lessons. They just didn’t want to bother you or can’t afford it themselves.
Service doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be “your mother’s service project!” You don’t have to go to a food bank or the old folks’ home unless you want to and it doesn’t have to take up all your time.
My SIL and I were talking about this, and she posed this thought, “what if I focused my resolutions on helping others accomplish their goals and things they want to learn.” She is a wood worker (as well as many other things) and has friends that would like to learn (me included 🙂 ) What if we made it a priority to help friends learn a new skill? A great way to spend time with our friends, I say. I am sure there are charities and old folks’ homes that could use some decorating help; why not ask about it? If your interests lay in beautification, why not make these places beautiful, an enjoyable place to be for anyone who enters? Want to put a specific talent to use? Well, do it! Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to ask; that’s where it all starts!
Why not try a talent exchange? Let’s say you speak Spanish and want to learn how to ride horses. Contact a local place that offers horse riding lessons and ask if there is a way to exchange talents. Put it on Facebook. “I am willing to teach someone how to speak Spanish if they can teach me how to do one of the following: ride a horse, photography, bead, or knit.” Let’s say you get this trade. What better way to solidify your abilities than to teach someone else what you have learned?! What if you don’t get any takers? Ask a few close friends in the area to re-post your status about the talent exchange or your willingness to teach and help someone else learn something.
Could finding a way to serve others be any simpler? You don’t have to go looking for a place to serve. You just simply offer your talents through social media and see if you get any takers.
For the little people – Kids are finding out who they are and what they like and don’t like. If you take them along for the ride of serving others using your talents, they will want to be just like you. Here’s the deal. Our Heavenly Father knows what we are good at and not good at, and He has a plan for us. As parents, we need to follow that example and help our kids reach their potential and PLAN on how we can help them best reach that potential.
Be prayerful in this matter and we can receive inspiration on how best to help each of our children. Sit down with your kids and make a list of what they are good at and what they struggle with… just be tender with them. Gently point them in the right direction but do not point out any of their weaknesses. We don’t like it when others point out our weaknesses! Kids are hard on themselves, too, and don’t need us pointing out their flaws. As parents, I think the best thing we can do for their weaknesses is to do things that will help strengthen those weaknesses by providing opportunities for growth. Also, make a list of what they want to do and accomplish. Their little lives are just beginning. Let’s get them going on the right path.
On Facebook, I am going to offer to help someone learn photography. I can’t tell you to do something I am not willing to do.
Let’s start a movement! If you do this, post on The SIP project Facebook page and just copy and paste your original Facebook status of your offering to use your talents to help someone else, and if you got any takers. This is gonna be so much fun! Get movin’!