Whose You Do You Want To Be?

Jun 09

If you have talent, there will always be someone telling you how to use it. Talent is in short supply, and smart people always have a vision for how you should use yours. It’s not enough to be good at what you do—you need to know where you want to take it (and more importantly where you don’t want to go).

Don’t mindlessly offer up your talent on the altar of the wrong vision. Be intentional with your talent, or someone else will do it for you.


  1. Hey Joshua, just wanted to say I’m enjoying your blog! I don’t really remember how I found it – maybe through Brady Boyd? Or DIRT? Or Gateway Church? Not sure. But anyway, your blog has been part of my “things to follow” for months now so I figured I’d let you know. I frequently share your posts with others as well! In this virtual world I feel I too little compliment the authors of things I like to read, so… Thanks for the creativity, great quotes, and notes to ponder! Have a great day! Michelle

  2. Joshua Longbrake

    Riddle me this: Can talent be increased? Is it static? Similarly, ability?

  3. Mom

    I seem to remember someone always saying, “Remember whose you are.” That being said–

    One always owns one’s talent, so to speak. Granted, one has to admit to the talent in the first place; this comes early to some, later to others. And as Joshua has mentioned, one must decide at various points whether to protect, sell out, or be willing offer the talent as part of a shared larger vision. Being wise enough to know oneself, and then to decide “whose…you want to be” is part of the ownership equation–the balance of what one keeps and is willing to ‘give’ away–and when–and to whom–and for what.

    I believe knowing how to understand and keep this balance is critical to answering the Longbrake’s questions as well.

    Can talent be increased? Being that I think it is God given, one might say it is an entity like breath and just IS–therefore it cannot increase. I disagree. But it can certainly decrease–it can go away–it can stop altogether. So, if it can do one, it can do the other. I belief wholeheartedly that talent can increase–by the same vehicle that it was given in the first place–inspired revelation? Spiritual direction? Incredibly hard, determined, unrelenting, say, thousands of days of hours upon hours of work?

    Talent is a gift. What we decide to do with whatever that gift might be becomes why it is NOT static. The ebb and flow of what we contribute to it–what we are willing to put into the raw material given us–THAT is why it can increase–THAT is why it is not static. We learn, we tweak, we find new ways to do old things, and old things that we can do new things with, and we watch others, and ask questions, and shamelessly steal from them–but because we are made differently, and have different ways of doing things, our ways of using the same things–well–they turn out to be OUR talent, increased, not static–more–and for us newly surprising perhaps–spurring us on to something–more. And we give thanks–if we are smart enough to be grateful.

    Abilities? Those are the things we just learn along the way. Can we increase those things. Surely we can–if we choose. Can we get better at those things? Again–if we choose. Used to be, flies annoyed me terribly. Now, I can kill them bare-handed 9 times out of 10. Didn’t always know how to do that. I learned.

    “It’s not enough to be good at what you do…be intentional with your talent.” And remember to give thanks. It will keep you centered and mindful of where it should be.

  4. WOW! “mom” I am speechless!

  5. I think it’s in The Release of the Spirit where Watchman Nee talks about becoming who God intends us to be by allowing His spirit to be released in us. Think of the person as a series of concentric circles, body, soul, and spirit, with the spirit as the core and dwelling place of God in us; as His spirit is released in our spirit, through the soul (personality, individual taste), and our body (physical traits), God expresses himself through the individual.

    Think also of Plato’s forms: if the ideal form of Table or Chair is an idea in God’s mind, our expression of a table or chair on earth is trying to emulate that “perfect” table or chair. So Mandy, as God knows me, seeing me completely outside of time in eternity, is like an idea in His mind. As I grow in faith and relationship with Christ, I become more like him and more like the Mandy that God created me to be. His Spirit is released in me through the unique individual creation he made.

    Talents, as in the Parable of the Talents, are gifts God has given us to steward. As an artist, I want to use my gifts and grow in them. The more I do it, in relationship with Christ and growing in knowledge of him, I believe I become more the Mandy that God thought to make. So the gift is given from God completely (static), but my knowledge and use of it increases (active). Does that make sense?

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