Wesley, Liza, Katy & Kanisha

What do you do when gifted means different? Don’t hide your gifts. Let them shine for God’s glory.

embarrassed guy2Do Not Be Ashamed

In grade school, the other kids thought I was a genius. I wasn’t. I did my homework and had my parents check it. In high school, I made straight As; but I never felt smarter than anyone else. In college, I learned to be happy with a C. What happened? Did I get dumber as I got older? Was I exposed for the average person I am? To a degree, but something else happened. When all the kids thought I was a genius, I learned pretty quickly that some of them were nice to me only so they could copy my homework. So I began to dumb myself down, to hide my abilities. Since then, I’ve learned a more valuable lesson: Do not be ashamed of what God has given you. Only be ashamed of using God’s gifts in the wrong way.

—Wesley Overhults

Serve God, Reflect Christ

I was homeschooled; and with strong English skills and a talent for memorizing scripture, I moved ahead a few grades. I was different; and when people made fun of me, I began to shrink. Instead of answering questions, I let others answer.

When I changed churches, my teacher said I had a spiritual gift for teaching and should use my gift for God’s glory. Matthew 5:16 (NRSV) explained: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” I realized that I could serve God by reflecting Jesus. What other people thought about me didn’t matter; what God thought was important. The moral of my story? Don’t hide your gifts. Use your talents to point to God.

—Liza Mayer, 15

Love Yourself, Be Humble

hat over face FTR 2I was doing my homework while all the neighborhood kids were outside playing. As I watched out the window, one of my classmates ran by and yelled, “Why can’t you play like a normal kid?”

I liked making good grades, but I didn’t like being teased. So I learned to hide my gifts. In a way, I was saying, “I’m embarrassed to be me, so I’ll act like someone else.” I didn’t raise my hand if I knew the answer; I intentionally took longer on tests, and I never let anyone see my report card.

As I got older, no one teased me about my grades. But still, I was hesitant to show my gifts in leadership, academics, or sports. If I excelled, people would think I was different or trying to be better than they were.

Years later, I realized I was being ridiculous. We are God’s masterpiece. Why would I cover up God’s artwork? I’ve since learned that true humility isn’t talking down about ourselves or acting as if we’re not good at anything. True humility is being real about our weaknesses and our strengths.

—Katy Steele, 24



Embrace Your Differences

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
Psalm 139:14 (NRSV)

God has blessed you with gifts that make you unique. You may have been teased because of your talents; maybe you didn’t fit in. Being misunderstood or rejected hurts. When you’re feeling alone and different, read Psalm 139:14:

Even when no one else seems to value your interests or your perspectives, God does. Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from embracing your God-given talents and using them to offer the world something only you can give.

—Kanisha Parks, 24

—from devozine (March/April 2016). Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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