Two Crimes Against Humanity

Charlotte Partridge, From Britain With Love,

Guard your Heart for it is the Wellspring of Life – by Charlotte Partridge

One of my best friends, Charlotte Partridge, has just had an ‘unmissable’ solo art exhibition entitled ‘From Britain with Love’, and I was completely and utterly blown away by her talent. Of course, I already knew that she was a very gifted artist, but it was also the way she organised the entire week-long exhibit and made it look so effortless that particularly impressed me.

Finding people who are both passionate about what they do and good at what they love is like discovering treasure – it enriches the lives of everyone around them.   And yet, celebrating another’s strengths isn’t always our first or most natural reaction.

We’ve all been there – so inspired by someone else that we’ve wished it for ourselves – to be funnier, faster, stronger, more beautiful, more creative, more intelligent, the list is endless – but I’m sure we’re all agreed, if each of us had the same gifts, life would be very boring.

Envying somebody else is like saying you wished there were two of another person, and not a you.  If granted, the world would ultimately be robbed of its uniqueness and diversity.

Envy is deceptive.  It tricks us into thinking we can become a fuller person, when in fact it makes us less of who we were created to be.

Chelsea Bridge Nails

Chelsea Bridge – by Charlotte Partridge

Certainly, inspiration can be a great thing, but its purpose is to motivate us to grow in our giftings, to encourage us to advance through certain levels of expertise and propel us into something new.

It’s like when you play tennis with someone very good, it improves your game, bringing out something that is already present in you.

Similarly if I chat to someone particularly outgoing and funny it draws out a side of me that is more gregarious, which I really enjoy, but can’t maintain alone.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, ‘In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out.  By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.’

So, when you socialise, the combination of people in the group will cause different characteristics to become more prominent in each of your friends.   You’ll see new sides to them by introducing them to new people. This only goes to emphasise the importance of community and how vital individuality is for bringing variety in life.

We were all made wonderfully different for a purpose.  Don’t be fooled into envying others and don’t lose your identity trying to be someone else.

Envy’s partner in crime is comparison.  If envy is a fraud, comparison is a thief.

One moment we feel like we’ve grown out of it, and the next thing we know, it will sneak up on us all over again, going through all our insecurities only to air them in public for all to see.

Comparison steals our ability to pursue our gifts with the freedom and purpose with which they were given to us in the first place.

It has been said that ‘Your talent is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to him.’

What gifts have you been given?  There will be things that you can do which nobody else in the world can do quite like you.

Floral and heart cut out nailsWhen you restrict the use of your talents for fear of being perceived as less accomplished than someone else, you deny humanity the full range of colour and variety that every one of us was intended to experience.

 
You may already know what your gifts are and be using them to the full. To you, I express my heartfelt thanks for sharing your skills with the world.

On the other hand, you may not yet have located your talents.  My encouragement to you would be to think about what it is you’re passionate about.  What makes you come alive when you think about it? Frederick Buechner wrote that ‘Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.’

Then think about what you are naturally good at.  What seems effortless for you but a bit more of a struggle for other people?   Whatever it is, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential it is, claim it as a personal gift to you from God.

If you are aware of your areas of expertise but aren’t exercising them either for fear of what other people will think of you, or for fear of failure then I would urge you to recognise your individuality, encourage yourself in the small steps you take in pursuing your gifts and, if possible, surround yourself with people who applaud your talents.  Then practise using them and keep going.  Who knows what you might achieve if you try?

Mozart had composed over 600 works by the time he died at 35.  He has been called ‘the perfect composer’ on account of including ‘startlingly inventive construction and incredibly few imperfections.’   Supposing he had attempted to mould his music to resemble that of his peers, or imagine if he’d suppressed his talents for fear of standing out.  The world would be a much poorer place.

What is humanity being deprived of?  What are you withholding from us? For the sake of everyone, be yourself and share it!

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