It’s a gift.

I think I’m going to adopt that saying as my mantra from now on. Sometimes it will be in a joking way, as when I’m talking about being directionally impaired and getting lost or turned around very easily. But mostly I will be serious, and it will be a reminder – to myself as well as to others – that we do indeed have many gifts in our lives. And when we take the time to realize and acknowledge this, our lives can change in powerful and amazing ways.

I’ve known this for quite a while, but the reason it’s on my mind now is that I just spent an entire weekend thinking, talking, and hearing about the gifts that each of us has, and what strength we have because of them.

The Fire of Hope event I wrote about a few weeks ago was last weekend. It was a rousing success in many ways, and that was a gift – for the founder of the event, for me as one of the speakers, for the other speakers, and for everyone who was there.

My presentation was the first one of the two-day event, so when it was done I had the gift of being able to relax and enjoy everyone else’s talk without having to think about or be distracted by my own. And since my talk was about finding the treasure in our gifts from God, it set a tone of gifts and gratitude that continued on throughout the conference.

Not that I was entirely or exclusively responsible for that. Many of the other speakers had stories and experiences that had to do with gifts, blessings, and gratitude. Even for things that don’t seem like gifts – or that didn’t at the time. Tragic events and devastating circumstances hit each of us at different times throughout our lives. Many are totally unexpected and catch us completely unprepared. It is the gifts we already have inside of us that help us deal with these surprises and tragedies. And it is in hindsight that we see what new gifts we have been given in the way of new strengths, skills, and insights.

As the conference continued, I received the gift of comments and compliments from people who told me that they took my words to heart and were recognizing and acknowledging some of the gifts and talents in their own lives – things that they realized they’d been taking for granted. I was especially touched by a woman I spoke with who has dealt with a number of severe difficulties in her life, but who realizes that the traumas she suffered are gifts that gave her perception and understanding she wouldn’t otherwise have had. When she told me she wanted to become a motivational and inspirational speaker, and asked for my advice on how to get started, I realized what a gift we had given each other. And I enjoyed thinking about what a gift she is going to be to the people she will help and inspire in the future.

To be able to help and inspire others just by being yourself and by sharing who you are and what you know seems to me to be one of the greatest gifts you can have. It can be enriching and rewarding for you and for the people around you. So think about the gifts and talents you have that you may be taking for granted. Or may not even be aware of. Make a point of noticing them, acknowledging them, using them, and being grateful for them.

When you start doing this on a regular basis, you will continue to discover more and more gifts within you, and you will be amazed at how empowering and fulfilling your life becomes. It will seem like magic, but it’s not.

It’s a gift.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 24, 2013.
©Betty Liedtke, 2013

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