Ever doubt yourself? Ever doubt that there is something special and unique in you that God can use to do something amazing in your life or the lives of others? What is that unique God-given talent that you can use to bring glory to God?
These are questions that plague us occasionally as adults and parents. Sometimes we forget that our children struggle with these same doubts too, and they need us to show them just how amazing and beautiful they are!
One afternoon after a long day of homeschool lessons filled with frustrations for my 11-year-old daughter, I set off to run a few quick errands. Knowing she could use some encouragement, I asked my daughter Kylie if she’d like to come along.
Solo time with Mommy is often a special treat for your children when they’re fighting for mom’s attention from their siblings.
We hopped in the van and as I drove out of our neighborhood, I could see her start to tear up in the back seat. When I inquired as to what was bothering her, the tears started to flow. She dropped her head and emptied her heart of all that was troubling this usually joyful little girl.
“Why is Math so hard for me?” she cried. She proceeded to lament about how her little brother and older sister seemed to breeze right through new concepts that required extra work and practice for her. She communicated her aggravation when she studied and tried so hard, yet would still receive a mediocre score on a test, while her little brother received high scores.
Then she said something I wasn’t expecting. “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be smart like them?” These words broke my heart, and I knew my sweet girl was due for a valuable lesson.
Children are just like us. They compare themselves against others and face real doubts about their talents and gifts. We know from 2 Corinthians 10:12 that this is not wise.
2 Corinthians 10:12 – New International Version (NIV): We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Resisting the temptation to compare to others can be very hard for children, especially when they have siblings.
That afternoon, I reminded Kylie that God had made her special and unique. The beauty of His plan is that He didn’t want her to be just like her sister, or just like her brother. Each one of them has special and unique gifts that God has given to only them.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. – Psalms 139:13-14 (NKJV)
We talked about her older sister and how her love of cooking and music has led her to use those talents to minister to our family and those at our church. Then I asked her, “What do you think your special gifts and talents are? What makes you different and unique?” At first she couldn’t think of anything, so I named a few to get her started, like her love and respect for the elderly and her beaming smile that lights up a room.
Before long, she had a nice size list and a lot of ideas on how to use them for God’s glory! Sometimes our children need that simple reminder that we love them just the way they are. I wouldn’t love Kylie any more if she was really good at math, and she knows that I love her because of, not in spite of, all her unique gifts and little quirks.
If you have a child who is struggling with discovering her special gifts and talents, or maybe is having a hard time being comfortable and confident in his own skin, here are a few things you can do to help encourage them to celebrate their unique God-given talents:
- Read a classic Bible hero story like the story of Noah, Joseph, or Esther. Talk about what these great men and women of the Bible possessed as their special talents, and how they used them to do great and mighty things.
- If your family has multiple children, write each child’s name on a large piece of paper and tape it to the wall – a piece for each child. Throughout the week, encourage everyone in the family to write (or draw if they are too little to write) something they admire about that family member, or what they think their unique gifts are. At the end of the week, read the posters aloud at your family devotion time. This is a great way to encourage your family members and let them see just how amazing everyone thinks they are!
- Find an activity that will help your child use his or her talents or even grow them. It could be a volunteer or ministry opportunity like visiting a local nursing home once a month and taking them homemade goodies and cards. It could be playing a sport, or acting in a play. There are so many options when it comes to activities for children. Don’t be afraid to let them try a few things (as time and money allow) to find the one that’s perfect for them!
- Read a storybook or watch a children’s DVD that has an encouraging message like I Will Trust God from the Hermie & Friends series. This DVD has two powerful stories that will help children learn about embracing their uniqueness and trusting God even when it’s hard to be different.
- Find verses that will encourage them and lift them up, and print them out on cards that you can place on the wall in their room or somewhere they will read it often. Remind them daily that they are loved by God!
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7 (NKJV)
Last but not least, pray for your children. Our children will struggle at times. Our prayers can get them through those scary and foggy journeys of childhood and onto a more confident and clear path to becoming the amazing person that God wants them to be!
How have you helped your children discover their God-given talents?