One of the great inhibitors to true happiness is a failure to realize our true potential.

 

There are a lot of reasons why we settle for less—from ourselves, from others, from life. We can’t do much about what others do, or about how life turns out, but we can—and we must—make the best use of our own life, of our own talents and abilities.

 

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons) talk a lot about talents as gifts from God. You will see many Mormon men and women who seem to have it all—success in their careers as well as obvious talents that they readily share with the people around them. This is because we believe in the parable of the talents as told in Matthew, that the more we make use of those talents, or gifts, that God has given us, the more we will receive (Matthew 25:15-16, 20, 22, 24-25, 28.)

 

Learning to recognize your talents can be difficult. Sometimes we are not blessed with a remarkable musical talent, or the ability to disassemble and reassemble a car engine in record time. Sometimes are gifts are of a more subtle nature—perhaps we are able to discern when a friend really needs a listening ear, or a kind word.

 

In the Book of Mormon, we learn about the ways we receive talents, or gifts of the Spirit, and how you should use them:

 

And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

 

And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

 

And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.

 

(Moroni 10:8,11,17)

 

I have long been a fan of Mother Teresa—a more giving and truly charitable person, I’ve never known. But did you know that she suffered from pangs of doubt and feelings of inadequacy? Who would ever have guessed that this remarkable woman every doubted herself or in what she was doing? Yet, she did.

 

Mother Teresa

She hung a poem on the wall of the orphanage she founded in Calcutta. One can only assumed that she posted it there as a reminder to herself—a reminder to keep on keeping on, even when doubt assailed her.

 

Our Heavenly Father loves us and He has blessed us with many gifts and talents, many opportunities, to fulfill the measure of our creation. When we are being all that we can be, we grow closer to God and our hearts are filled. It is then that we can find true joy and experience happiness in all that we do.

 

And so I would like to encourage you to search your heart for those things that bring you joy, because perhaps they are a priceless gift that you have yet to fully appreciate. And when life’s trials seem insurmountable and the obstacles before you loom above you, remember who you are—a child of God, an individual with unlimited potential.

 

Anyway Poem

 

People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

 

If you are kind,
People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

 

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and
some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

 

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

 

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

 

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

 

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

 

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

 

You see, in the final analysis.
it is between you and God;
It is never between you and them anyway.

 

This post was originally published in May 2008. Minor changes have been made.

About Ali C

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