Sometimes, you find wisdom in the most unlikely places or when you are least looking for it. This morning, over my breakfast of peanut butter and celery (South Beach diet, anyone?) I was reading last Friday’s New York Times. As I said in an earlier post, I am always behind the curve when it comes to my reading. I came across this sweet feature story about a New York inner city middle school teacher who had been chosen by a scientist to accompany him and his crew on a science expedition to Antarctica. She was chosen so she could return and inspire her students to study science – a sort of inner-city Krista McAuliffe (with a happier outcome, I am sure)
I’m reading along when I come to this quote from the teacher, Shakira Brown, who was relating how she went from studying to be a doctor (big bucks) to studying to become a teacher (little bucks). She is all of 29 years old, and this is what she said:
“I prayed over it, and that’s where I was led,” she said. “When you pay attention to where you’re supposed to be, when you operate inside your gift, it just becomes easy. I found my gift; my gift found me.”
Right in the middle of a crunch of celery, there it was – a lightbulb moment – “When you pay attention to where you’re supposed to be, when you operate inside your gift, it just becomes easy.”
It made me think how much time I spend NOT paying attention to my gifts – worrying that some job or task is beyond me, or that I’ll never achieve this or that. I am sure I am not alone in this. What might we gain – in terms of our faith, in terms of our personal accomplishments, in terms of our service to others – if we “paid attention” and “operated inside our gifts?”
I wish Shakira Brown all the luck and happiness and success in the world. In looking to serve her students, she has given me something to think on, and – again, in her words – “pray over.”
Does anyone out there have a story to share about how they learned to operate within their gifts and what they learned from that?