Thursday, November 6, 2008


Last night, I got in a discussion with my dear roommate and her friend about talent. The word "talent" is such an ambiguous word.  Merriam-Webster defines talent as "a special, often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude". In many cases, talent is very easy to recognize- it is very obvious that Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is a naturally talented swimmer. Yes, he trains like crazy, but even if I trained the same amount of time and at the same intensity he does, I could never swim at his level of skill.
In my eyes, musical talent is a whole different ball game. I am a musician, and I have been for 17 years. Not to stroke my own ego, but all my life, I have been told that I am "talented" at music. I am beginning to wonder what this compliment actually means. To me, musical talent is the fact that J.S. Bach wrote over 1,000 amazing compositions in his short lifetime. My 9 year old piano student is talented- she has flawlessly perfect pitch and can play any piece of music placed in front of her. My dear friend Rachel sings like a goddess- I am positive she will be the lead soloist in the angel choir in Heaven. As I contemplate, talent appears to be more of an anointing by God than trained skills. 
But me? Musically talented? I'm not so sure anymore. I have worked my butt off for 17 years to develop my musical skills. I have dedicated hours to building the tools which enable me to read music and make my fingers play what's on the page. I can only do what would be expected of me, considering that I've slaved to to reach the musical level that I have.
So, what is my "talent"? To be continued...


Kevin Waugh said...

This is a very interesting idea to think about. It really all depends on what your definition of "talent" is. Is talent the same as skill, or are the two different? Could it be that talent may be viewed in the same way as "beauty"? Whose to say what is beautiful? Doesn't everyone have a different image of beauty?
In the same way, I believe that people see talent and automatically compare that person's ability to another. If I were an Olympic swimmer and was constantly around the other swimmers, would I believe that they were "talented" or skilled? I think talent is given from God, and skill is what we are able to do beyond our talent. We can always improve our skills based on the talent given. There are different levels of talent and I believe everyone is talented in something or many things. Talent is also often not noticed until you are recognized for it by someone else.
For instance, you said you've been a musician for 17 years. I have heard you sing and play the piano and you are incredible! You are talented because God gave you the ability to do that. You are also very skilled because you have perfected and trained yourself based on your talent. You may not be a "Bach" or "Michael Phelps", but that doesn't negate the fact that you are talented! I cannot come close to your ability in singing or playing the piano, but should that stop me from recognizing that there may be a natural talent that I could begin to perfect if I started today? You should accept those compliments from the people who tell you that you are talented. They wouldn't say it if they didn't mean it.
Bottom line: Accept the talents that God has given to you. I don't have to remind you to be humble in accepting them because I know by this note that you are. It doesn't make you arrogant in any way for acknowledging your talents. That's why God gave you them, and you bring glory to Him by using them. Be blessed today!!

TryingToFindMyself said...

Okay, so I have no idea who this Kevin guy is.. lol But I agree completely with what he has said! You are very talented. People all over wish everyday that they had as much talent and skill as you do. So wear it proud. :) Love you.