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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Talent Ain't Enough

I watched the London Olympics yesterday.
I so admire these young athletes.
Many started out as young children and have worked doggedly to achieve their goals.
However, I was shocked and a little disappointed by Michael Phelp's dismal performance in the men's  (swimming) 400 medley.
I couldn't believe how he lagged behind almost from the beginning.
Michael Phelps? My swimming hero?
It simply couldn't be.
But he finished about 4 seconds slower than the amazing Ryan Lockte.
I felt so bad for Phelps as he looked up and viewed his disappointing time on the scoreboard.
Later, some commentators said that he simply hadn't trained hard for the event.
Almost like he had assumed that his great talent would take him the distance.

I don't know if that's true or not.
But I've seen  a similar attitude in many talented people.
It's an arrogance, frequently born out of ignorance or naivete.
It's usually the young ones; the ones who haven't gone out into the world and discovered that there are tons of talented people, just like them.
Their competition.

Just like athletics, the arts also attract some incredibly talented people:
artists, musicians, writers, dancers.
The ones who are smart know that the "race" is about doing everything possible to make their work stand out.
Talent isn't enough. If you're talented, you're a dime a dozen.
In a world of big fishes, you must be even bigger.
Smart artists look for ways to increase their edge even after they've achieved a measure of success:
  • a little more training,
  • constant efficient practice
  • taking that extra class,
  • finding the best coaches or teachers,
  • studying your game and analyzing your weaknesses,
  • assessing the competition,
  • constantly asking yourself --and your critics -- what more you can do to improve
  • and never assuming you know it all.
The Christian life is like this, as well. Not that we're competing to be more mature or more Christ-filled than other believers. But the Holy Spirit's call to the Christian is to be diligent and disciplined in seeking Christ, in seeking to know Him and in obeying Him in all things. The Apostle Paul speaks about this when he describes his motivation to spread the gospel. (1st Cor. 9:25-27) It's like an athlete who trains hard so that he can win. No matter what each of us has been called to do, we need to do it with similar zeal.

I sure hope Michael Phelps comes back from his humiliating performance. I hope he continues to do the things required to prepare himself for another 2008-type race.
He's a great talent.

 "You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.
I don't know about you, but I'm running for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else about it and then missing out myself." (1st Cor. 9:25 The Message)


  1. Wise words, Dena!

    I firmly believe talent comes in seed form. It must be nurtured to maturity.

  2. I agree, Susan. Good teaching and excellent, consistent practice turn the talent into something worth watching, seeing or hearing. I wish more church musicians would pursue continued training!