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I love a brand new year. For the past three days, new hopes, dreams and goals have been flooding my mind. I have also become aware of a reoccurring theme I’ve heard from Veggie Tales, Epiphany and Desperate Housewives; and I feel compelled to share it with you. The message is about your gifts and what you choose to do with them.
Yes, we’ve just come off the Christmas season, and many of us received lovely gifts that came in shiny paper. However, the message that keeps presenting itself to me is not about material gifts. Let me explain.
Earlier in the week, we picked up a number of videos from Blockbuster. On Saturday morning, we popped in the animated Veggie Tales Lord of the Beans DVD. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was delightfully entertained by the wholesome parody of Lord of the Rings and struck by its simple and truthful message.
In the movie, Jr. Asparagus (aka Toto instead of Frodo) receives the gift of a bean. He doesn’t know what it is, why he has it, and what he’s supposed to do with it. Through his very entertaining journey he discovers the answers to these three questions. The story’s message is that we are all given gifts that belong only to us. We can’t return them but we can choose what we do with them. We can ignore them, use them in a selfish way, or share them to make a difference.
Afterwards, I sat there thinking, this is just like some pageant contestants when they’re choosing a platform. Some contestants look outside of themselves to find a cause that sounds impressive. Some haven’t yet become aware of what makes them special. Still others choose to ignore their strengths because they feel that the judges will never see the value in what they offer. And let’s not leave out those who know what they’re good at, but just don’t know how to package it in a marketable way.
Veggie Tales Lesson: Identify YOUR gifts and make a choice of what to do with them.
So a couple hours later, I was singing at a Life Teen mass, and guess what the homily was about?
Yes, you guessed it-gifts. However, this message had a little different twist to it. Since the Church was celebrating the Epiphany, the presentation of the Magi’s gifts to our Lord, the priest shared that every person is a gift. He proceeded to read a wonderful passage about how different “gifts” arrive.
Some are perfectly wrapped. Some are loosely tossed together. Some arrive via special delivery. Some are fragile. Some are so tightly wrapped, they’re hard to open. Some have been mishandled by the delivery system. But no matter how they’re packaged, every gift is a treasure to the person receiving it. Every time we interact with others, we are sharing the contents of our gifts.
Again, I felt myself saying, that’s just like pageant contestants. Every single contestant is different. The one’s that sparkle brightest and stand out are the ladies that recognize their own uniqueness. Think of how boring a Christmas tree would look if every gift were wrapped in the same size box and wrapping paper, or, if every ornament on the tree were identical.
Epiphany Lesson: Gifts come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and types. Each serves a specific purpose and is beautiful.
Ok, so it’s Sunday night, and I took a break from writing about the inspiring events of the day before to watch one of my favorite shows, Desperate Housewives. There was a scene where Gabby’s youngest daughter, Celia, survives a brush with death. Gabby tells her husband Carlos that Celia was saved by God because their daughter was destined for greatness. Cuddling her daughter, Gabby falls asleep and begins to dream about what great things her daughter will do.
In her dream, Gabby is determined that her daughter is going to be a great actress and she sacrifices everything in pursuit of this idea. Her daughter, however, has no desire to become an actress.
Suddenly, Gabby wakes up from her dream as Carlos is walking back into the room. When he asks Gabby if she’s figured what their four-year-old daughter is going to be great at, Gabby replies that she doesn’t have to figure anything out, because Celia is great at being Celia. Gabby accepts her daughter for who she is and wants her to grow and discover her own path.
Desperate Housewives Lesson: Self acceptance is a key to inner peace and finding your purpose.
What are your gifts? Take out a piece of paper and write down three things that are special about you. If you feel a little stuck, focus on times and events in which you felt completely alive and comfortable while you were doing it. What comes easily for you? Ask those people closest to you what they think your strengths and gifts are.
Next week I’m going to talk more about platform and purpose, but the foundation of a dynamic platform or cause is in knowing your gifts and what you choose to do with them.
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To know, be and share yourself with others is the greatest gift you can give. Just imagine what the world would look like if everyone lived a life with purpose and understood their own unique gifts. 2010 can be your great awakening. Contact me today for more information on how we can work together to gain clarity on your gifts and develop a plan to share them.
Rhonda Shappert is a pageant expert, personal development life coach, and owner of Winning Through Pageantry™, a business she created that not only helps her clients achieve winning results in pageants, but helps them Succeed From The Inside Out™ in their lives. In the pageant world she has held multiple local, state and national titles. Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three who has been married 20 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and is on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. Their music CD entitled Cana is available through www.cdbaby.com/cd/shappert or on her website. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com.