Image by evilnick via Flickr
Michelangelo worked on a number of statues but only completed some of them. A few unfinished ones are in a museum in Italy - the unfilled potential of a great genius. What's sadder is people who could become masterpieces if only they were developed. You ask, 'How do I discover and develop my gifts?'
1) Look up! You cannot arrive at your life's purpose by starting with yourself. 'It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for' (Ephesians 1:11 TM). Talk to the Lord!
2) Give up! You've got to be willing to sacrifice what you are in order to become what God wants you to be. Moses gave up the riches of Egypt to identify with a nation of slaves. Paul gave up the prestige of being a Pharisee to pay the price of being an apostle. Every achiever has a 'give up' story - nothing comes free.
3) Show up! To win you must play the game. You can't sit on the sidelines. You were put on this earth to make a contribution. You weren't created just to consume resources - to eat, breathe and take up space. No, God has called you to make a difference! What God told Jeremiah is true of you: 'Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work' (Jeremiah 1:5 NCV). Find your God-given assignment and pour life into it. "David had served God's purpose in his own generation" (Acts 13:36 NIV). There is no greater tribute than that! Imagine it chiseled on your tombstone: that you spent your life doing what God wanted you to do. It doesn't get any better!