Hello lovelies! I am so happy to have you back for another week of A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence! I really hope you all enjoyed our visit last week from Hillary as she discussed every woman’s struggle during bathing suit season.
We only have a few weeks of our series left, and I promise we’re going to continue the fun! This week, we’re going to focus on our talents and spiritual gifts.
Have you ever watched any of those “talent” shows on TV these days? America’s Got Talent, American Idol, The Voice…the list goes on. I’m not a fan of any of them, honestly, but if I had to watch one, it would be The Voice. You know why? Because the judges choose blindly – only listening to the actual talent of the performer, rather than judging them based on appearance, clothing, color, gender, or whatever.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I think most of us have seen the castoffs from American Idol. The preliminary judges push people with no talent through to face the real judges just to give America something to laugh about. These poor people truly feel they have talent (well, some of them do – I think some of them purposely make a fool out of themselves for their 15 seconds of fame, so shame on them). But the ones who really feel they have talent face the judgment and ridicule of not only the American Idol judges, but the millions of viewers tuning in with the hopes of seeing them fall flat on their faces.
With a society full of people poking fun at others misfortunes, it’s no wonder so many of us are terrified to pursue our own talents and passions! We are afraid to fail, afraid someone might be a little better than us, afraid of being laughed at…
Let me tell you a little story…
I’m what you might call “awkward”. My dad used to jokingly call me “Grace” because I have none. (Don’t worry, he said it with love.) Like most teenage girls in high school, I decided I wanted to be a cheerleader.
Now, let me preface this by saying that up until that point in my life, I had no gymnastics training whatsoever, and the only cheering I had done was from the stands at a Friday night football game. Still, I was determined to be one of the cool girls who wore that cute little skirt and shook her pom-poms and did those awesome flips and drove the boys crazy.
Well, I was determined…until I showed up for try-outs. I saw girls flipping and kicking and cheering their little hearts out like it was their job! I stuck out like a sore thumb because I had absolutely no coordination and had only learned the words to two cheers the week prior. Add to that a standing back handspring? Yea, ok, hold on a minute….nope.
Needless to say, I didn’t make the team. And yes, I was slightly upset.
The coolest part of that story, though, is not the fact that I tried. (Yes, that’s pretty valiant of me, but there’s more.) The best part is, my mom and dad knew I had no coordination, but they fully supported my decision to try, and encouraged me to make an effort, regardless of the fear that I held inside.
You see, I learned that day that cheerleading is not one of my talents. Instead, I discovered that I’m a pretty darn good catcher in softball (thanks Dad!). I spent the three best years of my youth behind the plate in South Georgia, battling sand gnats in my mask, red clay in my shoes, and 100° heat in the shade…because I found my passion. I didn’t continue playing softball in college and to this day, I still miss it, but I’ve since found other things that are my talents, and I embrace them and follow them with passion.
What passions or dreams has God placed in your heart?
I firmly believe that we are all given very specific spiritual gifts, and I also believe that God gives us a yearning in our hearts to pursue a dream that will utilize these spiritual gifts. Whether it’s athletics, organization, the gift of public speaking or authoring a novel….whatever the desires of your heart may be, those desires were put there for a purpose.Who are we, as parents, to stifle the dreams and desires of our children’s hearts? What would have happened if Tim Tebow’s parents told him, “Son, we know that you love playing football, but the chances of you ever becoming a pro football player are so slim that we don’t think it’s worth it.”
Thank goodness they didn’t stifle the desires of his heart, because through football, Tim Tebow has been an outspoken voice for the Christian community, bringing positive attention to his faith and perhaps saving a few souls along the way. (By the way, if you’ve never read his book, “Through My Eyes“, it’s definitely worth the read.)
Now, we may not all know at a young age what direction we want our lives to take as an adult, and that’s fine. Our desires and dreams and passions will grow and change just like our bodies grow and change. When I was little, I wanted to be a dancer, but that didn’t pan out. (Did I mention my nickname, “Grace”?)
My parents still supported me – took me to dance class, bought those cute little outfits and tap shoes, and told me I was the cutest little dancer on stage.
“But what if I mess up?” There’s a pretty good chance that you’ll mess up when you try something new for the first time. Your character will be built on how you recover from the fall.
Some of the best life lessons I’ve learned came through dirt and sweat and blood and tears. Those are the memorable lessons – the ones that leave scars, either physical or emotional. If you are truly following your passions, the desires of your heart, nothing will get in your way, and once you reach your goal, you’ll be stronger than you ever thought you could be.
Parents, what can you do to help your daughter pursue her passions?
Support her, for starters. Get on board with whatever it is that excites her and share in her excitement! Maybe financially you can’t take her to dance lessons. Ok, research some awesome dance videos on YouTube and share them with her! Ask her to teach you the moves.
Allow her to fail. Moms always want to fix what’s broken, but when your daughter is learning to follow her dreams, she has to learn to pick herself back up, too. Don’t always rush in to save the day. Perhaps she takes a tumble during gymnastics and the only thing she bruises is her ego. It’s fine! She’ll live! Support her anyway, and remind her that you love her. And if she decides to quit, so be it. If something is truly her passion, she won’t quit. She’ll get back up and work harder next time.
Share your story. We all have stories of trying and failing and getting back up again. Your daughter needs to hear them, and be reminded that you were her age once (a long, long time ago…. you know, back in the day). Chances are, if your daughter feels that you can relate to what she’s going through, she’ll be more willing to come to you when the going gets tough.
Girls, how do you know what your passions really are, and if they’re worth pursuing?
Have you ever had chickenpox? (Probably not – they have vaccines for that now, but I’m old, so I had it.) Anyway, when I was 10 years old, I had chickenpox in a bad way. I was covered from head to toe, in my mouth, my ears, everywhere. I itched in places I didn’t even know existed, and no matter how hard I tried, the itching just wouldn’t go away.
Our passions are a lot like that, but in a much friendlier and non-itchy way. When you have a strong passion for something, it won’t go away. You think about it constantly, you write about it in your journal, you drive your friends crazy talking about it, you watch videos and read blogs about it…. So just do it! Dive in! Find a way!! Don’t let fear take the wheel and redirect your life. (Here’s a great blog post
I just read yesterday about going after God-sized Dreams.)
So are you ready? Are you pumped? Good!!!
For every post in this series, click HERE.
Now it’s your turn:
– Moms, how have your passions changed since you were a teenager? Any regrets?
– Girls, what holds you back from passionately pursuing your dreams?
– What is your passion, and what can you do TODAY to take the first step?
Remember to keep this conversation going on Twitter using #girlsguide2confidence!