Life is not a matter of milestones, but of moments. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

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Frankly Phyllis

Life is like Scrabble®

Over the holidays, our family -- especially the guys -- gets into Scrabble®, big time. We're talking high scores, finesse with fudged words, grace under pressure, final tallies on the table for others to see, all in complete silence! It happens at every family gathering: a Scrabble® board is set up, tempting and inviting the minds that obsess over conquering it with language par excellence.

What's the draw? Is it the competitive pull? It seems to be as much about competing with oneself as with your opponent, by finding better words to get more letters and triple word scores. Words are the big deal here, which begs these words from me:

What's the word on your plans for 2010? Maybe you don't have any, or perhaps your goals are etched in stone. Whatever the case, do you know you came with component parts that set you apart from others, for work that will bring you tons of personal satisfaction? It's true. Your likes and dislikes, your leanings, your favorite and detested things, while influenced by upbringing, are predominantly gifted to you by your Creator to serve Him and others -- and to make you feel unique and empowered in the process!

Try to connect with that blueprint, not work against it. In high school I prayed for the courage to speak to more than two people at a time; I almost missed my "gift." Then, in my 20's I noticed I liked listening to people's problems. That may drive you nuts, but I went with it and studied listening effectively to help people hear themselves. While our kids were in grade school, I used my graduate school training to volunteer as the school counselor and also started a Bible study group for moms. Both helped me hone my counseling skills. The combination of encouraging women with God's words brought stunning results. I continued to use my words to encourage throughout the years, personally and professionally, and years later, I ended up with a radio show. It was only then that I came across a Bible verse that basically said to encourage the weary with words! God had been guiding me through His gift, through my enjoying the job of encouragement and getting good feedback from it. Through my interests and natural inclinations, He led me into broadcasting His encouragement on Woman to Woman® with my guests.

Now, that said, there are the finer points to developing one's gifts. For example, my gift of words can inspire, but it can exhaust, too. I pray for discernment to know which is going on in a given moment. There are also plenty of times when I'm out of words, fresh out of encouragement and need some myself. That's why I stay in The Word -- His, The Bible. God never runs out of words to encourage us. It works like milk strengthens bones, every single time.

I'm guessing that as you proceed through 2010, you will find more ways to use your gifts. May they bring you great joy, encourage others and bless the Lord in the process! Let Philippians 2:1 be your 2010 reminder to follow your natural leanings, the things you love to do, to where the Lord is leading you. That verse reads, "...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." That's a pretty good job lead! It gives you the jump on what to downplay and what to work harder on in developing your gifts. Frankly, you could put any of this on your Scrabble® board and blow the game wide open!

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