>> Sunday, April 29, 2012
There I was, perched on a stool, watching my mother make a cake. She took the big mixing bowl and started adding one ingredient after another seldom measuring anything. When she added cocoa to the mixture, I inhaled that sweet intoxicating smell of chocolate. I could hardly wait as she began pouring the batter into the cake pans.
"You want to lick the bowl?" A knowing smile lit up her face.
I went right to work with the big wooden spoon and cleaned every smidgen of batter from that big mixing bowl.
After I was grown, my mother came to visit. She sat watching me prepare dinner. "Are you sure I can’t help?"
"I only wish I had your natural ability for cooking.”
She chuckled. "Natural ability? I hardly think so."
"Mom, I remember watching you cook. You rarely measured anything and never used a recipe."
"It was much more a case of practice, practice, and more practice. That’s where most natural ability comes from," she assured me.
In light of this thought process, I invited my neighbor over hoping to learn more about this thing called natural ability. Over a cup of tea I inquired, "Could I ask you a couple of questions?"
"I hope I know the answers." Shirley’s laughter rang through the room.
"You’re very accomplished at playing the piano. Do you feel you have a natural ability?"
"I believe I have a God-given talent, but years of lessons, with years of practice, combined with His divine guidance, have given me my so called natural ability."
"Your second CD was released a few months ago. Not everyone who takes lessons is necessarily successful." I leaned forward, eager to know her answer.
"I’m very blessed, but make no mistake about it, I also work very hard. I practiced for months before doing my CD last year. There were times I fought discouragement. Let me assure you, along with practicing, I spent time on my knees. Think of our great singers—they have glorious God-given gifts. Yet, many of them have vocal coaches to help them develop their voice to its highest potential."
We finished our tea and I walked my neighbor to the door. I could see her front yard across the street. “Your roses are magnificent this year. Fred sure has a green thumb when it comes to gardening.”
“Fred babies them. He’s constantly feeding and trimming his rose bushes.”
There it was again. It wasn’t his thumb, it was the care and effort he put into growing his roses.
Later that evening I sat on the patio, gazing at the stars, still mulling this idea of natural ability over in my mind.
When I shared this concept with an author, she was quite amused, as she gave me some much-needed insight. "By the time I finish with the editing of a book, I am so tired of it, I don’t ever want to look at it again."
I listened to an artist talk about his success as a painter. His work is inspirational and it is obvious he possesses an awesome gift. He expressed how important his personal relationship with Christ is. He talked about how hard he worked to learn the art of placing on canvas the painting in his mind’s eye. Practice, practice, and more practice. There it was again, hard work.
Natural ability, is it really so natural?
- Start with dreaming a beautiful God given dream.
- Mix in, completely, a constant covering of prayer.
- Fold in a heaping scoop of strong faith.
- Combine with oodles of blood, sweat and tears.
- Burn the midnight oil as needed.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)