Called? Yes! Gifted? Not So Sure…

Have you ever felt called to do something that you’ve never done? Somehow you know in the stillness of your heart it’s the right thing to do, but have no idea where to start?

I think it happens all the time. I also think that it results in so much confusion that many dismiss the call or even quit before reaching the starting line.

When my dad retired, he and my mom began spending their winters in Florida. Over time, the stay in Florida got longer, so they decided to become Florida residents.

They had an easy transition to the new state, new home, new everything really. They were full of life and loved to socialize, so it didn’t take long before they had a wide circle of friends.

One of the activities my dad got involved in, much to my surprise, was Habitat for Humanity. A new friend of his worked with the charity, building houses for underprivileged families. My dad loved that idea.

Diving right in, he started up on the roofs, pounding nails into roofing shingles in the Florida sun. It couldn’t have been very comfortable or very stimulating work, but he really enjoyed it. When he hit his 70’s, the crew boss invited him to come down from the roof and never return. My dad saw the wisdom in that, so it was goodbye to roofs, and hello to drywall. He didn’t care, he just wanted to be a part of something good.

I mentioned that I was surprised. It’s not that I doubted his desire, or the worthiness of the charity. I just thought it was an odd choice. He never was the “handyman type.” He told me once that his dad (who could fix anything) didn’t want children around when he made repairs, so he never learned how to work with plumbing, electricity, or redecorating.

So I asked him why he thought he was able to help with constructing a house, because It sure didn’t sound like a perfect match of skill and purpose to me.

Let me tell you, his answer was priceless. “You can do anything if a professional shows you how.”

I love that. It’s such a great mantra for anyone who doubts their call in life.

His reasoning was so clear, simple and true. Never laid a roof? Have a roofer show you, and you’re on your way. Never hung drywall? Take the time to show up, listen and practice. You’ll get it done.

You may have heard that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. That means you don’t have to begin your new adventure unprepared and alone. Instead, like my dad, seek out others with experience in the field. Take classes, read books, find out how the professionals did it.

My dad never thought he’d be a tradesman. He just wanted to do his best. Isn’t that all that we can hope for too?

The key is to show up. Listen. Practice. With a little help, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll accomplish.



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Photo credits:

Photo by Ray Hennessy, Lance Asper, Janko Ferlic

67 thoughts on “Called? Yes! Gifted? Not So Sure…

  1. Love your dad’s willingness to learn something new and get involved. If we all have that spirit what great things we can accomplish! (We just need to remember God has our back)!

    • Hi Estelle! Thanks for your comment today! Hope you had a great weekend too πŸ™‚
      My dad was very down-to-earth, and I just loved his take on learning construction, even in a small way. We can really learn from each other, and yes, God has our back! He certainly had my dad’s, as he sweated away on those roofs. Dad was a great model of volunteerism for me.

      Happy Monday!

  2. Hi Ceil!
    Love this story about your dad! I think the understanding of “calling” is not easy for any of us to wrap our minds around. My oldest grandson (nearly 21 premed junior in college/abroad in Chile for this semester) and I were talking about that after a recent reading of the book, Grit. He noted that over my lifetime I have done a number of things. I wasn’t one of those who graduated from college and entered one profession for the rest of my life so he wondered which was the calling. (He often asks good questions when we visit him and he and I get off by ourselves for a walk.)

    As I reflected on the question and considered the various seasons and things I had done, I think the Lord revealed what the true calling was. It had shown up in every single thing I have done up to and including the present. Whether it was as a mom, writing feature stories as a stringer for a local paper, a women’s ministry leader, a reading or learning disability tutor, a special education teacher, a clinical counselor and marriage and family therapist, a writer, or a photographer I have primarily had one calling… help others to see things better, in a different way, in a way they could grasp something they had been missing.

    I think the Lord showed me that the real calling and gifting in any one of us is really the thing that shows up as the essence of who we are no matter what season or what we are doing. It still gets expressed through us.


    • Hi Pam! What a joy to be asked about that from a grandson! Your life must truly be an inspiration to his, and he is paying attention. That’s such a beautiful gift to know, isn’t it?
      I agree that all the things you’ve done have truly highlighted your love for people and desire to serve them. But wow…that’s a lot of education and drive and desire to apply yourself to so many different disciplines. I’m so impressed with the way you’ve used all your gifts to help others, and to spread your wings with your skill set!
      I’m so glad we know each other through our blogs πŸ™‚

  3. Wow, Ceil, such an inspiring story about your Dad! It’s so true, isn’t it, that God will equip the called? Your father is the perfect example of this, and a great role model for us all.

    • Hi Martha! He was an inspiring guy, that’s for sure. My mom was a volunteer too, so they both colored their children’s lives with a love for giving back. What a great legacy that is, right?

      Hope you have a great week off!

    • Oh Anne, I do love that word ‘curmudgeon’, but I doubt that described you. I know what you mean about fearing new things though. Who knows if we’ll be any good at it, or even fail miserably?

      Learning from others, and our own experiences is definitely the way to go. I think that’s why we’re all here together…to help each other help each other!
      Monday blessings,

  4. I understand what you mean. When I started this writing journey, I had people ask me to consider doing certain tasks. My standard reply was: “I’ve never done that before.” And then I would try to do what they asked. God does equip the ones He calls. Sometimes it takes time and energy and an outlay of funds (buying those books on writing, attending writing conferences, etc.)

    • Hi Cecelia! I think that’s part of what my dad was getting to, the learning how to be informed by others. Whether that means a writing class, or a reading books on the subject, we can truly learn about what to do and how to do it from each other. That’s why it’s so important to share our knowledge!

      Thank you for visiting and commenting today my friend,

  5. Beautiful, Ceil, JUST DOWN RIGHT BEAUTIFUL!

    I am a student of Youtube. You would not believe all the things I have learned to do by watching the professionals!

    GREAT point!
    Blessings, My Friend!

    • Hi Lulu! That is such a perfect example! I always go to youtube for gardening and computer advice. I love the video part, I must be more of a visual learner. If I don’t know how, there certainly are plenty of people who do.

      I remember being told that there’s just too much in the world to know and understand, so that’s why we have to share. I’m grateful for all the people who have been patient enough to share with me.
      Thank you for your encouraging words today πŸ™‚

    • Hi Debby! Yes, he was a wise man. Of course, he got magically more wise as I got older myself. Funny how that works, right? He was really humble too. I have much to continue to learn from him, even though he’s gone now.

      Well, gone in the flesh, but certainly not in spirit.
      Thank you for your kind words too!

  6. Ceil, I love this! How precious that your dad was WILLING! To me, often that is the key to anything….WILLINGNESS! I remember years ago when the Lord was dealing with my heart to teach His precious Word me saying to Him, LORD, I CANNOT teach and I sure hope YOU know that! In my spirit I felt like He said, NOPE CINDY you CAN’T, BUT I CAN! Just be willing. That was over 20 years ago. Good stuff today Ceil. Thank you for sharing in simple, yet very profound ways. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    • Hi Cindy! Thank you for your kind words about my dad and the words here today too. My father was a very humble and wise person, but I never considered the fact that he was WILLING. Such a great point Cindy, thank you for giving me that thought. I really love that!

      You know, I only know you through your blog, but I can’t think of anyone who would be able to do anything she put her mind to more than you. You have so much energy! I think of you as being very willing too πŸ™‚

      Have a blessed week,

  7. “The key is to show up. Listen. Practice.” I love this! It’s excellent and inspiring advice we can use at any time in our lives. Thanks so much for sharing your Dad’s story. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Karen! Nothing like a good list, right? It’s a pleasure to pass along wisdom from our families, especially our parents. They grow wiser and we grow older.

      Blessings on your week,

  8. Thats exactly how we ended up on the mission field. When one would come to our church we would always ask to host them…read tons of books on missions. A friend said, watch out Betty, God is probably going to ask you to be a missionary…now I say the same to those we meet with who need a little challenge to step out in faith. Love this post.

    • Hi Betty! Isn’t it amazing how powerful a suggestion or piece of advice can be? It sent you off to mission fields, and now you pass it along, spreading good words to others. I love that! We really have to pass along our wisdom and wise words. It’s why we have them, and they aren’t supposed to stay with us.

      God bless your continuing efforts toward mission work!

  9. Can I share how much I appreciated this post, Ceil? So often I’ve thought of doing things but didn’t feel that I had the skill set. But your dad is proving me wrong! Aligning ourselves with an expert is the key to gaining those skills that we thought were nonexistent. What a revelation, and what a blessing! God provides as we make ourselves available.

    • Hi Alison! How nice to see you here today!

      There’s just no way we can all learn all we need, and I think that’s why we have each other. We must teach if we have something to say, and demonstrate if we have a talent for that. My dad sure taught me that. It’s a wonderful lesson in possibilities.

      Have a blessed week!
      PS Thank you for all the Facebook love!

  10. I like this phrase: β€œYou can do anything if a professional shows you how.” At our celebration yesterday I was giving high praise to our secretary and youth pastor. He turned the tables on me though and talked about how I have helped him in the ministry, buying him books, etc. I feel I have something to give after 45+ years in the ministry but never had someone say thanks in front of people. Your dad was right.

    • Hi Bill! What a wonderful thing for Ryan and your secretary to do, to show you how you lead by example and teach so effectively. We all need that kind of ‘pat on the back’ from time to time. I’m glad you were shown how unselfishly you give and pass along your wisdom.

      So needed in this world. We have to help each other!

    • Hi Jean! I’m glad the post resonated with you today. It’s wonderful to think about what we can learn if we search for it. Or just to listen without bias and practice. I know that’s been true for me so many times in my life.

      Hope you had a great Monday! Thank you for commenting today πŸ™‚

  11. Oh, I love this story, Ceil! There are SO many things that I feel unequipped for. But if I am willing to be taught, I will be able to do them. Thanks for the encouragement. What a beautiful example your dad is giving to all of us.

    • Hi Lisa! I think that’s true of any one of us. We are often called to do things we’ve never done before, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. Or at least learn to do it. Thank goodness we all have each other to learn from! Oh, and youtube is a great resource too, as Lulu said.

      Thank you for your kind words about my dad. He was a very wise man.
      Thanks for visiting today!

  12. “You can do anything if a professional shows you how.”

    That opens up a whole world of possibilities, doesn’t it?

    I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, Psalm 92:14- They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.

    I love that your Dad retired, but didn’t retire. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sandi! That is such a perfect passage, thank you for quoting it in your comment. We can all stay ‘fresh and green’ if we will only stay open to the Holy Spirit, and to each other. We can all learn something new, or do something we never thought we could. It takes humility, practice and listening. That’s something I can do!

      I hope you had a blessed Monday my friend,

    • Hi Mari! Thank you so much for your kind comment about the blog today. It’s so great to write about my dad, he was a great guy. Very humble, and had a heart for service. Not to mention wisdom that he didn’t mind sharing!

      Have a peaceful night,

  13. There is so much wisdom in your dear Dad’s words! What a wonderful man to tackle such unknowns later in life, for the sake of a higher call! God bless you as you cherish your memories of him. Sending hugs your way today!

    • Hi Cheryl! I know we both cherish the worlds of the seniors in our families. I love that we can be open to new things no matter what our ages. We have so much to gain from listening to each other.

      Thank you for the hugs! It’s a cold and rainy day today, so they are just what I needed πŸ™‚

  14. Being willing is the key–so many of us let fear of failure or looking stupid stifle the willingness right out of us! Kudos to your dad, Ceil! May we all be more like him!

    • Hi Pam! That openness to new things really does keep us youthful. I know that from my parents. They were both very interested in many different things, and ready to learn too.
      I like your point about the ‘looking stupid’ thing. I know that has scared me away from trying things in the past. It’s time for me to start showing up more, and allowing Christ to shine through!

      Have a wonderful day,

  15. I love that your dad spread his wings and learned new things as he got older. It reminds me so much of my own dad who never stopped learning up until the every end. He was such an incredible example for me of exactly what you wrote about today. God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

    Thank you for sharing this story. We can be brave in who we are and what we do at anytime in our life when we have God.

    • Hi Mary! Aren’t we both so blessed to have such interested and involved dads? I think it’s a great model of showing up, listening and learning. Now comes the practice!

      May God help us to keep fresh in Spirit and in a growing love and participation in our gifts, sharing them with the world.
      Have a wonderful day!

    • Hi Jeanette! Another comment mentioned youtube too. What did we do before that? I love that site myself.

      Being open to showing up and learning is the sign of a youth, no matter what the age. Staying engaged is so important, and as someone else commented, being willing too.

      Nice to see you here today!

  16. What a brave soul your dad is, Ceil. I’m sure glad they took him off the roof though. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the reminder that “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” Such an encouraging reminder. πŸ™‚ Love and hugs!

    • Hi Trudy! You know, I didn’t think of that, but you’re right. It takes guts to climb up on a pitched roof to tile it. My husband and I helped with roofing when we were on a mission trip, but they were flat roofs. Much better!

      It really is a comfort to know that God will provide us with what we need to succeed. As long as it’s his will, we just can’t fail.

      Happy Wednesday!

  17. Hi Ceil! Thank you so much for sharing this inspiration on following our calling–no matter the amount of time it takes or the path traveled–God has a plan, a call on our lives–He will get us to where we need to be at just the right time.

    As I ponder how God’s call on my life and His plans for the ministry He desires for me–there’s a degree of realization that the path will be rather unconventional and will move me into areas where there’s much to learn. The time frame is known only unto God. πŸ™‚

    Your dad gave some great advice/insight. It’s rewarding to see how open he was to learning from others, even in retirement.

    Thank you for your kind, sweet comment on my blog–I’ve responded.

    Blessings to you,


    • Hi Kim! What a blessing to know how some of your path is going to be, even if it’s unconventional. I know he loves those who have faith, and that sure is you. You’ve had to deal with a lot of change, and you did it all with your faith in God secure at your side. It will be interesting to see where he wants you to be.

      Thank you for your words about my comment to you, I’ll come right over and see what you said,

  18. This is very encouraging, Ceil. My husband would have gotten along with your dad. When Tom doesn’t know how to do something, he gets on You Tube whether it be home repairs or getting a good recipe. I respect that kind of drive and eagerness to learn something new! I bet you feel proud of your dad’s participation in something so great as Habitat for Humanity. That’s wonderful!

    • Hi Mary! I really was surprised by my dad’s volunteering. He was never a fixer-upper guy. But as he said, if you are taught by someone who knows what they’re doing, it’s not hard. That was such wisdom,right?

      Good for Tom! It’s important to stay open to new things and learning too, it keeps our brains young, and opens the doors to new possibilities. I’m all for that!
      Hope you’re doing well my friend,

  19. This is great Ceil! Such practical advise. Get a professional to show you how! I love it! We just can’t sit around and wait. We have to seek out the how, and pick up the tools.

    • Hi Lynn! My mom used to say ‘the Lord helps those who help themselves’, and a good way to do that is to keep learning. There are so many things in the world to do and see, and figure out. I certainly can’t do it all, but I can do more!

      Thank you for your enthusiastic comment today πŸ™‚

  20. I love your dad’s enthusiasm to learn new things and his willingness to have a go. That’s so true- we can often do more than we think we can if we put in a bit of time and effort and listen to those with more experience.

    • Hi Leslie! I think there is a perception of older people being inflexible, or unwilling to learn new things. That certainly wasn’t my dad. And I hope to be just like him as I age!

      Have a great weekend,

  21. Oh Ceil, I just love that you’re talking about Habitat this week! My husband got involved before our move and his retirement … and this week, he’ll probably be working 3 – 4 days with them.

    He loves it!

    The Cape has Massachusetts’ most active chapter and the opportunities are endless. I went to a wall raising last month … they were doing 6 houses … it was so exciting and heart-moving to hear these people’s stories and see the excitement in their eyes.

    Thanks for sharing your Dad’s story. I’ll be forwarding it on to Tim …

    Blessings to you, friend.

    • Hi Linda! How FUN that your husband is so involved in Habitat! I think it’s a wonderful organization, and it sounds like you think so too. And to think that your area has the most active chapter too, that just speaks volumes about the people in your area. You like to give!

      Best of blessings on Tim’s constructions projects, and to you for your support. I bet listening to those stories was just awe-inspiring.

  22. great story and one that honors your father too. My nun friend tells me nuns never retired, they just find a new ministry. I think that is what your dad did and we all would be healthier in many ways if we did too. Thanks, Ceil!

    • Hi Jean! I do think that learning keeps us all young, so that’s another great reason to be open minded about trying new things and listening to the experiences of others.

      Love that idea from your friend who is a nun. I bet she is very young at heart!

  23. I love how you weave a story in with a great message! It is true that God equips those whom He calls, and a good thing to remember that is your willingness to work hard is what can make the difference. How wonderful that your dad was able to find a special place in his life to help others even though it was not his line of work! That is truly inspiring! I really enjoyed your post today with a great message!

    • Hi Marilyn! Thank you for your kind words about the post. My dad was a really involved person, I was just surprised that he’d volunteer for home construction! But it worked out well, and he can say he helped to build many homes for people who needed them. That’s a lot to say about your life.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on so many posts!

  24. Ah, this is such a great message Ceil! Oh do I ever need it. I am surely guilty of quitting before ever taking those first steps into something that stirs a passion inside me to start- because I simply don’t know enough to actually take those first steps.

    This motivated and inspired me. Of course your dad was SO right. How easily we forget that God will equip us in each step toward His calling. How many are actually already equipped when they take those first steps? Few. So very few.

    Thank you for this, Ceil. <3

    • Hi Chris! Thank you for the book I won! I got it today, and I’ll let you know by email too, in case you don’t check back here.

      I’m so glad that you were inspired, you just never know when that’s going to happen, right? I was so touched by what my dad told me too. God works through all of us!


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