I Dug Up My Talents
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“I Dug Up My Talents,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 31

I Dug Up My Talents

Did I ever gain some insight! And was it ever unexpected!

Every once in awhile I feel the desire to have my husband give me a special blessing; and several times he has felt inspired to admonish me to develop my talents. I couldn’t even figure out what there was about me that qualified as a talent, much less how to develop it.

Then came the day when I asked for a blessing and part of it was a clear admonition that if I didn’t soon develop my talents they would be taken from me and given to someone else. I was shocked and scared and humbled.

It made me think. I never hold back if someone asks me to do something, yet I couldn’t remember ever taking the initiative to develop myself. Nothing about myself seemed evident to me as a talent. How could I develop what I was unable to recognize? Buried somewhere inside me there must be an untapped source of gifts that were unknown, untouched, unused.

When I think of “talented” people they’re trained and experienced—the professional, the renowned. As a convert, I see talented people who have been in the Church all their lives, with years of practice to develop their singing, writing, and speaking talents. I had none of these things.

Suddenly my insight came. I can act on the desires and interests that I have and thereby reveal and use my talents in small ways.

Through meditation and prayer I discovered my desires and interests were:

People: I decided to carry out the good intentions that I often felt but seldom followed through on to make others happy. As a starter I baked a pie for a little boy whose mother was away.

Music: I can’t read notes or play an instrument, yet I love music. I contacted a sister with musical talent and said, “I’d like to sing a duet with you.”

Drama: I volunteered to be in charge of an “evening of drama” with donations to be given to the youth in our branch for their temple trip.

Writing: Ofttimes I have strong feelings when I am touched by something that someone says or does. I decided to put those feelings in writing when they happen and mail them to the one who touched me. I also dug out my file of stories and poems that I’d written but later classified as “dumb,” and started working over a short story.

Chances are I’ll never be “famous.” I’ll probably never sing the lead in “Promised Valley” at Salt Lake City or direct the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York or be an Eliza R. Snow. What is mine, though, can be shared with those dearest to me—my family, our branch members, and neighbors. Small, perhaps, yet capable of development, precious and God given—my very own talents.

  • Nancy Lee Seljestad, a homemaker and mother of five, serves as a district Beehive adviser, Sunday School teacher, Laurel adviser, and Relief Society visiting teacher in the Homer Branch, Alaska Anchorage Mission.

Illustrated by Sherri Thompson