All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Cor. 12:11)

I WASTED A FAIR AMOUNT OF TIME and energy wishing I could speak like a friend of mine. He was exciting to listen to. He was animated and verbally light on his feet. I was in a service when he was speaking and he began by saying he had always wanted to speak like me, so he had tried to prepare and to deliver his message like I would. I would never say he was bad, but he should have stayed with his own way of speaking. He was not me and I could never be him. Both of us had misguided and unproductive desires. Each of us is wired the way God made us, and we have gifts He has chosen to give to us. He gives us what we need to accomplish what He wants us to do.

We should discover and develop our gifts so we can do our best. In doing that, we may want to find the best models and mentors who can help us become our best. But the gifts of others should be used for inspiration and instruction, not for imitation. Many should have the heart and spirit of Billy Graham, but Billy Graham imitators are less than pleasing or effective.

God didn’t overlook you when He handed out gifts. He had you in mind when He gifted you. What you have, He gave you. Accept it. Accept who you are. Accept what you can do. Don’t waste time trying to be someone else.

Whatever you find to do, do it with all your heart and offer it back as your gift to God.

Ken Heer is the author of Ancient Fire: The Power of Christian Rituals in Contemporary Worship (WPH) and directs a retirement community in Brooksville, Florida.