Monday, October 23, 2006






A study originating at Graced by Christ

• What abilities do you have?
• What talents?
• What have you learned to do or had to do that might be useful to God?
• Is there anything that you are sure God could never use for His glory?
• Anything that you are sure He would use?
• Have you ever been surprised by what He has chosen to use? Why?
• Has He ever used your weakness when you expected Him to use your strength?
• Has He ever grown you through a weakness in your ability?
• Have you ever jumped in and used an ability and realized that it was not His will?


Bear with me, because this intro actually does relate to the prompt.



This is Betty Hutton. She is now 86 and lives a normal life in Palm Springs, CA. I’ve been a fan since the first time I saw her in “Annie Get Your Gun,” but she has a whole other body of work besides. In case you ever catch this film as you’re flipping through TV, if you see her singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” you might find it interesting to know that that song was done in ONE take, and without any makeup (a real exception for the heyday of glamorous Hollywood). To make dirt look realistic on her face, she washed herself in walnut-stained water. I have a walnut tree. I know what a sacrifice Betty made by staining her beautiful face.

Anyway, one of my favorite songs of the movie is “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun.” I defy you to watch her sing that all the way through and not find yourself grinning at the end.

Here are some of the most witty lyrics ever written (Yes, about ability) by Irving Berlin:

I'm quick on the trigger with targets not much bigger
Than a pen point, I'm number one.
But my score with a feller is lower than a cellar-
Oh you can't get a man with a gun.

The gals with "umbrellars"
Are always out with fellers
In the rain or the blazing sun
But a man never trifles
With gals who carry rifles
Oh you can't get a man with a gun.
With a gun, with a gun,
No, you can't get a man with a gun.

No you can't shoot a male
In the tail
like a quail
Oh you can't get a man with a gun.

‘Cause a man might be hot
but he’s not
When he’s shot
Oh you can’t get a man with a gun.


No, Annie, you cain’t git a man with a guuuuuun. But God made you to be a pistol packin’ mama for a reason. You just never figgered it out why!

What has this got to do with ability? I'm feelin' Annie's conundrum.

That is, like Annie, I've got some ability (she was a "sure shot") but my talent, like Annie's, is also not working for me the way I'd like it to. So this writing prompt about abilities is challenging for me. Nevertheless, in the spirit being quick on the trigger, I’m firing away.

• What abilities do you have?

I can communicate verbally and in written form pretty well. I think that’s my best one. (And some of you are thinking, “That’s it? That’s your best shot? Uh-oh.”)
Also, I can usually sense what people are feeling and respond compassionately. But really, that just seems like female attribute to me.
I think I can teach. I have a degree for teaching high school English but have never taught except for subbing or tutoring. I have led a couple of small studies.

• What have you learned to do or had to do that might be useful to God?
• Is there anything that you are sure God could never use for His glory?
• Anything that you are sure He would use?


I have some plusses God can use, and I’m willing, but something is holding me back. Maybe it's just that I’m not seeing open doors. George says that may be because I'm waiting for the opportunity to fall out of the sky, which is not likely.

For instance, I’m keeping this blog, but really, I’d like to write to edify and encourage people, without being preachy, in another venue. In other words, I want to be published.

There. I said it. I don’t know if God wants me to be published. I do write a little column about every other month for our city paper, and I love it, but that’s it. For a while, I was pursuing being published, but for several reasons, I’ve backed off.

I’m always checking my motives about why I want to be published. Ego is a tricky thing, dressed the best camouflage known to man. So I’m praying about what to do/what not to do. But I always feel this little tiny fire inside, about the size of a match flame, whatever I’m doing during the day that draws me like a moth. And as much as I love it, I know that writing is also hard work which brings rejection after rejection.

• Have you ever been surprised by what He has chosen to use? Why?
• Has He ever used your weakness when you expected Him to use your strength?
• Has He ever grown you through a weakness in your ability?
• Have you ever jumped in and used an ability and realized that it was not His will?


Yes, I went through a rough patch that few people know about. After, it seemed like women who were experiencing the same thing came out of the woodwork. You have to decide who to be vulnerable to, and it’s scary, but the ones I shared with seem to have felt encouraged and not condemned, and that was a good thing.

I think God is growing me through this equivocation about being published. It has tweaked my patience, prompted motive-checking, caused me to listen for his voice, and challenged my balance of personal time.

So, I’m listening for the great Go Ahead and watching for the big Open Door. Like that old song says, "All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir." I know there’s a place for every talent/ability within the Body somewhere. I'd like like to join the choir and sing.

The End, formally

PS: If only Annie had known about Cowboy Church! In the informational video on this site, there’s a testimony about a wife who introduced her husband to the Lord through Cowboy Church. She didn’t use a gun to get ‘im, but she’s a Cowgirl through and through. She and the other attendees use their love of horses and everything else related to the Old West to glorify God and draw people to Him. Because of people applying what they know and love to serving the Lord, “passing the hat” for the offering is literal, people baptized in troughs are rising with steam on them from being so cold, and people are sharing a unique fellowship within the Body of Christ. The founder, Jeff Smith, embraces the idea of doing “Whatever It Takes” to bring people to Jesus.

It will inspire you to use your particular interests, abilities and talents for the Lord.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Sorry I didn't get to read this sooner. This was a great response to the study. it is amazing what He can, and does use. Thank you so much for joining and I am sorry I didn't get over here sooner, life kind of got in the way for a bit. :)I hope you get a chance to join this weeks as well. I can't wait to see your response.